1997-The Good, the Bad & the Ugly
Man of the Year: Richard Sanford of Sanford Winery
Richard Sanford is one of the pioneers who demonstrated to the wine drinking world the efficacy of great chardonnay and pinot noir from Santa Barbara County.
He planted the now world-renowned Sanford & Benedict Vineyard in 1971--over a quarter of a century ago. Richard planted a vineyard in the late 80s at the site of Sanford Winery, Rancho El Jabali, which he and his
wife Thekla purchased in 1982.
In 1997, Sanford planted 125 acres of new vines at the Santa Rita Vineyard on Santa Rosa Road, at the Rancho de Rinconada, west of Sanford & Benedict Vineyard.
Since Richard's first vintage in 1976--a pinot noir that dazzled the world--he has continued to produce great wine with his winemaker, Bruno D'Alfonso--great wines from great vineyards--and all without the removal or
destruction of a single oak!
Wine of the Year: Alban Vineyards 1995 estate Grenache, Edna Valley appellation
A finely crafted interaction of French oak barrels and finely tuned Grenache, the grape of Chateau Rayas from France's Chateauneuf du Pape, from the winery's Orcutt Road Vineyard in the Edna Valley, this wine is the
greatest New World grenache I've ever experienced, and quite probably one of the best wines I've ever had. Exudes complex tones of strawberries and raspberries. $28 and worth every penny.
The Bad & the Ugly: The Land of Camelot without Oaks
And I'm not sure if it's more bad or more ugly.
Kendall-Jackson's wholesale slaughter of some 600 gracious and grand oak trees in Santa Barbara County for its Camelot Winery project is nothing short of environmental holocaust.
What price wine I ask? No bottle of wine could ever be worth those priceless treasures--the signature of our back country rolling terrain-the marque of Santa Barbara County's wine country.
I know people who have said, Kendall-Jackson did nothing illegal in the tree removal.
Yeah! I mean we're not talking regulations and statutes--we're talkin' basic right and wrong--the kind of morality you're supposed to learn as a child!
I do not understand a mentality that condones bulldozing down--not scores, but hundreds--of stately oaks because the government doesn't say you can't do it. If all acts were reasoned (from my high school Latin--republic comes from the Latin nouns res and publica--public reason), there would be no cause for laws, rules and ordinances.
If we end up with county ordinances regarding the removal of oak trees from ag land, you can thank the irresponsible behavior of Kendall-Jackson.
A Final Thought
A new year, almost a new milennium, and bars without secondhand smoke! California leads the world again, and may all the bar owners of the Golden State see a resurgence of business and good profit from those of us, the vast majority of Californians, who prefer not to breathe someone else's smoke.
Bob Senn writes The Independent's monthly wine column, "Grapevine," and owns the Los Olivos Wine & Spirits Emporium.
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