Alma Rosa in the Press
San Francisco International Wine Competition:
2011 Chardonnay, El Jabalí Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills
2011 Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills
2011 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills
Sunset International Wine Competition
2010 Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills
2010 Chardonnay, El Jabalí Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills
The accolades continue to pour in for Richard Sanford after his induction into the Vintners' Hall of Fame. The Santa Barbara Independent profiles Richard and his journey including this quote from Wine Spectator's James Laube: “His legacy will always be being the first and having the courage to go forward,” said Laube, but he also praised the quality of Sanford’s wine, having tried every pinot that Sanford’s been involved with over the years, from the first in 1976 to the new Alma Rosa wines. “They age beautifully. They were fantastic. They were as good as any wines anywhere.” Read the entire article here.
Julie Brothers, of the Huffington Post is on a journey across the land to learn about food and wine. She met up with Richard Sanford to discuss winegrowing. As she notes in their discussion, "Richard communicated that the global wine community shares no prejudice because,"Wine is a universal language." This spawns an openness among winemakers, who share information freely in an otherwise highly competitive market. How refreshing. Richard's balanced nature imparts its essence throughout the vineyard and all those who enter it. I walked away feeling brightened, knowing I had met a truly authentic and kind individual." Read the entire article here.
These 100 people, from winemakers to law makers, bankers to bloggers, and sommeliers to celebrities are definitely people who influence wine; how it is made, marketed, perceived, sold, shipped, purchased and shared. Richard is at the very top of the list, coming in as #92."Santa Barbara wine pioneer Richard Sanford is among the inductees into the 2012 Vintners Hall of Fame. Sanford started one of the first modern wineries south of the Bay Area in 1982 and for several decades, his Sanford Winery and Vineyards was the lone outpost in the now-sizzling Santa Rita Hills area of Santa Barbara County. He was the first winemaker to prove the potential for Pinot Noir in the Santa Rita Hills and spent the next 20 years making some of the best regarded Pinots from the region. Sanford left his namesake winery in 2005 and founded Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards." Read the entire article here. Read Richard's interview with editor Michael Cervin here.
The 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition has set a new American wine competition record with an astounding 5,500 entries, surpassing its previous record of 5,050 last year. For nine consecutive years, this prestigious competition holds strong as the “Largest Competition of American Wines in the World.” We are pleased to announce that out of all these entries, the judges awarded silver medals to both our 2009 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills and 2009 Chardonnay, El Jabalí Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills.
We brought home gold and silver from the 2012 American Wine Competition! Gold medals were awarded to the 2009 Pinot Noir, Clone 667, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills and 2009 Chardonnay, El Jabalí Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills. Silver medals were awarded to the 2009 Pinot Noir, Clone 115, La Encantada Vineyard and 2008 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills.
On February 20, 2012 the Vintners Hall of Fame at The Culinary Institute of America, Greystone celebrates the men and women whose collective vision, determination, and hard work have been responsible for the growth and worldwide prestige of the California wine industry.
Russ Parsons of the Los Angeles Times announced: “Central Coast wine pioneer Richard Sanford is among the inductees into the 2012 Vintners Hall of Fame, to be celebrated in February at the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone campus in St. Helena, Calif. Sanford started one of the first modern wineries south of the Bay Area in 1982; for a couple of decades, his Sanford Winery and Vineyards was the lone outpost in the now-sizzling Santa Rita Hills area of Santa Barbara County.”
Well-known wine journalist Steve Heimoff had this to say about Richard’s induction:
“For my money, the most obvious choice this year. A Hall of Fame inductee should be a true pioneer, and Mr. Sanford is one of the most pioneering winemakers California has produced in the last two generations. He (and his former partner, Michael Benedict) practically invented the Santa Rita Hills appellation, planting its first grapes (at their Sanford & Benedict Vineyard) and early establishing its reputation for Pinot Noir. Mr. Sanford and his wife, Thekla, nowadays own and run the Alma Rosa Winery, continuing his still evolving legacy in Santa Barbara County.”
Click here for details on the Induction Celebration
The Jefferson Cup Invitational celebrated its twelve year as the only competition that honors the best of the best among wineries from all of Americas wine regions. We are pleased that that 2008 Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard and 2008 Pinot Blanc, La Encantada Vineyard both received an Award of Merit (equivalent to a silver medal) in this prestigious competition.
© International Wine Cellar
by Josh Raynolds
2009 Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills ($43) Bright ruby-red. Fresh red berries and Asian spices on the fragrant nose. Sappy and expressive, with tangy acidity giving clarity and verve to the lively raspberry and cherry flavors. Very fresh pinot with impressive spicy persistence. This wine drinks nicely now but has the depth and balance to reward patience.
2009 Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards Chardonnay, El Jabalí Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills ($28) Bright yellow-gold. Peach pit, honey and herbs on the pungent nose. Broad and fleshy but dry, with powerful orchard and pit fruit flavors and complicating notes of tarragon and mace. Packs a serious punch but shows very good structure, finishing long and sappy, with a note of dried pear. For a big wine this shows little in the way of excess fat.
2010 Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards Pinot Noir Vin Gris, El Jabalí Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills ($20) Light orange-pink. Redcurrant, strawberry and orange zest on the nose. A spicy, modestly fleshy midweight with a smooth texture and gently spicy red berry character. Finishes slightly warm, with good breadth and spicy persistence. This could be served with richer foods, even grilled red meats.
2009 Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills ($32) Bright ruby-red. Cherry, licorice and herbs on the pungent nose. Juicy, focused red fruit flavors show good structure and notes of bitter chocolate and cracked pepper. Finishes taut and slightly hard-edged, with a repeating cherry note.
