Ampelos Cellars Sta. Rita Hills
After high pressure careers in the corporate world, Rebecca and Peter Work opted for a financially less rewarding but far more satisfying lifestyle in the stunning Sta. Rita Hills. They purchased their small ranch in 1999 and the events of September 11, 2001 when they were in New York convinced them of the value of making a living from their land. Ampelos is the Greek term for vine and with ties in Greece (where they have a small holiday villa) it seemed a logical name for their new venture. A number of their wines are also branded with Greek symbols. From their small home vineyard, now farmed biodynamically, and sourcing from other carefully selected sites the Works are producing an excellent small range of Rhône and Burgundian style wines. Elegant and finely crafted they are marked more by terroir and place than by some of the more extractive techniques of a number of their neighbours. As well as their own wines they also supply a small amount of fruit to other wineries, among them JAFFURS, BREWER-CLIFTON and Samsara. There is a characterful fruit driven rosé produced solely from Syrah with a hint of pepper as well as fresh berry fruit. Viognier is cool fermented and offers an attactive mineral purity. Both should be drunk young. The Syrache is a blend of mainly Syrah and Grenache, rich and vibrant with a fine mix of dark blackberry fruit and a spicy herbal tone from the Grenache. Syrah is solely from estate fruit. An impressively rich and black pepper scented wine with a lovely piercing minerality. There are now two Pinot Noirs from estate fruit and oak-aged with 35% new wood in the ‘lambda’ and 50% in the ‘rho’. The ‘lambda’ is ripe and full of dark berry fruit with a touch of sous bois. The richer and more gamey ‘rho’ comes from a top barrel selection. An additional Pinot Noir is made from a number of sources including the Ampelos home vineyard. The estate vines are still very young and the potential is particularly good. This along with some very reasonable prices means this is a producer to keep track of. (DM)
To find out more about Ampelos Cellars and their wines, and to see how we reviewed and rated their wines you can check out the Wine Guide Central Coast and Sierra Foothills..
Or indeed you can check out the Main Guide that is 2250 pages, reviews over 4000 vineyards and over 30,000 wines here …