Cambria Element Pinot Noir
If you want to find out how hearty a Santa Maria Valley pinot noir can be, pop this bottle (though you might want to wait a few years, so be sure to decant if you drink now). This wine comes from old vines (by Santa Barbara County standards — they were planted in the 1970s), and it gets pumped up with 11 months in 39 percent new French oak (hence that need for some bottle age). But that formula all adds up to rich deliciousness. It begins with a very powerful nose, with some of that oak but oodles of dark fruit, and the cherry and blueberry keep coming when you sip, augmented by lovely notes of tobacco and earth. No doubt this would be perfect with some Santa Maria tri-tip.