Finding an invigorating and dynamic wine tasting experience in Santa Barbara is easily found when visiting Jamie Slone Wines. Here you will meet the charismatic and engaging Jamie Slone and walk away with an enchanting experience. The tasting room offers an eclectic yet consistent collection of wines that includes Rhones and Bordeaux blends as well as single varietals. The wines are very balanced and approachable.
In addition to learning about the history of Santa Barbara County wines, you will also garner information on racing cars as Jamie was a race car driver. Like his collection of wines, Jamie has an eclectic career that includes winemaking, radio, car racing and real estate.
Jamie Slone Wines tasting room is located at the El Paseo, an old colonial styled building on De La Guerra Street. Originally built as the home of Military Officer, Civil Servant José de la Guerra y Noriega in the 18th century, the building was expanded to include artisan shops in the early to mid 20th century. Today the Spanish Revival style complex features several restaurants and wine tasting rooms. Including Jamie Slone.
What also makes Jamie Slone’s wine tasting room special is his social ambassador, Sophie. The minute you walk through the door you are greeting by this cute Havanese. Speaking of dogs, the tasting room is dog friendly. My second visit to the wine tasting room included my Saluki, Chloe.
The tasting room is very cozy with Spanish colonial architecture and décor. The inviting living room style makes for a chatty conversation with Jamie Slone and enhanced when Sophie comes up for a snuggle and pet. As a result one feels right at home.
Jamie’s interest in wines occurred during a family trip to Europe in 1999. Jamie and his wife Kym traveled to Provence; Avignon and the Chateauneuf du Pape to be specific. Here they fell in love with the Rhone varietals. The impetus to create wine was born and when Jamie started his limited production winery he brought in Doug Margerum as winemaker. Has wines are handcrafted and perfect the balance and character that is so desirable in Santa Barbara County wines.
Almost every one of Jamie Slone’s wines has a story. Along with sampling the wine one learns the tale behind each blend or varietal, giving a better appreciation of what Jamie Slone is achieving in his wines.
Here are some of my favorites that were compiled from two visits to the wine tasting room.
2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon: I loved the balance and subtleties of this Sauvignon Blanc due to its softer style, integration and balanced. There is creaminess to the wine along with flavors of lemon and stone fruit. The aromas are white flowers. This wine is aged in 50% stainless steel and 50% neutral French oak.
2014 Aloysuis Chardonnay: This is a lighter more Burgundian styled Chardonnay. The grapes come from the Sta. Rita Hills and the flavors of apples are most dominant. Aged in both new and neutral oak, the wine lives up to the meaning of its name, famous warrior. Actually this wine is named after Jamie’s father in law.
2015 Rosé: A blend of Grenache, Mouvédre and Counoise from Santa Barbara County. Who could turn down a light, bright and crisp Rosé? The first words that came to me after tasting this Rosé were raspberries. There are also flavors of fresh stone fruit, namely peaches.
Here is where the some of the stories really begin.
2014 Lozier: A GSM named after Jamie’s mother’s maiden name and of course a wine that has racing history behind it. The Lozier was a luxury car. In 1911 this automobile was entered in the first Indianapolis 500. Controversy arose about the scoring of this race and although it finished second, many thought it actually had finished first. Its entry in this inaugural race never got the recognition it deserved but Jamie Slone choose to acknowledge the car and that first race in his wine. This elegant wine with its subtle sophistication and berry flavors can be savored either at room temperature or it is a red wine that can be sipped cold.
2014 Pinot Noir: Before Jamie would share his 2014 Pinot Noir from Sta. Rita Hills he had to share the story on his 2013, which I was fortunate to taste on my first visit to the wine tasting room. Jamie was elated that the French Laundry purchased what was left of the 2013 vintage of Pinot Noir for their restaurant. What higher compliment can you get than to have a top restaurant in Napa order your Santa Barbara County wine.
The 2014 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hill combines four vineyards, La Encantada, La Rinconada, John Sebastian and Sanford and Benedict. This is a lighter yet bright and elgant Pinot Noir with raspberry spices.
2012 Super Tuscan: This wine pays tribute to Italy and Sangiovese. The blend is Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese and 1 % of Malbec. The addition of Malbec makes this Super Tuscan different. The wine is nicely rounded and bright. You immediately inhale the aromas of Sangiovese especially the cherry.
2012 BoRific: Paying tribute to the right bank of Bordeaux this wine is the flagship wine of Jamie Slone Wines. The name BoRific is an affectionate nickname for Jamie’s wife. She is called Kymborific and therefore this wine symbolizes the love Jamie has for his wife as well as his passion for his wines. The blend is primarily Merlot accompanied by Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. This is a well-integrated wine with aromas of violets and bright cherry flavors.
2012 P1 Red Blend: This is another blend dedicated to car racing. The P1 is the fastest car in qualifying. It is the car in the first position or in racing terms what is called the pole position. This Australian styled blend combines Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Cabernet Franc. Jamie calls this a “racy wine”. It has flavors of plum and licorice.
2012 Cabernet Sauvignon: This Cabernet can be described as a big powerful wine yet at the same time it is approachable, balance and very drinkable. Flavors of black cherry are dominant along with hints of vanilla, spice and licorice.
In addition, Jamie Slone produces a reserve Cabernet Sauvignon called Duo. This is named for Jamie and Kym’s twin daughters. If it is anything like the wine portfolio sampled, it is a winner that I cannot wait to try.
Finally being able to visit Santa Barbara and Jamie Slone Wines one gets the true American Rivera experience. Most of all we can leave the hectic fast pace and racy speed of our lives and sit down and relax while enjoying a glass of wine.