A medium-bodied white with glints of pale gold, it offers aromas of honeydew, gooseberries and tomatillos, zesty acidity and hints of pleasant minerality.
Wine Advocate 87 points - The 2011 Sauvignon Blanc is a straightforward, grassy effort that gives up pretty white grapefruit and citrus rind qualities on the palate. Lively and juicy, with both good acidity and fruit, it’s a perfect summer quaffer meant for drinking over the coming year or two. Drink now-2014. (Aug 2013)
Alta Maria Vineyards is owned by winemaker Paul Wilkins, James Ontiveros and Sao Anash. Paul and James met while in college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and help found Vines to Wines. While still in college, Paul landed a job with renowned winemaker John Alban and worked his way to the top of the ranks. After eight years at Alban Winery, with the last few as winemaker, Paul left to consult for other wineries. Around the same time, James planted an eight acre plot of Pinot Noir on his family’s estate, Rancho Ontiveros in Santa Maria, California. Together they partnered with Sao, a former executive director of the Santa Barbara Vintner’s Association to start Alta Maria Vineyards. Alta Maria means “Higher or Heavenly Mary,” and is also the name given by James’ ancestor, Don Juan Pacifico Ontiveros to the Santa Maria River. The homage to the past continues with the wine label which features hand-hewn iron nails that were used by homesteaders before the Industrial Revolution.
|Grapes from the Santa Ynez Valley (60%) and Los Alamos Valley (40%) were tank fermented and aged for 11 months in stainless steel.
|Alta Maria Vineyards is a partnership between winemaker Paul Wilkins, James Ontiveros and Sao Anash.
Paul Wilkins and James Ontiveros were college buddies at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and were part of a small group of wine aficionados who founded a wine group, Vines to Wines. While still in college, Paul landed a job with renowned winemaker John Alban in the Edna Valley and eventually was offered an assistant winemaker position. He worked with John Alban for eight years. After graduation James worked as a grape buyer for Kendall-Jackson and later Gallo of Sonoma, an experience that allowed him to walk and learn from hundreds of vineyards all over California. James eventually became the Sales and Marketing Director for Bien Nacido Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley.
Paul left Alban Winery for winemaking consulting positions and James planted an 8 acre Pinot Noir vineyard on his family's Rancho Ontiveros. A mutual friend suggested Paul take a look at "what this guy James Ontiveros" was doing with his Pinot vineyard in Santa Maria. When Paul saw his old college friend it wasn't long before the two decided to reunite, this time to make wine. The reunion would prove to be fortuitous, bringing together Paul's expertise in winemaking and James vast knowledge of viticulture. Together they partnered with Sao Anash, former executive director of the Santa Barbara Vintner's Association and started Alta Maria Vineyards.
Alta Maria means "Higher or Heavenly Mary," referring to the name bestowed on the Santa Maria River by James' ancestor, Don Juan Pacifico Ontiveros in the 1800s. The label artwork for Alta Maria Vineyards features hand-hewn iron nails used by homesteaders before the Industrial Revolution introduced mass produced machine cut nails.