The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2010

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The Vogelzang Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon combines cinnamon, earth and density, proving that Happy Canyon is synonymous with an entirely diff erent style of red for the Santa Ynez Valley. Roger Higgins of Cimarone with winemaker Doug Margerum at Three Creek Vineyards. Doug Margerum is the winemaker for Happy Canyon Vineyards which produces three wines: Barrack, Piocho and Chukker. Barrack wines are barrel-select reserve wines made from Bordeaux grapes from Happy Canyon Vineyards; the label is named for the vineyard’s proprietors, Tom and Laurel Barrack. The elegant Barrack Brand Merlot 2006 (SRP $40) is a hearty, meaty red with plenty of natural acid, a touch of tobacco and generous black fruit. Note that the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA designation will not be seen at least until the 2008 or 2009 vintage bottlings. fruit for the Star Lane “Astral” is grown. The vineyard slopes vary from six to 24 percent. Happy Canyon did not exist as an of- fi cial appellation until last year. Its legal name, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara, omits its Santa Ynez Valley connection completely. “It became quite clear to those of us growing grapes here that this area deserved its own appellation. But I think its name will take a while 74 / the tasting panel / april 2010 to be known,” admits Margerum, who petitioned for the AVA with growers Tom Barrack, Mary Beth Vogelzang and Jim Dierberg. True, the AVA lies within Santa Barbara County and is perhaps just far enough east of Santa Ynez proper to warrant the omission; in any case, its raison d’être lies within some serious red fruit. “There are six vineyards in the appellation,” offers Margerum, who oversees winemaking for two of them. “And there’s not much more room to grow.” The Vineyards of the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA The new AVA is located entirely within the Santa Ynez Valley viticultural area, which in turn lies completely within the multi-county Central Coast AVA. Happy Canyon’s total acreage includes 492 acres currently in com- mercial viticulture. Bordeaux varieties thrive in the appellation’s six impres- sive vineyards. • Cimarone’s Three Creek Vineyards • Star Lane Vineyards • Happy Canyon Vineyards • Vogelzang Vineyards • Westerly Vineyards • Grassini Vineyards While not a Bordeaux grape, Sangiovese is an excellent example of a warm-weather-loving red that thrives in Happy Canyon. Cimarone’s Grand Premio Sangiovese delivers a noble Brunello style, with a thread of luxurious red fruit in a complex envelope of dried herbs, earth and lip-smacking tannins for a dry fi nish.

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