The third annual Sommelier Challenge International Wine Competition was a huge success. Distinguished sommeliers from some of the nation's finest restaurants gathered in San Diego to evaluate 657 entries from 17 countries. Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards were awarded a Gold Award for the 2008 Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard and a Silver Award for the 2009 Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County.
More awards for our wines! The judges awarded the 2008 Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard a gold medal, and the 2008 Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County with a silver. The Long Beach Grand Cru is considered one of the top international wine competitions in the U.S. Since its inception in 1995, the Competition has grown in size and prestige, attracting wineries from across the United States and from around the world.
Gold Medals abound for our wines. The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition awarded gold medals to our Alma Rosa 2008 Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills and our Alma Rosa 2008 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills.
Then, at the 9th Annual Pinot Noir Shootout, the Alma Rosa 2008 La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills wine brought home yet another gold medal!
The San Francisco International Wine Competition awarded the 2008 Alma Rosa Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills with a Double Gold Medal! And then the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition followed suit with a Gold Medal each for 2008 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills and 2008 Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills.
Wine & Spirits Magazine awarded our 2008 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills 91 points and our 2008 Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills 90 points in this issue profiling the Best American Pinot Noirs of the year.
We are honored that our 2008 Alma Rosa Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills was selected by the Chronicle's editors for their Top 100 wines of the year. They noted: "Santa Barbara Wine Pioneer Richard Sanford (Sanford & Benedict) is soaring with his new label. This gorgeous estate bottling is heady with tobacco and nutmeg, and a balance of delicate dark blue fruit and tangy wild strawberry."
© International Wine Cellar
by Josh Raynolds
2009 Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards Pinot Noir VIn Gris El Jabali Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills
($20) Light pink. Pungent red berries and spices on the nose, with a complicating note of dried rose. Bright and nervy on entry, then fleshier in. Closes with good grip and slight bitterness. Score: 87
2008 Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards PInot Noir Santa Barbara County
($32) Vivid red. Musky aromas of red berries and cherry skin, with a hint of rhubarb and subtle floraility. Fleshy and broad on entry, then firmer in the mid palate, offering red currant and bitter cherry flavors and a hint of white pepper. Finishes with slight bitterness and good length. Score: 88
2008 Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards Pinot Noir La Encantada Vineyards, Sta. Rita Hills
($43) Pretty, youthful medicinal aromas of wild strawberry, cherry, licorice and herbs. Juicy and fresh, but also sappy and ripe with silky red and dark berry and spice flavors supported by a firm spine of acids and fine-grained tannins. Finishes with attractive sweetness and a suggestion of blood orange. Score: 90
We are very pleased that our Alma Rosa Chardonnay Santa Barbara County, 2008 has been included in Wine Spectator's "200 Great Values". They note "Fresh, clean and vibrant, featuring mouth-watering green apple, quince and spicy traits that are medium-body and cleansing on the finish."
Healthy Living Magazine recently asked the question "Which Wines go Best with Baked Pasta?" The answer for Ziti was our 2007 Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard. Check it out!
by Wayne Kelterer
September 22, 2010
How do you measure a man? How do you judge his life’s work? Is it by wealth, by notoriety, the opinions of
others? For the banker, is it by the quantity of his assets, or the doctor by the lives he saved? What about the
winemaker, is it his vineyard, his winery, his wine? Read the entire article here.
Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards is a proud sponsor of Rainforest Action Network's 25th Annual "Revel" Fundraiser on the 15th of October 2010 in San Francisco.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from our organically certified estate vineyards will be served at the sponsors dinner honoring Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, Robert Kennedy, Jr. of Waterkeeper Alliance, Teri Blanton, KFTC Canary Project Fellow, and Rivani Noor and Uki Setara of CAPPA.
Join Rainforest Action Network (RAN) as they celebrate a quarter century of tough and effective campaign work to protect forests and halt climate change. RAN brings the voices of the people and the planet to the world’s largest corporations demanding the type of change that can only be achieved through fearless, bold action. They have saved millions of acres, mobilized thousands of activists, and put on hundreds of creative actions. We fully support their efforts! Click here for details.
Thekla and Richard Sanford and their Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards have been nominated for Sunset's Western Wine Awards Green Award! The Sunset Western Wine Awards is recognized as a huge honor for Western winemakers and focuses solely on the best wine producers in the West. Sunset’s panel of professional judges includes Western wine writers, sommeliers, and wine makers. The Sanfords were recognized for their 25 years of environmental stewardship, organic farming, sustainable business practices, and green building.
The Vintners Hall of Fame at The Culinary Institute of America, Greystone celebrates the men and women whose collective vision, determination, and hard work have been responsible for the growth and worldwide prestige of the California wine industry.
"The second annual Sommelier Challenge International Wine Competition was a huge success. Twelve sommeliers from some of the nation's finest restaurants gathered in San Diego September 11th and 12th to evaluate 635. Robert Whitley, Director, Sommelier Challenge"
Gold Award - 2008 Chardonnay Santa Barbara County
Silver Award - 2007 Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills
San Francisco Chronicle wine writer Jon Bonné examined the 2008 PInot Noir releases from Santa Barbara County, declaring it a "vintage where the potential for delicate, deft Pinot Noir was there." Of Alma Rosa's 2008 Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard, he noted "Richard Sanford, one of Santa Barbara's wine pioneers, continues to set a standard for the region with his Alma Rosa label." Read the entire article here.
