Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lincourt Vineyards: Santa Barbara County Winery Visit

Lincourt Vineyards is part of the sprawling Foley Family wine enterprise, but you’d never guess it from the unassuming old farm house that serves as its tasting room. Located in the Santa Rita Hills AVA in Santa Barbara County, the winery focuses on small lot bottlings of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

This was the last stop of our first day during last month’s swing through Santa Barbara’s wine country. Our tasting team, comprised of Green Dragon, cousin Mary, her husband Cleve and me, found friendly people and outstanding wine.

The 2009 Pinot Grigio was the opener for us. It had a delightful crispness with notes of lime and apple. This would pair well with spicy foods.

Green Dragon is a bit of a Sauvignon Blanc buff, so we were anxious to try the 2010 Santa Ynez Valley Sauvignon Blanc. We found it to be nice, but falling short of glory. It was indeed refreshing, which we needed after our long day, and swirled with tropical fruit. The Sauv Blanc was unoaked – as it should be.

The name of the winery comes from a combination of the names of Bill Foley’s daughters, Lindsay and Courtney. Next up was the 2009 Courtney’s Chardonnay. This is a very appealing wine with a fruit forward approach
and nice mouthfeel. It has flavor notes of apples, toast and a bit of honey. It’s a nice buy at $27 retail.

The 2010 Foley & Johnson Dry Rose was a surprise. We had thought this would merely be an unwanted tasting transition between our white and red wines but found this to be a tasty wine just perfect for sipping. It is 86% Grenache and 14% Gruner Veltliner. The residual sugar is less than .5%, which suited our dry palates very well. This has a flutter of strawberry and floral notes.

Our next two wines made the trip to California worthwhile all by themselves. The 2009 Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir has black cherry and leather to go with velvety tannins. The wine is aged in oak for 14 months. An outstanding Pinot for sure, but it took a back seat to the 2009 Annie Dyer Pinot Noir, which is named after the owner’s grandmother.

The Annie Dyer is a big, bombastic Pinot Noir tipping the scales at 15.2% alcohol. This Pinot spends 21 months in oak, 50% of it new French oak. This is a ripe, rich and complex wine with a bit of tree bark and spice accenting the dark fruit. It’s only available at the tasting room or through the Lincourt wine club. Only 285 cases were produced.

We rounded out the tasting with a dense and juicy 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2009 Santa Rita Hills Syrah.

Lincourt is part of a wine family with a proud tradition. This branch of the family has given birth to some superbly crafted small batch wines.
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