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Below is the September, 2006 Featured Wine for the Wines by Jennifer Cellar Club:

2003 Zaca Mesa

"Z Three"

Santa Barbara County, California

2003 Zaca Mesa "Z Three" The Zaca Mesa vineyard was originally planted in 1973 with numerous varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Chardonnay, and Syrah.

Zaca Mesa was one of the first wineries established in Santa Barbara County since the days of Prohibition. As the vineyard grew and viable production began, a winery was built on the estate in 1978 and later expanded in 1981.

Located in the northernmost portion of the Santa Ynez Valley AVA within Santa Barbara County, the estate is only 30 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Unlike most parts of the California coast, these valleys orient east-west, thus opening directly to the cooling marine influences that include morning fog and afternoon breezes, making their vineyard a unique site for growing grapes.

The owners determined that the Rhône Valley varietals of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Viognier, and Roussanne grow the best on their site. They then made the logical decision to focus exclusively on these grapes varieties.

This special blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Grenache represents the best of the Zaca Mesa vineyards, while capturing the individual characteristic of each grape variety. The grapes were hand harvested, fermented and barrel aged separately for seven months, then combined and aged for an additional 12 months in French oak barrels.

Each grape variety adds its own personality: Syrah adds flavors of blackberry and ripe tannins; Mourvèdre brings notes of blueberry and full mouth-feel; and Grenache adds lush raspberry liqueur flavors. These rich layers of flavor create a wine greater than the sum of its parts and enable it to be enjoyed now or cellar for five to seven years.

In 2002, the Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers developed and published a Code of Sustainable Winegrowing. The overarching sustainability principles are “winegrowing and winemaking practices that are sensitive to the environment, responsive to the needs and interests of society-at-large, and economically feasible to implement and maintain.” It is a voluntary code, but Zaca Mesa has embraced the code in their winegrowing to ensure the health and sustainability of their vineyard, employees, neighbors and environment.

What They're Saying:

"The outstanding 2003 Z Three (52% Syrah, 46% Mourvedre, and 2% Grenache) is a seductive, full-bodied, fleshy red boasting a deep ruby/purple color as well as aromas of blackberries, cherries, tar, earth, and underbrush. It is a layered, nuanced, rich, seamless effort to drink now and over the next 5-7 years." 90 Points. Robert Parker, August 2006.

"Bright and keenly focused elements of ripe raspberries are met in the nose here with touches of black pepper, game and a hint of stony soils, and each is replayed in the wine's lively and well-concentrated flavors. If quite full on the palate, the wine is not at all heavy or given to overripeness, and it is at once both silky and supple in feel. It will keep by virtue of its structure and depth rather than by its nominal tannins, and, as wholly enjoyable as it is now, it should grow for several years yet." 2-puffs, 92 Points. Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine, July 2006.

"A complex array of aromas introduce this syrah-mourvedre-grenache blend: warm scents of chaparral; smoky mineral notes, like gun-powder; and red cherry, blueberry and black currant notes, which all meld in layers of flavor. Oak enriches the wine, refining the tannins and focusing the flavor on quail stuffed with morels." 93 points. Wine & Spirits Magazine, June 2006

Santa Barbara County Wine Map


Wines by Jennifer recently had the pleasure of hosting Celeste Bernard, Sales and Marketing Manager for Zaca Mesa Winery. Here's what she had to say:

Hello Jennifer,

It was a pleasure to meet you last week and thank you for supporting Zaca Mesa Wines.

You have a beautiful and most unique shop. We are thrilled to be in it.

Please let us know if you make it out to Santa Barbara. We would love to show you around and lunch amongst the vines.

Kind Regards,


Thanks for the kind words, Celeste. Sounds like a trip to Santa Barbara may be in order!



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