"Alma Rosa is the brainchild of Richard Sanford, an early visionary and viticultural pioneer from the Santa Rita Hills. Richard Sanford’s five Pinot Noirs are evidence of some of the challenges this varietal confronted in 2008. These wines are not as rich and concentrated as several previous vintages, but they are well-made and far more evolved and ready to drink which is certainly an advantage." Click here to read his comments.
We are excited to announce that Annette Bening, in “The Kids are All Right,” had the good taste to offer Alma Rosa Pinot Noir in a critical scene.
The cameo role was in the most talked-about movie at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, and the winner of the Teddy Award for Best Feature Film at the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival, The Kids Are All Right is directed by Lisa Cholodenko (High Art, Laurel Canyon) from an original screenplay that she wrote with Stuart Blumberg (Keeping the Faith). The movie combines comedic surprise with poignant emotional truth in a funny, vibrant, and richly drawn portrait of a modern family.
Wine Enthusiast Magazine recently awarded the 2008 Pinot Blanc, La Encantada Vineyard with 91 points and an Editors Choice. Wine critic Steve Heimoff noted:
"Shows tremendous richness and impressive weight along the lines of a Chardonnay, although the flavors are lighter and more refined, suggesting tangerines and Meyer lemons. Brisk coastal acidity provides brilliantly bright balance. Very fine as a food-friendly alternative to many Chardonnays." Editors Choice.
Tasting Room Manager Chris Burroughs asks : "If
the girls are Thelma and Louise from the movie what male character
does that make me?”
"A beautiful Pinot Gris that lifts this variety beyond workhorse into true elegance and style. Braced with brisk acidity and minerals, it features rich flavors of citrus and tropical fruits, wildflowers, honeysuckle flowers, vanilla and cinnamon spice." 90 points. August 2010
Our bottles are sporting a lot of "jewelry" lately, with medals adorning their necks from wine competitions throughout the country. The San Francisco Chronicle awarded Gold Medals to both our 2008 Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard and 2008 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills. Silver medals were awarded to 2008 Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County and 2007 Chardonnay, El Jabali Vineyard.
Also from San Francisco, the San Francisco International Wine Competition honored us with a Double Gold for our 2008 Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard and Silver Medals for the 2008 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills and 2007 Chardonnay, El Jabali Vineyard.
We are pleased to report that the 2008 Alma Rosa Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County, was awarded a silver medal at the Dallas Morning News Wine Competition. The competition included 2,756 entries from 955 wineries from 17 countries and 24 states for the 2010 competition!
The Washington Post's Dave McIntyre talked to a number of local winemakers about our unique appellation.
"Richard Sanford of Alma Rosa Winery is celebrating his 40th year as a winemaker in the Santa Rita Hills. And though he makes some of the region's best chardonnay and pinot noir, he is also producing some top-notch pinot blanc, an underappreciated variety wherever it is grown. Sanford expressed a zenlinke appreciation for his wine. "I like the emptiness pinot blanc has, with a modest varietal flavor," Sanford said as we tasted his pinot blanc from the Santa Rita Hills. He was the one being modest. The wine seemed pretty mouth-filling and delicious to me."
Read the entire article here.
"This is a really intensely aromatic with huge floral tones, soft citrus fruits, and subtle hazelnutty oak and a touch of fresh fig. On the palate this is medium lightweight with lovely mineral cut, and bright acids that really make the fresh orange and peach fruit pop. With a really fresh and dynamic palate profile that refreshes the mouth and invites another sip. The fruit is very pure, and the winemaking seemingly incidental. A lovely wine that finishes with energy and great length. I am tempted to just enjoy this on its own but pairing it with a chicken and morel dish would be even better! 93 pts. Gregory Dal Piaz"
Ken is a wine aficionado, writer, winemaker and has a real job as an architect. He is also one of the Grape Nutz correspondents, and came to visit recently. "Alma Rosa is Richard and Thekla Sanford's label, which they started after they parted from Sanford Winery about five years ago. In that short time, they've already established Alma Rosa as one of the best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir producers in the area. They also make a wonderful Pinot Blanc, a real favorite of mine." There's much more, so click here to read Ken's notes.
Dave McIntyre is the wine correspondent for the Washington Post. Dave recently visited Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards and had this to say: "I suffered cognitive dissonance a few weeks ago over pinot noir. I lunched on Monday with Richard Sanford at his Alma Rosa Winery in Santa Barbara County over beef stew and his 2006 and 2007 La Encantada Vineyard pinot. He had just driven me around the Santa Rita Hills in the Santa Ynez Valley, an appellation he pioneered by planting Sanford & Benedict vineyard in the 1970's..." Read the entire article here.
We are very proud to receive this award. Calling Alma Rosa one of "seven innovators in sustainability", judge Sarah Ettman-Stener noted calls Alma Rosa "the gold standard for the organic wine industry in California and the world."
Read the magazine's overview here.
Josh Raynolds of Stephen Tanzer's International
Wine Cellar recently tasted through our lineup and reported the attached notes.
We are very pleased to have been included in this very prestigious bi-monthly
publication. To read the review, please click here.
© International Wine Cellar
For the second year in a row, Alma Rosa's El Jabalí Vineyard Chardonnay has been chosen by the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle as one of the top 100 wines of 2009. Read details here.
We are very pleased that Wine & Spirits Magazine honored our 2007 Chardonnay, El Jabali Vineyard with 93 points and a "Best Buy" designation.
We are very pleased to have received a silver medal for our 2008 Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County, at the prestigious Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Competition.
And in the "relatively near" category, Richard Sanford traveled
to New Hampshire for the state's Wine Week. Read the interview
with Richard here.
