Zaca Mesa: The Marathon Tasting

Right as we arrived at Zaca Mesa, a white stretch limo pulled into the driveway with what we only could imagine was a gaggle of half drunk party-goers.  When we reached the parking lot, a full on Coach bus was sitting idle with what we only could imagine was a retirement home’s weekend trip.  Based on our imagined company, we tempered our expectations for the tasting.

Picnics, Chess, and Tasting^7

The courtyard was buzzing with people picnicking and sipping on warm spring day wines.  No one was partaking in a giant chess match, but the pieces were available if someone decided to throw down a challenge.  We headed into the tasting room and carved out a corner and started in on their 7 flight tasting.

We’ll start off by saying tasting 7 wines was a little much.  I know I was ready to move on by the 5th glass.  Zaca Mesa apparently rotates wines over the year, which makes me think they have quite a large operation if they can swap 7 wines with ease.  Sadly, none of the wines caught our attention.  Zaca Mesa mainly produces Rhone varietals, and while the Roussanne was enjoyed the most (92 points by WE), I don’t think anyone in the group took a bottle home.

I also noticed a display of sauces and cooking aids made from Zaca Mesa grapes.  I wondered if their focus is too spread out, attempting to maximize all the potential avenues of operating a winery that the miss out on a key ingredient – really friggin good wine.  Plenty of people were enjoying themselves in the tasting room, so there’s obviously some magic in their strategy.  I guess we enjoy the quieter, simpler tastings that allow us to ask questions and learn a lot.

Santa Barbara, USA

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