Rusack Vineyards Santa Ynez Valley
The Rusacks produce a good small range of reds and whites from across Santa Barbara County. As well as the three main varietals of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah they also produce Sauvignon Blanc, a Bordeaux blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc called Anacapa, Zinfandel and Sangiovese, all from Santa Ynez fruit. Then there’s a rosé from Syrah and Pinot Noir. The three Santa Barbara County labelled wines rated below offer good varietal character and are softer and more accessible than the Reserve bottlings. Pinot Noir also comes in a Santa Maria Valley bottling. The Santa Maria Reserve Chardonnay is aged in nearly all new wood and gets 9 months ageing as does the generic bottling. It is tighter, more structured with less obvious fruit than the regular Santa Barbara wine. Both wines go through around 50% malolactic to both preserve acidity and add weight and texture. The Reserve Pinot Noir is sourced from cooler Sta. Rita Hills fruit, including the Huber, Fiddlestix and Rancho Santa Rosa vineyards. Both Pinot Noirs are given a cold soak and aged in French oak (around onethird new). The Reserve is much the more backward of the two with dark and intense mineral fruit slowly opening out on the palate. Syrah from Santa Barbara County is supple and forward, the Ballard Canyon Reserve darker, loaded with spicy black pepper fruit and rounded out by well chiselled tannins. Both are given a cold soak and the Ballard Canyon sees a touch more new wood although this is very well integrated. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Zinfandel are also now being released from the Santa Catalina Island Vineyards the Rusacks have established on the small island just to the south west of Los Angeles. The top two reds covered will benefit from four or five years, particularly the Syrah. (DM)
To find out more about Rusack Vineyards and their wines, and to see how we reviewed and rated their wines you can check out the Wine Guide California Central Coast..
Or indeed you can check out the new extensively updated 9th edition Wine Behind the Label Wine Guide that is 2250 pages, it reviews around 4000 vineyards and over 30,000 wines.