Wine Enthusiast’ editor, Steve Heimoff, recently tasted our
current line up of white wines:
Alma Rosa Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County 2007: 93 Points & EDITORS CHOICE!
A very fine Chardonnay showing succulent flavors of pineapples, Meyer lemons and bracing minerals, with a rich honeysuckle and buttered toast sweetness. Flashy, impressive, and an incredible value.
Alma Rosa Chardonnay El Jabalí Vineyard Sta. Rita
Hills 2007: 91 Points
Always a precise, focused wine, Alma Rosa’s ’07
El Jabalí shows a procession toward a drier, more Chablis-style
Chardonnay than in the past. It’s mouthwatering in acidity,
with firm flavors of chalky minerals, pineapples, honeysuckle flowers
and buttered toast. Now–2012.
Alma Rosa Pinot Blanc
La Encantada Vineyard 2008: 90 Points
A delightful wine, clean and versatile at the table, that’s
a cross between a rich Chardonnay and a zesty Pinot Gris. Bone
dry, it displays crisp
flavors of Meyer lemons, limes, tangerines and pears, enriched
with a touch of buttercream and vanilla.
Alma Rosa Chardonnay Santa
Barbara County 2008: 89 Points
Bone dry and tart in citrusy acidity, this is a Chablis style
Chardonnay. It has a firm minerality grounding clean flavors of
sour pineapple candy, with richer notes of vanilla and smoky oak.
Elegant and food-friendly.
Alma Rosa Pinot Gris Santa Barbara County
2008: 88 Points Editors’ Choice.
A very nice wine, bone dry and crisp in cool-climate acidity
that really gets the mouth watering. It has complex flavors of
lemons, limes, grapefruit and herbs, with a clean, pleasing minerality.
Skinny recommends a full-bodied Chardonnay for the Fall, including
our 2007 Chardonnay from our El Jabali Vineyard. Click here for
Food & Wine Magazine’s Linda
Murphy wrote on the 2009 Harvest and the current trend toward affordable
wines. One that she recommends is our 2008 Chardonnay, Santa Barbara
County. Read the entire article here.
“Meet food-friendly, fruity Pinot Gris”,
by invitation from the Chicago Tribune. Granting our Pinot
Gris “two corkscrews”, they note: “a big wine ripe
with melons, apricots and peaches. Serve with steamed mussels, grilled
chicken, bacon-wrapped scallops.” Click here.
Robert Parker Jr. came to town earlier this year, he tasted through
our lineup of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, noting snippets such as “this
cuvée is impressively endowed” and granting our 2007
wines scores of 87 – 90. Click
here for the review.
Washington Post With Organic Focus, Vintner is a
“Richard Sanford is in his third incarnation
as a winemaker. For a follower of Eastern philosophy who practices
tai chi and considers himself a spiritual Taoist, reincarnation is
not a far-fetched concept. He's a California wine pioneer, among
the first to plant pinot noir in Santa Barbara County in the 1970s
as a fledgling vineyard owner. He walked away from his second winery
in 2005 in a dispute with his business partners over organic viticulture.
Today, as winemaker and co-owner with his wife, Thekla, of Alma Rosa
Winery & Vineyards, he is part of a growing counterrevolution
in California wine.” Read
Edible Santa Barbara: What the Grownups are Drinking
On the menu for their quarterly review of local
wines was a daunting task; finding affordable and delicious wines
for under $20! One of their selections – our 2008 Chardonnay. Read
the article and review here.
Greenopia, an organization that rates “everything
from the environmental impact of airlines, to big box stores” recently
studied the environmental impact of wineries in the United States.
Utilizing a rating system of leaves, with 4 leaves representing the
highest rating of sustainability, Alma Rosa topped the list with
3 of 4 leaves. Read
the press release here!
Times Sideways – Still!
The LA Times recently came to visit to see if the
movie Sideways was still bringing visitors to Santa Barbara County. “..five
years after the Santa Ynez Valley was featured in an Oscar-winning
film, the region is still feeling the upside of “Sideways””. Read
the entire article here.
And speaking of “Sideways”, writer
Erin De Santiago recently took a trip up to Santa Barbara Wine Country
to see what the hype was all about, and yes (admittedly) to do their
own Sideways tour. Check
out their suggestions here.
The Sommelier Challenge at the International Wine
Competition awarded our 2006 Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard a
Chardonnay, El Jabalí Vineyard received 89 points and kudos
recently from Wine Spectator magazine, who noted: Crisp
and flinty, with tight tangerine, nectarine and subtle citrus blossom
notes that take on a pleasant earthy edge. Cellar short term. Best
from 2010 through 2013. 500 cases made. – J.L.
San Francisco International Wine Competition: We are pleased to
report that our 2008 Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County was awarded
a silver medal at this prestigious International Wine Competition.
Alma Rosa is pleased to have received a Silver
Medal for our 2007 Pinot Gris, Santa Barbara County and our 2007
Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills at the Dallas
Morning News Wine Competition.
Tasted at the World of Pinot Noir in California’s
Shell Beach earlier this month, Sanford’s 2006 Alma Rosa La
Encantada “Clone 667” Pinot Noir stood out among hundreds
of other Pinot beauties as a wine of gorgeous, multi-faceted black
and blueberry tart-like perfumes with dark forest, crushed brushy,
humus-like undertones; a dense, broad yet svelte mouth-feel held
together by sturdy tannin, and fleshed out by luscious, almost sweet,
floral, crushed berry flavors. Ah, ye olde promised land.
Randy Caparosa, Organic Wine Match of the Day
Medal Winner – 2006 Chardonnay El Jabalí Vineyard, Sta.
