The Tasting Panel magazine

Nov 09

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32 / the tasting panel / november 2009 C ambria Winery and its vineyards are situated in landmark territory, ancient alluvial soils with excellent drainage. Neighboring Bien Nacido Vine- yards holds high acclaim, but Cambria's own diverse personality shines through from its sustainably farmed Santa Maria Valley terroir. The Cambria 2007 Katherine's Vineyard Chardonnay is made from 35-year old vines located in one of the coolest areas of the Val- ley. Winemaker Denise Shurtleff describes the hallmark of this wine as being bright fruit flavors, enhanced by lemon cream pie and limestone undertones. "The roots are deep here and the soil is mineral-rich," says Barbara Banke, Cambria Winery proprietor. "We planted this vineyard in 1986 and named it after our daughter Katie. At 15 miles inland, it's a straight shot from the ocean, with lots of cooling morning fog." Then there's the Cambria 2007 Bench Break Vineyard Chardonnay, a small-pro- duction gem that zings with sweet melon, white peach and ripe pear. The vines may be on the bench, but the fruit plays in the majors. Sophistication: The Cambria Pinot Noir Line-Up There's a definite sophistication to the wines from Cambria. Sure, there are ele- ments of earth and spice in the Pinot Noirs, a common denominator that runs through the Santa Maria terroir, but through the use of various clones—and thanks to winemaker Shurtleff's deftness—grace and polish are added to the formula. Cambria 2007 Julia's Vineyard Pinot Noir ($22), while ripe and earthy, also shows its delicate side: pretty and ethereal. The vineyard—named for Barbara Banke's youngest daughter, now 21 and a col- lege senior—lies on the cooler western edge of the Cam- bria Estate. Cambria 2007 Bench Break Pinot Noir ($35) displays weight and density; in fact, Shurtleff calls it the densest yet from this vineyard, the highest point of the estate, formed from ancient decomposed granite. Youthful yet round; notes of sandalwood and cola mesh with an underlying earthiness. Cambria 2007 Pinot Noir Clone 667 ($48/290 cases) is intensely dark and meaty, ripe with blueberries, cherries, cedar, cin- namon and a wafting smokiness. Aged 11 months in 100% new Vosges French oak. Cambria 2007 Barbara's Pinot Noir ($50/200 cases) is a limited-production inaugural release. Long and lengthy, it is produced from four clones planted in de- composed granite soils. Here, earth meets blackberry; a big mouthfeel and chalky tan- nins are serious components added to the creamy vanilla and spiced core. Terroir Talk Barbara Banke, proprietor of Cambria, an estate winery situated in the coastal growing region of Santa Maria Valley. The Natural The vineyards on the Santa Maria Bench that make up Cambria Estate have the perfect balance of acid, fruit and sugar

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