2010 Cambria Estate Winery, Santa Maria Valley

more wine
VERDICT: "Smashing stuff"
Santa Maria Valley
14.8% alc.
Review by Clinton Stark

Here’s a beautiful Pinot Noir that embodies everything that I enjoy about that magical grape: it’s velvety, shows elegant and soft red fruit, is layered, and–my favorite–has hints of vanilla on the finish. From Santa Maria Valley, our wine of the week is this Cambria Estate Winery 2010 Pinot Noir.

Located in Santa Barbara County, the Santa Maria Valley AVA with its cool growing climate (though highs can reach 100F, lows are usually 40-50F throughout the season) is the oldest in this part of California – grape growing dates back to 1830.

ALSO: Inside Premiere Napa Valley (Video)

I always knew the region produced quality juice. Traditionally more familiar with Pinots from some of my favorites spots such as Carneros, and the Sonoma Coast, I did some Google work to glean what additional, none-Sideways information I could find on the area. This popped up from well-known wine critic Steve Heimoff, “The Santa Maria Valley may well have the highest overall quality of grapes and wines of any appellation in California…It is an insider’s secret.”

At $25, this little beauty won’t break the bank. I especially appreciate the tannins, which are balanced, yet definitely there. Without that structure, wine becomes what many call “flabby”; a trait I try to avoid at all costs. Then again, I like my espresso straight up, sans sugar or any form of sweetener.

If you can find a bottle of the Cambria Pinot, you might want to give it a go. The winemaker suggests pairing with pizza. That sounds good to me, but if you follow me on Instagram, you already know the American classic that I went with…

Napa and Sonoma Wine news, events, videos, reviewsCambria Estate Winery 2010 Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley

Julia’s Vineyard

Estate grown

$25, 93 points

Clinton Stark
Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear