Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bridlewood Winery in Santa Ynez Valley

While the thoroughbreds are racing at Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby is not far from the hearts of those around Bridlewood Estate Winery in Santa Ynez Valley. Here in California, wine country and horse country are perfectly merged. Bridlewood Winery was originally an Arabian horse ranch and in the 1980’s was Santa Barbara County’s premier equine rehabilitation center. In 1998 the beautiful mission-style ranch was converted into a modern state-of-the-art winery. Forty acres of the lushly landscaped 105-acre estate were planted in Syrah and Viognier.

Bridlewood continues to be a working horse ranch. The original mission-style architecture, horse paddocks, and lakes encircled by a race track give Bridlewood its unique character grounded in Santa Ynez Valley wine and horse country culture. Visitors can tour the estate in a horse-drawn carriage, picnic beside their courtyard fountain and sip wine on the terrace overlooking the active training track.

The original 28,000 square-foot barn has retained its Spanish mission-style exterior, but enter through those barn-style doors and you arrive at a world-class winery brimming with modern winemaking equipment and talent. Winemaker David Hopkins has a passion for Syrah. With 25 years of winemaking experience in California, David knows what it takes to make great wine. With this experience, David states, “Along the way I learned that great wine begins in the vineyard and that the Central Coast is hands-down the best place to grow Syrah”. David makes the kind of wine made famous by the great winemakers of the Rhone River Valley in France, with depth and complexity with lots of color, flavor and body.

Bridlewood Estate Syrah absolutely shows the beauty of the Estate’s terrior and is David’s proud baby. Each grape is harvested under winemaker’s David Hopkins’ direction and de-stemmed without crushing. The wine is gently pressed using a basket press, and after settling for 72 hours, the wine is racked to a mixture of French oak barrels and allowed to age for 24 months. The result is a wine that slowly emerges with hints of vanilla and cocoa that gives way to dark floral accents. This wine should be decanted and allowed to breathe before drinking. The dark fruity flavors including black cherry, cassis and licorice flavors with a touch of mocha and dark chocolate provide a deep, mouth filling experience.

Bridlewood Reserve Viognier is a result of blending from six vineyards around the Central Coast that were specifically selected by David for their own unique terroir. Aromas of honeysuckle, orange blossom and tropical fruits draw you on to flavors that are a blend o mango, peach and grapefruit. The moderate acidity and full fruit flavors make this a perfect wine to pair with seafood.

For more info: Bridlewood Estate Winery

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