2016 Solminer Gruner Vetliner
Region: Los Olivos < Santa Barbara County < CA
Grapes: Gruner Veltliner
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic/biodynamic farming; sandy soils; fermented and aged in stainless steel; 190 cases
Winemaker: David & Anna DeLaski
Another gem from this summer’s wine odyssey, a Gruner Veltliner from Santa Barbara County that actually takes like the real thing, with all of that bright, zippy alpine goodness. From a lovely married couple, Anna and David DeLaski, who love the crisp whites from Anna’s homeland (Austria) and decided to make a legit Cali version themselves. They bought a home in Los Olivos that came with a few acres of sad Syrah vines in the front yard, then happened to meet winemaker (and Rock Juice friend) Steve Clifton (Brewer-Clifton, Palmina, La Voix), who helped them revitalize the vineyard and plant much of it over to Austrian varieties. Their spruced up deLanda vineyard still has the old Syrah vines, plus Gruner, Blaufränkisch, and 5 rows of Muscat. From the start, David and Anna farmed the vineyard organically – they were certified in 2014 – and are now moving towards biodynamic farming. Their production is tiny (900 cases total over 9 different wines) and they do everything by hand. When we met in their Lompoc production facility, they were disgorging Pet’nat by hand and topping off bottles with a funnel – serious artisan production here. This is gorgeous, classic Gruner, with grapefruit and lime spritziness, grippy lemon-skin texture and fresh squeezed lemon juice, balanced by riper apple. It’s like biting into a cold, crisp, just-ripe pear.