The 16th international competition of the World’s best Chardonnay
has brought a gold medal to Alma Rosa! Competing against a large
concentration of chardonnay wine and vast geographical diversity:
923 wine samples from 37 countries. Chardonnay du Monde® occupies
a special place amongst international competitions thanks to its
worldwide scope and its rigorous method. Strict quality standards
and optimal tasting conditions enabled the 300 international judges
to award 307medals that are recognized as a reliable criterion for
Pinot Noir - Mt. Eden Clone, El Jabalí Vineyard, Sta.
Shows a real Burgundian earthiness, with rich humous, mushroom and gamey, leathery
flavors, marbled with a deep well of spicy plum sauce. This earthy richness,
with the distinct tannins, suggests ageability for this dry wine. Best after
22009. 92 Points
2007 Pinot Noir - Clone 777, La Encantada
Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills
Softly tannic and direct in jammy blackberry, cherry and red plum flavors,
with chocolate overtones that have a candied, sugary edge. Not showing a great
deal of complexity now, but could evolve in a few years. Hard to predict. 88
2007 Pinot Noir - Clone 667, La Encantada
Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills
You might want to give this bottle a few years of age. Tasted in late October
of 2008, it's heavy with lots of sticky tannins. It's also a bit one-dimensional
in red cherry, red currant and red licorice flavors. 87 Points.
critic James Laube included Alma Rosa’s Pinot Noir- Clone 777
in his “10 Exciting new California Pinot Noirs, with a focus
on screw-capped new brands”:
Score: 89 Rich and concentrated, with ripe, vivid
blueberry and blackberry fruit that's well-proportioned, balanced
and long on the finish. Drink now through 2012. 235 cases made. —J.L.
Asimov reported on the breadth and depth of Chardonnay’s from
Santa Barbara County, noting:
“..it’s hard to imagine any region outdoing
Santa Barbara for the sheer variety of chardonnay styles it offers.
Our No. 2 wine, the 2007 Alma Rosa, was a very different style, crisp, subtle
and refreshing like a good Mâconnais wine.
It was one of the few bottles that came with a screw cap, and at $15 it was
our best value.”
Read the entire article here.
I recently tasted through a lineup of wines from California
winery Alma Rosa, and I have to say — I really liked every
single one of them.
Read the entire review from wineskinny.com here.
Worth Business Press came to Santa Barbara and wrote about
to Alma Rosa.
Week”, a publication that touts it is “All You Need to
Know About Everything that Matters” listed our 2006 Chardonnay
as one of the year’s top
five must-have wines.
Rusty Gaffaney, “The Prince of Pinot” included
his thoughts on Alma Rosa in his newsletter. This edition of The
I most remember and admire about Richard Sanford is that he tirelessly
poured his wines at many events over the years, patiently answering
all questions with polite aplomb and enthusiasm. When I first became
seriously interested in wine in the 1980s, Richard was participating
in even small wine charity events and it was through encounters with
him at these tastings that I became impressed by the man and his
stellar wines. Even today, he and his wife eagerly participate in
major Pinot Noir events, not at all content to rest on their laurels.”
He then reviews the current release Pinot Noirs. Click
here to visit his website.
“The Grape Crusader” blogged about
the 2007 Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County release, noting “The
wine is first fermented in oak for a few weeks before being transferred
to steel tanks for aging and then bottling. Malolactic fermentation,
the process that softens the acids in the wine, is not carried out.
The combination of oak treatment along with steel treatment leads
to a wine that has slight hints of oak, refreshing acidity, tropical
fruit flavors and hints of mineral. All of this makes for a wine
with interesting juxtapositions of flavor. Juxta-what? It tastes
good.” Read the entire blog here.
Spectator included our 2006 Chardonnay – Santa Barbara
County as one of their “2008 Top Values” in the February
Wisdom: Tasting the Journey at the Alma Rosa Winery with Richard
and Thekla Sanford
Edible Ojai magazine recently came to
visit, and correspondent Lisa Kring writes about Alma Rosa and Richard
and Thekla’s aspirations and convictions - read
the article here.
Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Features
Every Significant Type and Style of Wine, From Each of the Major
Wine-Producing Regions in the United States. We are very pleased
that three of our wines stood out in the field of 4,736 wines entered,
bringing home a silver medal each!
2007 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills
2007 Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills
2007 Pinot Gris, Santa Barbara County
100 Wines of 2008
Our 2006 Chardonnay, El Jabalí Vineyard,
was among the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Top
100 Wines of 2008”. They noted: Richard Sanford shows his
longtime talents with this lavish, ripe single-vineyard Chardonnay.
Limpid, orange-driven aromas presage honeyed fig and citrus, with
a bit of dry wood presence and a pleasing touch of sweetness on the
palate, matched by firm, minerally bite. Balanced, well-defined Chardonnay
from a parcel Sanford has farmed since 1983.
The judges at the Long Beach Grand Cru wine competition
awarded a gold medal to our 2007 Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County
and silver medals to our 2006 Pinot Blanc, Sta. Rita Hills and 2006
Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard.
USA Today: Sips: Make Thanksgiving a Celebration
of Pinot Noir
Jerry Shriver, who has been very supportive of
the Central Coast, wrote about wines for the Holidays and mentioned
Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards. Click
here for the article.
