92 Margerum 2011 D Sauvignon Blanc (Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara).
Dry and complex, this has flavors of Meyer lemon, fig, green grass, mineral, honey, wildflower, white pepper and a touch of smoky oak. The acidity is wonderful, providing a kick of lime-like tartness. Terrific now as an apéritif, and with a wide range of fare, especially modern Asian fusion. —S.H.
92 Margerum 2008 Purisima Mountain Vineyard Syrah (Santa Ynez Valley).
Rich and dazzling, this has a chocolate-covered cherry flavor, complexed with notes of anise, wild mushrooms, bacon and smoky sandalwood. It feels soft and velvety all the way through. Drink it now. —S.H.
Editors’ Choice—90 Margerum 2011 Sybarite Sauvignon Blanc (Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara).
A Sauvignon Blanc for drinking now, this has a pleasingly tart yet creamy mouthfeel, with rich, complex flavors of tropical fruit, lemongrass, peach and vanilla that finish in a swirl of peppery spice.—S.H.
90 Margerum 2008 Alondra de los Prados Vineyard Syrah (Santa Ynez Valley).
There is lots of cranberry tartness in this Syrah, giving it a mouthwatering zinginess. You’ll also find rich, attractive flavors of raspberry and cherry jam, bacon and sandalwood flavors. It’s a good, dry selection to drink now, but give it time to breathe in a decanter or in a glass. —S.H.
90 Margerum 2008 Colson Canyon Vineyard Syrah (Santa Barbara County).
It’s hard to resist the charms of this delicious Syrah. It has brisk acids and tannins, yet it’s curiously soft on the palate, with rich, exotically sweet flavors of black currants, dark chocolate, bacon and plum sauce. —S.H.
Editors’ Choice—89 Margerum 2011 Chenin Blanc (Santa Ynez Valley).
Clean and crisp, this has interesting flavors suggestive of green apples, lemons, limes and spices. Although it’s dry, the alcohol level is modest. —S.H.
Editors’ Choice—88 Margerum 2011 Klickitat Pinot Gris (America).
Made from fruit grown in Washington State but vinified in California, this is a delicious, lively white wine. It’s dry and brisk in acidity, with orange, lime, Asian pear, honeysuckle and white pepper flavors.. —S.H.
92 Happy Canyon Vineyard 2007 Barrack Brand Merlot (Santa Ynez Valley).
Made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grown in the warm Happy Canyon region of the valley, this shows the greatness of the 2007 vintage. It’s ready to drink, bearing soft, gentle tannins that frame flavors of blackberry and cherry jam, chocolate, vanilla and sweet, smoky oak. —S.H.
92 Happy Canyon Vineyard 2007 Barrack Ten-Goal Cabernet Sauvignon (Santa Ynez Valley).
One of the best Cabs to hail from the Happy Canyon region, this wine shows the promise of this warmer area of the valley. It’s deliriously rich and delicious, offering wave after wave of raspberry and cherry pie filling, chocolate and sweet oak flavors. The acids and tannins make it a joy to drink now. —S.H.
90 Happy Canyon Vineyard 2009 Piocho Reserve (Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara).
This is complex and rich in blackberry and cherry jam, dark chocolate, anise and sandalwood flavors. The acid-tannin structure is especially noteworthy, giving it a firm, elegant mouthfeel. Ready to drink now. —S.H.
87 Happy Canyon Vineyard 2010 Merlot (Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara).
A blend containing the major Bordeaux varieties, this has lots of acidity and tannins, plus flavors of sweet cherries, blackberries and pepper. Drink now with robust fare, like Santa Maria barbecue. —S.H.