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The wines of Sanford, Santa Ynez, California 
7250 Santa Rosa Road, Bulleton, CA 93427, USA
Tel: 001 805 688 3300

Just a couple of hours from downtown LA lies the lovely seaside town of Santa Barbara. A short drive takes you to wine country, and the valleys of Santa Barbara County, Santa Ynez and Santa Maria. Sanford, with six vineyards (20 acres in all, producing around 20 000 cases per year), was one of the pioneers in this region, so it was nice to get a chance to try these wines. I have to admit, I came away disappointed. The Sauvignon is almost undrinkable, and the Chardonnays have a crude character with some odd notes to them. Things improve with the three Pinot Noirs, although they are made in quite a heavy style. And I don't like the effeminate, flowery labels!

Sanford Sauvignon Blanc, Central Coast 1999
Forget about the off-putting bright pink capsule, the ripe, fruity nose has a noticeble herbaceous streak that reminds me of tinned peas. Poor

Sanford Barrel Select Chardonnay 1999
A full golden colour, this has a rich caramel edge to the crudely oaked nose. Savoury and toasty on the palate, with fresh, lean fruit. A bit crude. Good

Sanford Chardonnay Santa Barbara County 1999
A full yellow/gold colour the rich palate has a slightly odd unripe character. Lean and savoury. Good

Sanford Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County 1999
This full flavoured Pinot has an attractive pungent, herbal, medicinal nose. The palate shows good intensity and rich oakiness -- perhaps a little bit too much oak. Very good

Sanford Barrel Select Pinot Noir 1998, Sanford & Benedict Vineyard
The relatively restrained nose shows herby, cherry fruit with a touch of spice. The concentrated, spicy palate is attractive and savoury. Very good+

Sanford Barrel Select Pinot Noir 1998, La Rinconada Vineyard
First vintage from this new vineyard. A deep purple/black colour, it has a shy nose and a concentrated, rich, spicy palate. A big Pinot Noir, the new oak is pretty evident at this stage. Very good

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