100 of 2008
Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards 2006 Chardonnay
Santa Barbara County has been selected as the #4 wine for Wine Enthusiast
Magazine Top 100 Enthusiast Wines for 2008! 94 points
The Model Green Winery: Richard Sanford’s
Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards
“A couple of weeks ago, I found some videos about the Sanford's
new venture, Alma Rosa wines on youtube and I was very struck by
Richard Sanford's zen-master approach to life, growing grapes, and
wine making. It was clear to me that the Sanfords embodied the essence
of sustainable viticulture, and were the first to do so in Santa
Barbara County 22 years ago on their 110 acres of organic estate
vineyards. I really wanted to get to know their first wines in the
post-Sanford Winery period. So I arranged to taste the entire current
release line-up, thanks to Richard and Thekla Sanford.”
Read the entire blog here.
Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards Pinot Noir La Encantada Vineyard
Santa Rita Hills
($36) Bright ruby. Powerfully scented, seductive bouquet of fresh red berries,
herbs and anise. Silky and sweet, offering clean raspberry and cherry flavors
and a pleasantly bitter fruit skin quality. A bit wound-up initially, but gained
sweetness with air. Finishes with very good lift and sweet persistence. 90
2007 Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards Pinot Gris Santa
($18) Light, bright gold. Pungent lemon, lime and mineral aromas are underscored
by baking spices and dusty minerals. Moderately deep citrus and orchard fruit
flavors are given a bitter edge by lime zest, picking up anise and thyme with
air. Sweeter melon and nectarine qualities build through the juicy finish.
Plenty of fruit here. 88
2006 Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards Pinot Noir Santa
($36) Deep red. Smoky oak and black raspberry on the nose. Lively red berry
flavors are firmed by juicy acidity and given depth by a slow-building dark
chocolate quality. The finish features an interesting Campari-like bitterness
and a lingering note of cracked pepper. Not a particularly easy style, but
nicely suited to strongly seasoned red meat dishes. 88
Also recommended: 2007 Chardonnay Santa Barbara County (86), 2006
Chardonnay El Jabali Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills (86).
A few video links:
Some great videos of Richard Sanford, one of him sitting down and
talking a bit about the philosophy behind Alma Rosa, and one about
his vineyards and the history of the Santa Rita Hills.
in the vineyards
at the Alma Rosa Tasting Room going through the wines
Winemaker of the Year
and Thekla were recently honored as “Winemaker of the Year” at
the recent Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta.
Richard Sanford has been at the forefront of Santa
Barbara Pinot Noir since 1970 when he planted the Sanford & Benedict
Vineyard. It's been a long process - one with many unforeseen twists
and turns... Through it all, for more than thirty years now, Sanford
has consistently produced one of the most compelling expressions
of Pinot Noir in the New World.
Click here to
read the entire article from Edible Santa Fe.
All-Star panel of 16 organic and biodynamic leaders singled out Alma
Rosa at the first ever International Green Wine Competition held
recently in Santa Rosa. Alma Rosa competed against 271 wines entered
from six states and 10 foreign nations to bring home the medals!
Schaefer profiled Alma Rosa in our local Santa Barbara News-Press
on September 25th.
“Richard and Thekla Sanford are resilient and
positive-minded folks who’ve been through many changes in the
past couple of years, but have emerged on the other side, stronger
and more committed than ever to organic grape growing and sustainable
here to read the full article.
In the San Francisco Chronicle, Wine write Jon Bonné talked
about the cultural differences in Chardonnay. He chose a few vintners
who elegantly express the grape, and noted in his “Powerhouse
Producers” that “Richard Sanford’s fans know
the Santa Rita Hills vintner’s Chardonnay work …those
talents have resurfaced in his single-vineyard Jabali Chardonnay.”
Read the entire article here.
writer Robert Whitley from the San Diego Union-Tribune recently tasted
the current releases and noted: “ I was impressed with the
restraint and balance of the lineup. All the wines have more than
enough fruit, but you will notice minerals and juicy acidity, elements
that are tuned more to European palates…”
Read the entire article here.
Find: 2007 Alma Rosa Pinot Gris
By Michael Dresser,September 17, 2008
This lush, ripe, full-bodied, dry white wine is simply
packed with flavor. That comes as no surprise because it comes from
J. Richard and Thekla Sanford, the former proprietors of Sanford
Winery. Skillfully made in the style of its Alsace counterparts,
this wine shows nuances of lemon, orange, pears and mulling spices
- all delivered with a creamy texture punctuated with a good jolt
more Accolades from Wine Enthusiast in the September Issue
Alma Rosa Pinot Gris La Encantada Vineyard 2006: 89 Points
A nice, pleasant sipper, lovely on its own as an aperitif,
with wonderfully crisp acidity and a stony minerality balancing rich
flavors of citrus fruits and wildflowers. Feels elegant and clean
Alma Rosa Pinot Blanc La Encantada Vineyard 2006: 88 Points
It’s the kind of wine that’s perfect for a summer
day. You could put some strawberries in it, or make it a cooler with
a dash of fruit juice. No insult to the wine, which is dry and zesty
in acidity and very good. The flavors are a solid home run of citrus,
green apples, honeysuckle and cinnamon.
Choice in the August 2008 Wine Enthusiast!
Alma Rosa Pinot Noir Sta Rita Hills 2006:
93 Points, Editor’s Choice
Impresses for the body and depth that lifts it into sheer deliciousness. A
powerful wine, it’s stuffed with pure flavors of black cherries, currants,
beef jerky and spicy mu shu plum sauce, all wrapped into thick but finely ground
tannins, and brightened by crisp coastal acidity. Beautiful now, and should
develop over the next 6 years.
Alma Rosa Chardonnay Santa Barbara County
2006: 94 Points, Editor’s Choice
Starts with an opulent, inviting aroma of smoky honey, vanilla,
tangerines, Meyer lemons, yellow apricots, green apples and minerals.
