Many years ago, in the predawn before we entered the wine industry, we visited the Santa Barbara area for the first time. A good friend and loyal reader of this blog had been invited by the Frass Canyon Winery--oops, we mean, Fess Parker--on a special trip to learn more about that winery's use of IBM for their Information Systems needs, and he was kind enough to invite us along. It was a very interesting journey to say the least.
Image from John Dickson's Santa Barbara Wine Guide
But now is not the time for tales of Fess Parker and his attendant Charlie's Angels. On that trip we visited a few wineries, and Zaca Mesa stands out as the most memorable. We were traveling with two dogs, and Zaca Mesa, who at the time had their own dogs, Zach and Macy, warmly welcomed our own beasts. We should say coolly welcomed, since it was about a billion degrees at the time of our visit, and the winery had a lovely stream for us to enjoy. (At another, less dog-friendly winery, our dogs took shelter in the shade underneath our car, and it took all our cajoling and pleading to get them out when it was time to leave.) Kudos to Zaca Mesa.
We have not kept up with their wines, but that fond memory was sufficient for us to recommend a visit to Zaca Mesa, when friends also traveling with a dog asked for recommendations in the area. They enjoyed their visit and brought us a bottle of the 2006 Roussanne to thank us.
A lovely gesture, if completely unnecessary. But, wow, the wine is fabulous. It has the classic Roussanne elements of beeswax, citrus rind, and herbs, and it is full-bodied enough, if not very oaky, to satisfy any Chardonnay enthusiast. This is very pleasant to sip, but it is close to being a vin de meditation, by which we mean a wine so complex and interesting that it commands all attention. Not quite, but there is a great deal going on here.
The retail price is $25, putting it at the high end of what we like to recommend here. Wine-Searcher shows it widely available for a more palatable $20. If you don't know Roussanne, this will be an exciting new white wine for you. If you do, it is a very good example of what the grape is capable of.