This is a strong showing for this growing region south of San Jose, which was historically home to prominent vineyards. Crushed black peppercorns, thyme and rosemary show on the nose against tart blackberry juice, with cola and a touch of blackened beef. Black currant and elderberry arise on the sip along with white-pepper spice, held together by balanced acidity and tannins. It's ripe, but far from overdone.
A fifth generation Californian originally from San Jose, Matt Kettmann covers California’s Central Coast and South Coast for the magazine. He is also the senior editor of The Santa Barbara Independent, where he’s worked since 1999, has written for the New York Times, Time Magazine, Wine Spectator, and Smithsonian, and co-founded New Noise Santa Barbara, a music festival.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.