A sommelier and a winemaker walk into a vineyard...
Nope, not a joke, just a true tale of some seriously talented, passionate trailblazers making some of the Central Coast's most unique and delicious wines. Rajat Parr (see: James Beard Award winner, boss Wine Director and Sommelier, lauded author) and Sashi Moorman (East-Coast bred Chef, baker and winemaker now in Cali) started Lompoc Wine Company in an effort to make accessible wine that truthfully represents Sta. Rita Hills (Santa Barbara County). The soil, climate, exposure and alternating cool fog and summer heat create one of the world’s most badass cool-climate wine growing spots – and it’s just perfect for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
And this particular Pinot is so right – all of the balance is just immediately apparent. These lush, darker berry tones pop out, all friendly, but with a respectable edge; like that warm friend who knows exactly when to press play on a good, sarcastic joke.
And because geography and wine are as crucially connected as tequila and bad decisions, it’s important to note the miracle of this Cali region’s microclimate: It began like, oh, let’s say 20 million years ago-ish, when shifting tectonic plate deposited marine sediment deep under the Pacific Ocean. Mountains then rose from the ocean - I know, kinda sounds like the first in a Peter Jackson trilogy right?? Well, another twelve million years passed and those mountains did some more geological maneuvering and they created the most clearly delineated transverse range on the Pacific Coast from Alaska to Chile!
Word is still out on how grape growing works in Middle-Earth, but if anyone could pull it off, I believe Raj and Sashi probably have the skills.
Each sip is an affirmation of good instincts, intuitive winemaking, and respect for the environment - with abundant heaps of clean, bright fruit. Not too clean, though. One of the things I love most about this wine is that it’s not too polished. I like a dose of grit, evidence that it came from the land and not some sterile factory of scientists in lab coats surrounded by bubbling beakers. There has to be soul.
And this wine, it’s got soul. It’s epic mouthfuls of blackberries and deep cherries cloaked in soft tannin and that little bit of something dirty - an elegant and grown up dirty. It’s like the California raisins traded their bad outfits for a classy French tailoring. They’re still singing Marvin Gaye, but “Sexual Healing” instead of “Heard it Through the Grapevine,” you know?
Speaking of Marvin...