In the mouth, the flavors are very similar – an explosion of
fruits, spices and toast. Just a tremendous wine, but for all the
volume and complexity, it’s completely balanced.
Accolades from Wine Spectator
Alma Rosa Chardonnay Santa Barbara County 2006: 89 Points
Fresh, tangy pineapple, citrus and tangerine-laced fruit
is complex, intense, lively, elegant, balanced and very refreshing.
Alma Rosa Chardonnay El Jabalí Vineyard Sta. Rita
Hills 2006: 88 Points
Lime, quince and citrus notes give this a flinty, refreshing
and distinct personality, with mouthwatering acidity that’s
cleansing. Drink now through 2010.
Alma Rosa Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills 2006: 87 Points
Balanced, with spicy plum, herb, sage and hints of cedar and anise, ending
with a drying herbal aftertaste. Drink now through 2010.
The 2008 Long Beach Grand Cru Awards
Alma Rosa wines were awarded quite a few medals at this year’s
2007 Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County
2006 Pinot Blanc, Santa Rita Hills
2006 Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills
2006 Chardonnay, El Jabalí Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills
2006 Pinot Gris, Santa Barbara County
2006 Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills
new venture, veteran winemaker Richard Sanford stays true to himself.
"You learn a lot along the way," Sanford concludes. "I've
learned this: Be true to yourself and without compromise, while being
respectful of other points of view. It's pretty exciting once again." Read
the entire article here.
are Best, states Decanter Magazine!
It's official: screwcap is the best closure for the vast majority of wines,
both red and white.
This is the opinion of Decanter magazine's most senior contributors,
from Steven Spurrier to Linda Murphy in California and Huon Hooke
in Australia, tastings director Christelle Guibert and restaurant
critic Brian St Pierre. Read
the entire article here.
Listen to Grape Radio’s podcasts of Wine & Fire,
where they interview Richard:
Pioneers of Pinot Noir
Wine & Fire,
Sta. Rita Hills
California Wine Country
“Owner Richard Sanford looks youthful at 67, but he's the
undisputed gray eminence of Sta. Rita Hills. He planted Sanford & Benedict,
the first vineyard in the region, in 1971, 30 years before the establishment
of the AVA. In 2005, he started Alma Rosa with his wife, Thekla.
Their tasting room is an unembellished farmhouse, with 9-foot cactuses
by the entrance, two barrels and a wood plank for a bar, and what
is possibly the fattest cat on the Central Coast sprawled on the
floor. They pour six wines, including two stylish Pinot Noirs and
a lively, intense Chardonnay from the home estate.” Click
here to read the full article.
soul in the soils of the Central Coast’s lauded ground” La
Encantada truly reveals its meaning (“the enchanted) in this
wine – one of the best of its class. Read
the entire article here.
Names & Familiar Faces
”Richard Sanford's name is honored among the best of Santa
Barbara vintners, and deservedly so. However, there's been a change
that few wine lovers are aware of: The visionary winemaker is no
longer associated with the winery that bears his name. After selling
his shares of his eponymous brand to his partners in Paterno Wine
Company over philosophical differences about organic farming, Richard
and his wife and partner Thekla walked away. Now they've reinvented
themselves under another new brand they named Alma Rosa, and they're
producing an excellent lineup of Pinot Noirs and Pinot Gris. They
explained that their brand represents the culmination of their life
experiences and their commitment to organic and sustainable agriculture." Click
here to read the full article.
Grapes in the 805
Many wineries in Central California have adopted
organic and biodynamic farming practices to produce the best wines
possible. For Richard Sanford, founder of Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards
in the Santa Rita Hills appellation of Santa Barbara County, farming
organically was an easy choice. Sanford founded both the Sanford & Benedict
and Sanford Wineries before going out on his own with his Alma Rosa. “My
wife and I had an organic garden,” he recalls of their early
days, “and she suggested that we grow the grapes organically.
So in the mid-eighties, we weaned ourselves of all chemicals.” Look
to Alma Rosa for both exceptional chardonnay and pinot noir made
from organic grapes.
the entire article here.
Friendly Spring Fling
In the March 2008 issue of Sunset Magazine, they suggest
10 earth friendly Spring Flings. #1? Go Wine Tasting!
“You thought the movie Sideways told you all you need
to know about Santa Barbara? You thought wrong. There is, for instance,
the Sustainable Vine Tour that we’re guessing you haven’t
tried. The six-hour, behind the scenes look at organic winemaking
might include a visit to Demetria Winery, lunch with the owners
of Ampelos Cellars and a grand finale at Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards,
run by eco-minded wine pioneer Richard Sanford..
The other nine flings? Click
post-Sideways tour by Food & Wine magazine
“Of course, the groundwork for many of these changes was laid
long before as seen in Sideways signs were posted around the county.
A number of important new wineries were in the works around the time
that Sideways debuted—among them Alma Rosa and Jonata—and
the amount of acreage under vine was at a record high. Recently,
I drove up Pacific Coast Highway to see how the wine scene in Santa
Barbara County was unfolding.
Richard Sanford, a founding father of Santa Barbara Pinot Noir,
presides over Alma Rosa. Sanford founded the Alma Rosa winery after
selling the original Sanford Winery. The property is fairly hard
to find, located behind a cactus gateway on Santa Rosa Road in the
relatively new Santa Rita Hills appellation that he himself helped
Sanford, a tall, tanned and presidential-seeming man, showed me
around the buildings, fountains and Taoist-inspired paths of Alma
Rosa. When he arrived in Santa Barbara County in 1969, farmers were
growing mostly barley and garbanzo and lima beans, or grazing cattle.
