Thursday, July 8, 2010

{ Boutique Winery: Blair Fox Cellars }

Last weekend, Charles, our friend Geoff and I took a trip down to the San Luis Obispo area to visit our friend Kim. Since she is from the area, we had a built in tour guide. How great is that!  We first went to Solvang and then to Los Olivos. If you have never been to Los Olivos, it is perfect for the foodie, the shopper and the wine collector. We stumbled upon Blair Fox Cellars and I instantly fell in love with the ambiance and then the wine sealed the deal.

Blair Fox Cellars are fervent about the small lot production and specialize in Rhone varietal wines. They handcraft both Syrah and Viognier from various vineyards in Santa Barbara County. The wine maker, Blair Fox is a native of Santa Barbara and earned his degree from UC Davis in Viticulture and Enology. His inspiration came from the French wine regions, Cote Rotie, L’Hermitage and Condruieu. A strong sense of knowing the terroir and understanding how it makes a difference in the quality of the wine aided him in creating outstanding wines. He earned the Andre Tchelistcheff Winemaker of the Year Award at the 2008 San Francisco International Wine competition.

The tasting room is quaint, charming, warm and welcoming. It was probably five to six hundred square feet with such an inviting vibe right when you walk in. My square footage may be off a bit. We purchased the tasting of six wines which included the etched crystal glass.

We started with the 2009 Fox Family Vineyard Vermentino, which is a white grape grown in the Liguria (Rivera) and northern Sardinia regions of Italy. Their grapes are grown on tiny, high-density planting on a rocky hillside. This wine is fermented in older French oak and stainless steel to keep the clean and crisp qualities. Aromas of gardenia, white peach and subtle lemon hues along with flavors of citrus and melon flavors. With only 40 cases produced, this is truly a special wine.

The 2007 Paradise Road Vineyard Viognier is a classic Rhone varietal and had the classic fruity and floral qualities. Wonderful wine with food or alone and completely refreshing. Our third wine as the 2008 Haylee’s Rose, which was named after one of his daughters. It is a blend of 65% Grenache Noir, 20% Counoise and 15% Syrah. This wine has lovely aromas of strawberries, watermelon, raspberries along with a crisp acidity to produce a very drinkable wine. It gave me a new appreciation for Rose whihc is becoming more popular in the wine world.

Our next three wines are all Syrah but from different vineyards. Each one had its own personality and distinctive flavors. First we experienced the 2005 Purisima Mountain Vineyard Syrah which received 90 points from Robert Parker. The grapes are punched down by hand three to four times per day for 15 days until the fermentation is complete. It is aged in 100% French Oak barrels for over twenty months and in the bottle for one year prior to being released. It was an outstanding wine with the classic flavors of Syrah.

{Top photo is Charles and Kim and bottom photo is Kim and Geoff }

The second syrah was the 2005 Paradise Road Vineyard Syrah which has a warmer climate for the grapes. The flavors are big, bold with great balance. As with the first Syrah, Robert Parker also gave this wine 90 points. I could not say at this point if I liked the first one better, since they were such different profiles – both were amazing. Our last Syrah was the 2006 Tierra Alta Vineyard Syrah and the grapes are harvested from an extremely steep hillside. It had flavors and aromas of chocolate, coffee, dark berries and cassis. A truly wonderful wine that will age beautifully for the next 5 to 7 years.

Our trip to Los Olivos was perfect and I just wish we had more time to explore this charming town. If you enjoy the Rhone varietals, this wine region is a must see designation. We joined the wine club, since the wine was so outstanding - can hardly wait for our first shipment.  I guess we will be okay for a bit, since we purchased six bottles.  I think we will open one this weekend.  Is it Friday yet? Check out the Blair Fox Cellars and I promise you will be in for a wine tasting experience that you will savor.


  1. Foodie road trips are the best, especially when wine tasting is involved! I sure miss that part of CA. Thanks for sharing a little spotlight about the wine you enjoyed.

  2. Looks like a fabulous getaway. You are spoiled living close to such places!

  3. I agree, you are definitely spoiled with such access to those types of destinations!


  4. Will visit Blair Fox Cellars next time we're up that way. Looks like the tasting room has a warm ambiance. Great post!

  5. i just discovered viognier and i love it! would you recommend the one you had in terms of being worth the $? is it available through retail at all?

  6. @Surviving Suburbia - BTW - love the name of your blog! I thought it was delicious and worth the $. If you check out the link to their site at the bottom of the post, they have an ordering sheet and a list of retail places to purchase. Another Viognier that I enjoy is from Turnbull Wine Cellars in Napa.


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