Fermenting in clay at Santa Barbara winery

Zaca Mesa Winery is one of the oldest wineries and vineyards in Santa Barbara County. They planted their first grapes in 1973.

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The wine aged in a Tuscan terracotta amphora for 10 months. Photo: Zaca Mesa

In November 2015, commercial real estate mogul John Cushman announced that his winery, vineyard and surrounding ranch were on the market for $32 million.

Meantime, vineyard workers are still experimenting with different winemaking trends, like fermenting and aging their Syrah in ceramic pots. This Old World process smooths out the tannins and makes for a fruit-forward, fresh, young wine. While most of their Syrahs aren’t released for at least two years, these bottles are getting released in less than a year.

“It’s a real fresh, different kind of take on Syrah and on Rhone winemaking altogether,” said Matt Kettmann, editor at the Santa Barbara Independent and Wine Enthusiast.

They’ll go quickly, Kettmann says. Only 54 cases were made.

Matt Kettmann catches up with us Wednesday mornings and afternoons on 88.7 FM in Santa Barbara. You can hear his past segments on food and wine on our website.