Santa Maria Valley
2003 was a bit like 1995 for pinot noir in Santa Barbara County. The crop was extremely small and the ripening very uneven. We were faced with the unappetizing choice of eliminating the less ripe fruit from an already small crop, or suffer the consequences of having a lower quality wine. We chose the first option, of course.
After two unusually hard, tannic vintages (2001+2002) that need time to develop in the bottle, this one is quite a shock. It is fabulously complex and utterly delicious to drink even right now. I gave a bottle of this wine to a cousin of mine, and she remarked that now she understood what all the hoopla regarding pinot noir was all about. It was a nice compliment, and illustrates that this wine impresses even now.