It’s easy to believe that you can’t score true Santa Barbara pinot for less than $30, but then along comes a pour like this Lucas & Lewellen that’s far more complex than you’d expect for its $20 price point.
Yes, like many pinots, it leads with cherry fruit, but that’s just the beginning of the rich flavor ride, with hints of tobacco and dirt (in the good wine sense of rich soil, that is). The grapes come from estate vineyards in both the Santa Maria and Los Alamos valleys, giving the wine a lovely balance.
Even with its handful of years of bottle age, it still opens up with time, so consider decanting. Enjoy with some Santa Maria tri-tip, and you’ll get a regional bonanza of flavors.