After visiting Melville, Saarloos and Sons, and eating lunch my third and final stop on the second day of my road trip was at Lafond Winery and Vineyards in Buelton, which is just down the road from Sandford and Alma Rosa which I visited last year.
Lafond Winery is the namesake of Pierre Lafond who also founded Santa Barbara Winery in 1962, the first post-Prohibition winery in the county. In 1998 he then went on to build Lafond Winery along with his son David Lafond.
The tasting room features large windows allowing views into the barrel room as well as the indoor and outdoor production areas providing visitors a peak of the winemaking process. Behind the winery is a large grassy lawn with picnic tables from which visitors can view the beautiful vineyards and rolling hills.
The winery focuses on Burgundian and Rhone varietals, namely Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. For a $5 tasting fee I sampled the following wines:
My first pour was the 2010 (SRH) Santa Rita Hills Riesling. This wine displays aromas of green apples and melon rind. On the palate it is crisp with good acidity and has a medium length finish. This wine sells for $20 a bottle.
My second wine was the 2007 Lafond Vineyard Chardonnay. This wine is 100% barrel fermented and underwent full malolactic fermentation. On the nose I picked up dried peaches, butterscotch, caramel, hazelnut and a hint of popcorn. A really well made wine for $38 a bottle.
The third pour was the 2007 Arita Hills Pinot Noir. This is a vibrant and expressive Pinot with layers of cherries, root beer, sarsaparilla, cinnamon stick and spice. On the palate it has refined supple tannins, good acidity and a medium length finish. A really nice Pinot for $34 a bottle.
The fourth pour was the 2009 Santa Rita Hills Syrah. This wine is inky purple and stains the glass when swirled. On the nose I picked up blackberries, dried herbs, anise and a touch of black pepper. On the palate it is dry but fruit driven, medium+ bodied with a medium length finish. A really nice wine for $23 a bottle.
My final wine was my favorite in the line-up, 2010 Verna’s Estate Syrah – Sta. Rita Hills. Sometimes Syrahs can be fruit-pepper driven, others have a fruit-herbs profile. Then there are those that are meaty with a fruit-smoke-bacon character under layers of fruit, pepper and spice. Those are my favorite and this is a great one! This is the type of Syrah that I can enjoy just smelling. It is like eating blackberries while sniffing charred ribs on the back yard barbeque or sizzling bacon on a frying pan. This wine sells for $40 and I took one home to share with friends.
To visit or for more information:
Lafond Winery and Vineyards
6855 Santa Rosa Road
Buellton, CA 93427
Open 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. every day