I had the good fortune to spend the last few days in Santa Barbara with my husband. We stayed at a beautiful hotel, had great weather, and delicious food but the highlight of our trip was a tour of Cimarone Estate Wines in Santa Ynez.
We drove up from downtown Santa Barbara on a sunny Monday afternoon and we were in awe of Cimarone’s beautiful property as we slowly made our way to the estate. We were met in the driveway of the estate by Roger Higgins, Cimarone’s owner, and his two dogs, Kali and Max. Roger and his wife Cilla purchased the vastly undeveloped land in 2000 and admittedly didn’t know much about starting a winery. Trial and error proved successful and they now produce two lines of fabulous wines. Their Cimarone label features the best wines from their estate and their 3CV features wines for everyday drinking (every wine is under $20).
We started off the tour with a glass of their 3CV 2010 Sauvignon Blanc (one of my favorite wines from the 3CV line- review here http://wp.me/p1vdhr-Dt) and made our way into the vineyards. Large lots of Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet, and other varietals fill the property. As we learned about the vineyards, it was evident that Roger and Cilla poured their blood, sweat, and tears into this beautiful estate. In 2008, they converted an existing horse barn into a 2,500 square foot winery consisting of a tank room, barrel room, and crush pad. We continued to learn more about their sustainable wine making practices as we wandered through the chilly, glorious smelling barrel room. A lot of love goes into each bottle. The grapes are hand sorted and and there is minimal intervention in their wine making process.
We wrapped up the tour by uncorking a bottle of their 2008 Le Clos Secret, a Cabernet Blend. A beautifully complex wine with tastes of dark fruit and structured tannins. I was so glad we had the opportunity to visit this phenomenal winery. Cimarone is making wines that prove that Santa Ynez is an undervalued wine region worth paying a little more attention to. Grab a bottle or two and you will taste what you have been missing!