Pietra Santa Winery: One of California's Best-Kept Secrets
on 15/09/10 at 4:38 pmWine
Pietra Santa (Italian for “Sacred Stone”) was originally planted to wine grapes in 1850(!) by Frenchman Theophile Vache, for whom the winery’s lovely Merlot/Cab blend, “Vache” is named. The La Cienega Valley lies along the San Andreas fault (which may be one reason you haven’t heard of ‘em), on one of California’s most pastoral and ethereal chunks of landscape. It’s a place of lambent sunsets and ocean mists and has a Brigadoon-ish quality that casts a haunting charm. The days are warm but not blistering and the nights get cool and foggy – a near-ideal climate for growing interesting, complex grapes.
I’ve been a fan of the brand since 1994, when a bottle of their addicitve “Sassolino” blend found its way into my hands. It was one of California’s very first – and best – Super-Tuscan-style blends long before the term had gained any traction outside Italy. Sangiovese, Cabernet, and Merlot remains the usual formula in Tuscany and Pietra Santa’s own vineyards, most of which qualify for “Ancient Vines” status, were producing quality wines in all three varietals.