Serve chilled and pair with light summer fare such as melon gazpacho, ceviche, Thai minced chicken salad or lemon-herb linguine with shrimp.
Blend: 94% Riesling, 6% Gewürztraminer
Firestone Vineyard was founded in 1972 as the first major estate winery established in Santa Barbara County. With 260 acres of historic vineyards, Firestone lies approximately 26 miles from the Pacific Ocean in Santa Ynez Valley. The maritime winds that funnel into the valley create a climate that is exceptionally cool and extends the growing season. The East-West orientation of the valley gives it a unique viticultural advantage and the region offers a wide diversity of well-drained soil types yielding wines that are richly intense and firmly structured.
With a dry and mild climate cooled significantly by moist ocean fog and breezes, Santa Barbara County is a grape-grower’s dream. Part of the larger Central Coast appellation, Santa Barbara is home to Santa Maria Valley and Santa Ynez Valley. The conditions here provide an opportunity for nearly effortless production of high-quality cool-climate Central Coast wines. This is also the site of the 2004 film Sideways, which caused Pinot Noir’s popularity to skyrocket and brought new acclaim to the region.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the stars of Santa Barbara, producing wines marked by racy acidity. Crisp Sauvignon Blanc and savory Syrah are also important. The region is home to many young and enthusiastic winemakers eager to experiment with less common varieties including Chenin Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, Trousseau Gris, Gamay and Cabernet Franc, making it an exciting area to watch.
Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining its identity. A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, this versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Somm Secret—Given how difficult it is to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling from the label, here are some clues to find the dry ones. First, look for the world “trocken.” (“Halbtrocken” or “feinherb” mean off-dry.) Also a higher abv usually indicates a drier Riesling.