Sanford is a legend in the Santa Barbara winemaking scene, and even though Richard Sanford is no longer involved with the winery (he runs Alma Rosa now), Sanford (the winery) is still putting out top-notch vino. The 2008 vintages of its Chardonnay and rightfully renowned Pinot Noirs are hitting any day now.
We tried them first.
2008 Sanford Chardonnay Santa Barbara County – A good mix of big apple and pineapple fruit with moderate wood. Lemon notes are pleasant and add a bit to the mix. For those who don’t like Chardonnay (or don’t think they do), this is a Chard definitely worth another look. Amazing value for the quality here. A- / $22
2008 Sanford Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills – The Sanford you’re most likely to find on store shelves and wine lists. Good fruit, cherry all the way, but very light in body, almost feeling like it veers toward watery. A little nuttiness, but none of that Burgundy funk that makes good Pinot so interesting. Perfectly drinkable, but far from complicated. B+ / $22
2008 Sanford Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills Sanford & Benedict Vineyard – Much like the standard bottling, but with a bigger, better body. A touch of olive in the mix spices things up, but as with the above wine, there’s no sense of the soil here. A good or a bad thing, depending on your perspective. A- / $60
2008 Sanford Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills La Rinconada Vineyard – Textbook New World Pinot (this one is estate bottled), with moderate earth notes pitted against silky, rich black cherry. Herbal highlights throughout the body, with a balanced, tart, and fruity finish. A / $50