Los Alisos Winery

California's secret source for world class wines



Looking for expressive wines that are still real values? Check out Santa Barbara County, a super source of great wines among in-the-know wine lovers! While lots of attention has been focused on the Santa Maria Valley and the Sta Rita Hills, one of the true up and coming spots has remained a secret, until now.

The Los Alamos Valley, just a few miles north of Santa Barbara, and a mere 20 miles from the sea, is not only blessed with a near perfect climate, but it even has soils that would make almost any winemaker green with envy. The sandy soils of the Los Alamos Valley share one thing with many of the greatest vineyards on earth: limestone. That limestone substrate makes for elegant, precise wines; just the style that Los Alisos Winery set out to produce at prices that make their wines affordable luxuries.

Sourcing fruit from three distinct locations in the Los Alamos Valley, the Los Alisos Winery takes full advantage of the ideal growing conditions that the east/west alignment of the valley creates. With the cool air flow from the Pacific moderating daily temperatures, and ensuring the nice cool evenings that are essential for producing ripe yet balanced wines, the climate at Los Alamos allows for the perfect ripening of many wine varieties.

A map of the Los Alamos Valley and Los Alisos Vineyards.

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The wines of Los Alisos Winery

The fruit that Los Alisos uses to produce both their Chardonnay and Syrah (the two wines they are currently producing) comes in with rich flavors, ripe tannins in the case of the Syrah, and juicy acidity that allows their winemaker, Michael Fay, to create balanced, elegant wines. The best part though, is the simple fact that the Los Alamos Valley is still a secret, so the winery is able to offer both wines for only $16 a bottle. That’s a pretty compelling value for wines of this quality!

The wines are both examples of classic Californian winemaking. The 2007 Los Alisos Chardonnay is rich and round with bright, balanced flavors of ripe pear and pineapple fruit backed by light cinnamon and spicy wood notes. It’s a nicely balanced wine, quite smooth and creamy on the palate with the light vanilla sweetness of the wood helping to center the ripe fruit.

The 2007 Los Alisos Syrah, a grape variety California has struggled with, is wonderfully fresh and balanced, which is not surprising considering that so many people are convinced that these valleys in Santa Barbara County are going to do for Syrah what Napa did for Cabernet! Packed with ripe plum and black berry fruit, it reveals the tell-tale black pepper and violet notes of Syrah while remaining balanced and elegant.

Both of these wines are absolutely worth trying. They represent the future of Californian winemaking. Wines from great, developing regions, regions that offer the ideal combination of soil, sun, and value that allow for the production of wines that deserve to be on one’s table any time, any place. So check out Los Alisos, give their wines a try, and let your friends know that you’ve discovered a great California wine-growing region. Or, we can just keep this our own secret!

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