Robert Louis Stevenson penned the famous line that "wine is bottled poetry", inferring that just as a great poem has the power to engage and change us, so too does an exceptional wine. Early on in my vinous education this level of exhilaration occurred quite frequently, but the more I tasted and traveled the rarer those moments became, and usually were attached to a hefty per-bottle price tag. Luckily for my palate (and my wallet) I was introduced to the magical purity and seductiveness of the top Cru Beaujolais, whose wines continue to captivate, inspire and alter my perception of what fine wine can be.
There are many synonyms of 'Happy' that feel quite appropriate when describing the wines coming out the Happy Canyon AVA (American Viticultural Area), a tiny wine-growing region located in the easternmost part of the Santa Ynez Valley. About an hour northwest of Santa Barbara, it's one of the newest and most exciting areas recognized by the California AVA system. Currently there are only six major vineyards and two wineries within its boundaries, all producing top-quality Bordeaux varieties that are quickly gaining acclaim. The excitement over Happy Canyon relates to its unique warmer microclimate compared to the rest of Santa Barbara County, coupled with high-magnesium serpentine-laced soil.
Ryme Vermentino Hers Las Brisas Vineyard 2013 Similar in style to the greats from Sardinia or Liguria, this Vermentino has freshness and energy, driven by a stony, saline minerality. An excellent partner for grilled octopus with lemon and olive oil.