Simply put, Arcadian Winery scores a slam-dunk. When selected to be the official wine sponsor for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame's 2009 Reunion Dinner and Enshrinement Ceremony, Arcadian's owner, winegrower, and winemaker Joe Davis commented: "We are thrilled and honored to be among these legends of basketball."
No stranger to sports, Joe was on an athletic scholarship and working at a wine shop when he had a wine epiphany after a customer gave him a bottle of wine for the holidays. "It was the most delicious thing I had ever tasted," Joe vividly recalls. And, he says, he's spent his life ever since trying to recreate that wonderful experience. The wine? Domaine Dujac 1978 Clos de la Roche--the benchmark by which he measures all of his wines.
Joe has put in plenty of overtime--some 25 years--crafting his Burgundian-style California wines. He employs the authentic Burgundian methods when making his wines. This includes pigeage (treading down the cap of grape skins and solids to extract deeper flavors and color) in making his Pinot and fermenting it in oak barrels for up to 22 months. He manually ages his Chardonnays on the lees for 15 months. Joe is not afraid to push the envelope to get the results he's looking for: elegant wine with an even balance of fruit and mineral. That's why he always harvests early. According to Joe, American wines are fruitier and have higher sugar and alcohol contents because Americans' palates are more in tune with ketchup than mustard and vinegar, unlike their European counterparts. He prefers keeping sugars and alcohol low. (Joe thinks 13.5 percent alcohol is ideal.)
Savvy wine tourers head for the Santa Rita Hills, where Arcadian Winery's own hall of fame includes several vineyard designates for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah. Arcadian offers tastings and tours by appointment. For those unable to visit soon, there is the Arcadian website, with photos of Hall of Famers, Gran Cru Society wine club information, and a winning portfolio of wines. Joe--who personally sources grapes from the Central Coast, including Monterey, Santa Maria, and Santa Barbara counties--believes great wine is made in the vineyard.
What To Buy:
'05 Fiddlestix Pinot Noir Spicy red currant, black cherry, strawberry, bitter cherry, cracked pepper flavors $60
'05 Sleepy Hollow Pinot Noir Red cherry, white peppercorns, deep cherry, crisp orange peel $56
'05 Sleepy Hollow Chardonnay Lemon, tangerine, peach, spicy fruit $48
'04 Westerly Syrah Ripe berry fruit, herbal, peppery, soft tannins $30
805.688.8799; Fax: 805.688.8711
4457 Santa Rosa Rd, Ste 2
Lompoc, CA 93436
Tours and Tastings Available by Appointment Only
From Hwy 101 take the Santa Rosa Rd exit. Head toward Lompoc. Go approximately 12 miles. Winery is on the right.