During my more or less ill-fated trip to Paso Robles in May (when I had a meeting with one of California’s finest, dammit), I made an all-too-brief stop at the Lompoc Wine Ghetto, and friends and I have been enjoying the bounty ever since I started opening my bottles. Now that the wines have had some time to settle down and are ready to drink, they are showing beautifully.
The first winery I visited was Cargasacchi, whose proprietor, the incredibly adorable Mark Cargasacchi, had set up a makeshift tasting room in the midst of the barrels. Like many of the other wineries in the Ghetto, his vineyards are located in what can arguably be termed the middle of nowhere, and the Ghetto has proven to be a wonderful gathering place for some of Santa Barbara’s finest.
I opened up a bottle of the 2010 Jalama-Cargasacchi Pinot Noir, and was greeted with a very Burgundian nose (is this France? Is this Oregon?) tempered with the expected California fruit. Along with the earth (dark, forest earth), I detected a bit of smoke, raspberries, blackberries, and a touch of coffee. The one thing that struck me about this wine was its amazingly gorgeous garnet color. If there was a way to set this color in a piece of jewelry, I would!
On the palate, the nose was reflected in the wine’s complexity, with supple tannins, fine minerality, and a gratifying, medium-long finish.
In a word, delicious.
I had the wine with roasted chicken thighs, a light pasta tossed with olive oil and parmesan, and a salad. Perfect pairing, and the Jalama sang with the chicken. Yeah, you heard it right. Red wine and poultry. But this is Pinot, and Pinot Noir can go places that Merlot, Cabernet, and Petit Sirah would not dare to tread.
The experiences that I’ve had with the Lompoc Ghetto Wines are telling me that when I travel to the Central Coast again, I will have to make a special trip just to the Ghetto. My checkin time for my apartment was looming and I had no time to linger and visit more of the wineries. Dammit.
Fun place and I can’t wait to go again!
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