About The Author:

"Roger, The Wine Guy" is Roger Yazell, CWS. He is a member of the International Wine Guild and has had a long time admiration of wine. After careers in broadcasting, advertising and marketing account management, he explored his love of wine in hospitality, wholesale and retail sales. The intent of Roger's Grapevine is to share stories, history and information that will add to the reader's love, enjoyment and appreciation of wine and sake'.

Questions, requests for topics and comments are always welcome via email: rogerthewineguy@gmail.com.

(Note: The Wine Guy is currently undergoing chemotherapy and this blog will be on hiatus for the duration and into a recovery period. The Wine Guy is planning to celebrate his recovery with a trip to the two wine producing regions in Argentina and that should provide for some interesting new blogs. Meanwhile please enjoy the archives and feel free to email in the interim.)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Carr Winery, One to Watch in Santa Barbara!

During our recent visit to Santa Barbara, Mrs. Wine Guy and I did a portion of the Urban Wine Trail in the city of Santa Barbara, revisiting some familiar tasting rooms and seeking some new discoveries. Of those discoveries, the most enjoyable was in a converted Quonset hut on Salsipuedes Street (see photos), the home of Carr Winery.

Owned by Ryan Carr, this winery sources its grapes from a number of Santa Barbara vineyards. All are clients of a vineyard management company founded by Ryan in partnership with Andy Kahn. Ryan learned viniculture and wine making “hands-on” after returning to California from the University of Arizona where he degreed in graphic design. His first wine totaled 10 cases and was made in a garage but today he produces in excess of 3,000 cases annually. In addition to the Santa Barbara’s favorite, Pinot Noir, Carr also produces Pinot Gris, Grenache, Cabernet Franc and Syrah.

His Pinot Noir is flavorfully competitive in a land full of good Pinot Noir and his Paredon Vineyards Grenache was viable, as well, with smooth, supple round tannins and a hint of tobacco on the nose. It was, however his Syrah and his Cabernet Franc which captured most of The Wine Guy’s attention.

The 2007 Carr Vineyards and Winery Cabernet Franc utilizes grapes from two vineyards in the Santa Ynez valley and has a light but appealing nose with good blueberry and herbal flavors. There was a slight acidity to the wine and the somewhat crisp edge to the finish hinted of a wine that was still young in its presentation. The fullness of the tannins suggested there was both room and potential for improvement with ageing. For that reason it was one of the wines I choose to bring home.

Both the Carr Santa Barbara Syrah and the Paredon Syrah offered black fruit flavors accented with spice and distinctive moist leather palpability on the palate. The 18-months of oak aging and slightly higher (15%) alcohol content of the Carr label offered a little more accent on the spice. The Paredon Syrah was very smooth, well balanced and had a pleasant lingering finish. It too made the list for wine to bring home

I learned much of Ryan’s story and history after returning home and researching his background. His dedication to beginning the development of the wine in the vineyard and his work with other growers and winemakers in learning his craft while having his sense of style and purpose remind me a great deal of Eric Glomski of Paige Spring Cellars in Arizona. Both these young developing winemakers deserve to be watched as trailblazers and both have the potential to produce some outstanding wines in the future.

If you elect to the Urban Wine Trail on a future visit to Santa Barbara, make the Carr Vineyards and Winery a must stop on your tasting tour!

A supplemental note from The Wine Guy:

The two Syrah from Ryan Carr were among a group of five enjoyable and very well made Syrah that I tasted during my stay in Santa Barbara. All five had some unique and common flavor characteristics that lead me to believe Santa Barbara has the opportunity to produce a signature style in this varietal.

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