The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 51 of 117

50  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2014 DAY-IN-THE-LIFE A s one of the oldest wine brands in Santa Barbara County, Sanford Winery is known for Pinot Noir. The first to plant Pinot Noir grapes in the region, Sanford Winery's vineyards are located in the heart of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, and since 2002, the Terlato family's involvement and ownership has helped redefine the iconic brand. Steve Fennell, previously with winemaking stints at Yalumba in Australia and both Voss and Trefethen in Napa, came on board in 2006 as Winemaker and General Manager to help clarify Sanford's position in the Sta. Rita Hills. A gradu- ate of UC Santa Barbara, Fennell was no stranger to the region. But what first brought Fennell to the area was bike racing. "Literally, the first time I was on Santa Rosa Road it was a bike race," he says. Little did he know that 25 years later he would be making wine on Santa Rosa Road. Fennell and the Terlato family wanted to make a Pinot Noir that was more elegant and true to the variety than what had been produced in previous years. "The cool climate, restrictive soils and yields [2.5 tons/acre] mean that the chal- lenge in the Sta. Rita Hills is not to make a bold, extracted Pinot—that's easy. We're trying to make something with silkiness and elegance," Fennell says. "Pinot Noir tends to show flaws, so we need to be more delicate, like limiting the amount of air it can take during élevage," he says. "The Terlato family has done everything to invest in the winery and property, making equipment upgrades," Fennell adds. With new tanks, they can now keep 80 different lots of Pinot Noir separate, which helps refine their farming techniques. There are 260 planted acres on two distinct properties at Sanford. La Rinconada was planted in 1997, whereas Sanford & Benedict is the oldest vineyard in the AVA, planted in 1971. In addition to the winery tasting room on Santa Rosa Road, Sanford also recently opened a satellite tasting room in downtown Santa Barbara in order to give visitors to the region more opportunity to connect with the winery. Steve no longer competes in bike races across the U.S., but he still manages to find time to stay fit, even during the busy harvest season. "I'll strap on my shoes and take a 30-minute run," he notes, running through the vineyards and along Santa Rosa Road. by Michael Cervin / photos by Jeremy Ball Good Sport SANFORD'S STEVE FENNELL EXERCISES HIS TALENTS IN AND OUT OF THE VINEYARD

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - August 2014