Sanford studied the area’s geography and topography to see
if it could support vineyards, and he drove around with a thermometer
taking measurements. “People thought, ‘This person is
nuts!’” Sanford recalled. “When I said I wanted
to grow grapes, I was told it was a dumb idea.”
writer Chip Brown’s Santa Barbara Winery tour here.
Trio of Silver Medals!
The results are in for the results of the prestigious 2008 San Francisco
Chronicle Wine Competition, and we are very pleased to report that
the following wines each brought home a silver medal. 2006 Pinot
Noir, La Encantada Vineyard, 2006 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills and
the 2006 Chardonnay, El Jabalí
Outstanding and Impressive!
A new operation owned by Richard Sanford, Alma
Rosa’s two 2005 Pinot Noirs are both noteworthy offerings.
The single vineyard 2005 Pinot Noir La Encantada Vineyard exhibits
a dark ruby color along with a big, spicy, plum, cherry and earthy-scented
perfume with hints of roasted herbs and wood in the background. A
soft entry on the palate offers deep fruit, an elegant style, impressive
purity and ripeness and good overall harmony. Enjoy it over the next
5-6 years. Surprisingly, the generic 2005 Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills
is even more complex, displaying additional notes of beet roots,
forest floor and sweet cherries. This well-made, medium-bodied Pinot
possesses excellent fruit, spice, earth and subtle herb and smoke
characteristics. It too should be consumed over the next 5-6 years.
The two outstanding Chardonnays include the 2005
Chardonnay El Jabali Vineyard which offers plenty of tropical fruit,
peach, and honeysuckle notes, an excellent texture, medium to full
body and an up-front style. Drink it over the next several years.
More hazelnut, toasted almond and buttery popcorn characteristics
are found in the 2005 Chardonnay Santa Barbara. Not as forceful,
rich or delineated as the single vineyard cuvee, it is an outstanding
Chardonnay to consumer over the next 1-2 years.
Lastly, two impressive Pinot Blancs include the
fruit-dominated, single vineyard 2005 Pinot Blanc La Encantada Vineyard.
Aromas of white currants, orange blossoms and apple skins are followed
by a wine with gorgeous fruit, a striking minerality and no evidence
of wood. It should be a food-friendly white to enjoy over the next
1-2 years. Cut from the same cloth, but not quite as nuanced and
complete, the 2005 Pinot Blanc Santa Rita Hills should drink well
for 1-2 years as well.
2005 Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County 90pts
2005 Chardonnay, El Jabali Vyd 90 pts
2005 Pinot Blanc, Sta. Rita Hills 87 pts
2005 Pinot Blanc, La Encantada Vyd 89pts
2005 Pinot Noir, Sta Rita Hills 89 pts
2005 Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vyd 88 pts
After pioneering Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara's
Santa Rita Hills in the 1970's, Richard and Thekla Sanford sold their
namesake winery to partner Terlato Wines International in 2005 and
started Alma Rosa. The couple's new venture made a splashy entrance
with its graphic floral label, screwcapped bottles, sustainable and
organic farming practices and a wine makeover that showcases bracing
acidity and bright fruit. 'This new winery has allowed us to move
in new directions with our wines - more acid, less alcohol, modern
wines that work with modern foods,' says Richard Sanford.
Now in the second vintage, Alma Rosa wines - Pinots
Noir, Blanc and Gris, Chardonnay and a Vin Gris - are elegant, with
restrained but luscious fruit.
Sanford has found his winemaking paradise in the
Santa Rita Hills, an area he long ago determined similar to Burgundy
and hospitable to Pinot Noir. Sanford cites an east-west valley that
runs from the vineyards to the ocean as 'the most important feature
in our area', allowing the grapes to benefit from a marine influence.
The couple's respect for nature is reflected on the back labels, which read:
'Nature and agriculture in sustainable harmony. Particularly these days with
global warming, we all have to be more responsible about the environment. We
all have to work together.'
Noir: Chasing Greatness
This Los Angeles Times article
describing the ever increasing popularity of Pinot Noir confirms
Richard Sanford’s place as a Pinot Noir pioneer, saying “Pinot's
calling card is terroir expression, its uncanny ability to convey
a distinct sense of place, just in its aromas and flavors. No other
grape is as evocative; none has its powers of seduction … Santa
Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County shares this reputation for fruit
intensity. Thirty years ago the region was considered too cold, too
marginal and too exotic for any but the most stubborn of winemakers — such
as Richard Sanford, whose leafy, cool weather Pinots benefited from
a fair amount of time in the bottle…”
here to read the full article.
Full Circle, Four Winemakers Retool for the Future
many people on the local wine scene go back as far as Richard and
Thekla Sanford. The Sanfords were instrumental in planting the Sanford & Benedict
Vineyard along Santa Rosa Road in 1971, making it one of the oldest
vineyards in Santa Barbara County … The Sanfords also made
local history by establishing the first certified organic vineyards
in the area. … They used these vineyards to create a new winery,
Alma Rosa. These vineyards are, of course, still farmed organically
and the Sanfords are continuing their commitment to sustainable farming,
sustainable winery operations, and their uncompromising philosophies.”
here to read the full article.
Lust for the Must by James Laube
the eternally fascinating wine world, vintners bow out of one winery
to start another. For some it’s like the metamorphosis from
caterpillar to butterfly. How else to explain Richard Sanford, the
Pinot Noir prophet of Santa Barbara, leaving his namesake winery
last year and soon after revealing that he was hatching a new endeavor
called Alma Rosa?”
here to read the full article.