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I’ve enjoyed Cold Heaven winemaker Morgan Clendenen’s Viogniers for many years.  I especially love a glass of her late harvest Viognier after dinner in lieu of dessert.   Jason and I stopped by to taste at the new Cold Heaven tasting room in Buellton the other day.   I’ve never seen a red wine from Cold Heaven, so I was thrilled to see that there was a Syrah, called Second Sin, at the end of the tasting menu.  We started with the 2008 Sauvignon Blanc ($20) which had a nose of white grapefruit, and florals.  Ripe tropical fruit, citrus and bright acidity – the result of stainless steel fermentation- linger on the palate.   This would be a fabulous wine to have with scallops or oysters.  The 2008 Le Bon Climat Vineyard Viognier ($33) was next on the list.   With a heady floral nose, flavors of guava and peach and a soft mouthfeel this is a gorgeous wine.   We then tasted a richer and more full bodied Viognier – the 2008 Sanford and Benedict Vineyard Viognier.  This had a beautiful nose of apricot and violets and well integrated flavors and a sweet, lingering finish.  Next up was the 2008 Vogelzang Vineyard Viognier which had a nose of orange blossom and tropical fruits (especially pineapple core)  and crisp acidity.   The 2007 Domaine des Deux Mondes Saints and Sinners is a wine made from a collaboration between Morgan Clendenen and Yves Cuilleron, an expert on Viognier from Condrieu.  Domaine des Deux Mondes is French for “Domain of Two Worlds” signifying the coming together of two worlds to make a single wine.  This was an absolutely beautiful wine with just the right amount of richness on the palate to make it luscious.  Only 3 % new oaks was used, so the fruit from Sanford and Benedict really shines.  Another product of the collaboration between Morgan Clendenen and Yves Cuilleron is called Deux C which is French for two C’s (one “C” for Clendenen and the second “C” for Cuilleron) is composed of wine made here in California combined with wine made in France.  This is quite literally a marriage of Old World and New World with two barrels of wine made in California combined with two made in France.   The vintage is 2005 however due to labeling regulations, this wine’s label cannot indicate a vintage.    Next, we moved on to two reds.  We tasted first the 2004 and then the 2003 Second Sin Syrah.  The 2004 Second Sin was made with fruit from top notch vineyards – Bien Nacido, Beckmen and Vogelzang.   The wine is a mere 13.5% alcohol (the fruit was picked slightly less ripe) – far lower than many if not most California Syrahs.  The wine tastes far more like a French wine than one from California.   I think this will age beautifully for a decade or more. The 2003 Second Sin is a glassful of beautifully integrated flavors including meat, black cherry and baking spices.   This is truly an elegant wine that gets better with each sip.

Be sure to stop by the tasting room and wine making facility at 92A Second Street in Buellton CA 93427.  The tasting room is open Friday through Monday from 12pm-5pm.

Kristy took us on a tour of the winemaking facility and barrel room.  Here are a few snapshots I took:

barrel

In the Cold Heaven barrel room

Spinning Mirrored Buddha Head watches over the barrels at Cold Heaven

Spinning, mirrored Buddha head watches over the barrels at Cold Heaven

Barrel of Cold Heaven 2009 Le Bon Climat Vineyard Viognier

Barrel of Cold Heaven 2009 Le Bon Climat Vineyard Viognier marked with a horseshoe symbol

Barrel of Cold Heaven 2009 La Vina Vineyard  Viognier marked with a pistol symbol

Barrel of Cold Heaven 2009 La Vina Vineyard Viognier marked with a pistol symbol

Barrel of Cold Heaven 2009 Le Bon Climat Vineyard Viognier marked with a high heeled shoe

Barrel of Cold Heaven 2009 Le Bon Climat Vineyard Viognier marked with a high heeled shoe symbol

Barrel of wine at Cold Heaven marked with lotus symbol

Barrel of wine at Cold Heaven marked with lotus symbol

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