Summerland is one of those wineries that most people have never heard of. Nestled in the rolling hills of Santa Barbara County, they have been crafting outstanding wines for decades. The one thing that is most consistent here is that once people taste it, their reaction is "Where have I been?" No worries, you're here now.
Ron Hill is one of those winemakers that should be in the limelight for his accomplishments but chooses not to be. As a consulting winemaker for many established wineries, he has had his hands on more high scoring wines than most people can count. But he prefers to be what he likes to call "anonymous." His exactness is very impressive. First, the wines are picked by hand and placed in small containers, so they won't bruise during the trip to the winery. Next, they are put on a conveyer belt where watchful eyes pick out the berries that don't look right. Then finally, they get around to making the wine. All that precision is exactly why the wines are so good.
In this case that means two days of slow fermentation to bring out the full flavor of the grapes. The finished wine is placed in French and American oak barrels for 16-24 months to further their complexity, producing a wine of incredible depth. From the violets and cherries in the nose to other worldly plum, leather, and earth notes, it pleases at every turn. It pairs very well with a filet served with pink peppercorns and bearnaise sauce.