Elegant Single-Vineyard Wines
An early innovator in Carneros Pinot Noir, Saintsbury has been producing elegant, single-vineyard wines for 30 years. Its founders, Richard Ward and David Graves, named their winery for George Saintsbury, the famous English scholar and oenophile.
Tastings here are on the casual end of the by-appointment-only spectrum. Guests sit at tables in the outdoor patio, surrounded by gardens; the setup resembles a cafe. An attendant comes and pours wine at the individual tables but generally leaves you alone. It’s a situation designed for a languid afternoon, and many guests seem to linger impervious to time — so save Saintsbury for a day when you’re not rushing.
On one recent visit, an employee fumbled the answers to several questions about the wines. But it would have taken much more than that to detract from the overall experience, which is tranquil and scenic. Most importantly, the wines are elegant and expressive, showing a diverse range of single-vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They pair especially well with the afternoon breeze that rolls in from San Pablo Bay. –February 2017
- WHAT TO TRY: The Saintsbury wines can be lush and rich but rarely excessively so. The Sangiacomo Vineyard Chardonnay Old Wente clone is gorgeous, exploding with Maui onion, Thai spice and butterscotch. Pinot Noirs from the Pratt Vineyard and Sundawg Ridge are on the fruitier, toastier side; the nearby Lee Vineyard, by contrast, produces a woodsy, cranberry-inflected expression.