The SOMM Journal

June / July 2018

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104 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } JUNE/JULY 2018 { discoveries } THE 30-MILE CORRIDOR of the Santa Ynez Valley offers up a diverse array of person- alities for grapes and terroir. The warmer area in the eastern section—known as Happy Canyon—is producing revelation-worthy Bordeaux varieties. Meanwhile, on the east-to-west foothills of Buellton, the Sta. Rita Hills serves as a mec - ca for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. But for Rhône varieties, there may be no better AVA than Ballard Canyon not only in the Valley, but perhaps anywhere in the United States. Ballard Canyon, running north and south, gets the best of both regions, with a cool - ing marine influence from the west blended with the moderation of the warmer Happy Canyon. The result of this mixed climate puts this region on the map as Syrah country. There are less than 20 Ballard Canyon wine estates: Some sit on limestone, some on clay, and some on sand (or a combination of the three). At Jonata's 586-acre estate, the farm pastures are lined with goats, sheep, and chickens. Off of the ranch, 84 vines are planted to grapes on rectangular-shaped Careaga sandstone. Winemaker Matt Dees, a former plant science major at the University of Vermont, began making wine 20 years ago and traversed from Australia to Napa to New Zealand before he began working for The Plant Kid DISCOVERING THE MAGIC OF JONATA'S SANDY SOILS IN BALLARD CANYON by Meridith May The Jonata name refers to an 1845 Mexican land grant, Rancho San Carlos de Jonata, which covers expansive territory across the Santa Ynez Valley. The winery's estate can be found at the heart of this area. PHOTOS COURTESY OF JONATA WINERY The 586-acre Jonata estate includes 84 acres of vineyards, as well as pastures lined with goats, sheep, and chickens.

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