The joy of ter­roir

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Star Lane Vine­yard, Santa Bar­bara

Star Lane Vine­yard is in Happy Canyon in Cal­i­for­nia’s Santa Bar­bara County. It covers 81ha of slopes – rang­ing be­tween 230m and 455m al­ti­tude – and was planted with Bordeaux va­ri­eties in 1998, mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, al­though some Mer­lot can be seen along the ridge, with Cabernet Franc, Mal­bec and Pe­tit Ver­dot in the fore­ground. The canyon has var­ied soil types, with silty clay loam, shale and sand­stone. The re­sult­ing wines are Cabernet Sauvignon-dom­i­nant blends, typ­i­cally dark in colour and fruit-for­ward with herba­ceous aro­mas. Star Lane is owned by the Dier­berg fam­ily, who bought dif­fer­ent vine­yards in Santa Bar­bara dur­ing the 1990s. This is their warm­est site with low rain­fall, as ev­i­denced by the golden swathes of fal­low grass­land, stretch­ing away to­wards the Santa Ynez Moun­tains. Star Lane was for­merly a ranch, host­ing Hol­ly­wood stars and for­mer US pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan.

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