Gioia Wines

2007 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Santa Barbara County

Offer Expired:Feb 22, 2010 at 11:59 pm
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Mission Codename: A Mother’s Love

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Investigate Rumors of the exceptional wines from Gioia in Santa Barbara

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Gioia Winery

Wine Subject: 2007 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir

Winemaker: Teri Love & Jim Porter


Santa Barbara County’s Pinot Noir may have become famous by the movie Sideways, but the tradition of wine growing and winemaking dates back to the Spanish missionaries but after prohibition many of the vines disappeared. In the early 1970s vines began to reappear and in just a few years, however unlikely, the region began to develop a reputation for producing exceptional Bugundian varietals challenging Oregon and New Zealand in the production of exceptional Pinot Noir.

The Santa Maria Valley and Santa Ynez Valley where the fruit for this wine was sourced have maritime climates influenced and tempered by the Pacific Ocean and soils of sand and clay loam which suits Pinot Noir exceptionally well.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Deep and dense garnet and ruby red with color that is sustained to the very edge of the glass. A dark but clear core shows ruby red reflections when held to the light and when swirled, fast, thin legs streak down to the wine below.

Smell – Medium in intensity but with a persistent character, fruit forward aromas of red and black fruit including ripe cherries and black currents are layered over rich earthy undertones and floral violets; a hint of herbal thyme, musk and pepper emerge as you continue to explore the nose of this wine.

Feel – Rich and soft, this dry full-bodied wine is velvet smooth with plush well developed and integrated tannins and a touch of lively acidity that keeps things interesting and lingering into the finish.

Taste – Generous and warm with dense and rich cherry, ripe plum and other red and black fruits. Add to this fruit a healthy dose of earthy undertones, a touch of spice, oak, herbal and floral hints that are found on the nose.

Finish – Medium in length with soft ripe fruit leading the way and fading softly that begs for another sip.

Conclusion – The 2007 Gioia Winery Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir is a delicious and fruit forward Pinot from one of the best vintages in nearly a decade. Plush and ripe fruit on the nose and palate makes this wine extremely approachable and easy to enjoy.

Mission Report:

SUBJECTS: Winemaker, Jim Porter and Winery owner, Teri Love


CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Jim, began making wine in 1994

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Let the fruit tell the story.

TERI LOVE QUOTE: “Share the Joy, pour Gioia to welcome, accept & celebrate what life has to offer.”
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: Jim: William James Cellars 2003 Santa Barbara County Chardonnay & SBC Syrah
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: Teri: Gioia Santa Barbara County 2007 Chardonnay & SBC Pinot Noir


AGENT RED: Greetings, you two! Today marks our first-ever dual-interview! We are thrilled to be showing your Gioia wines today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

TERI & JIM: It’s our pleasure.

RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

TERI: From the very first time I opened a bottle of wine, it was in celebration of something wonderful. That became even more meaningful when my son Tyler & I traveled to Europe together. Each day was a joy, topped off with an exquisite wine.

JIM: I discovered how much I loved wine when I began wine tasting in college with friends. I knew it would become a major part of my life.

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

TERI: Jim Porter has influenced me the most. He has an extensive background in wine making, with exceptional results. That is why we make wine together.

JIM: I met a friend named Mike Barreto in 1990 when we attended Fresno State together. I became a big fan of his wine making style and I still am to this day.

RED: Who do you make wine for?

TERI: I blend the wine to have a fragrant, enticing aroma along with a brilliant color. These are the first things one notices when pouring a bit of the living earth in their wine glass. I feel that if I think the wine is beautiful & brings a smile to my lips, others will feel the same way.

JIM: I started making my own wine in my basement for myself. Friends talked me into selling it because in their opinion, it was too good to not share with the public.

RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

TERI: This 2007 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir won a silver medal at the June 2009 Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition in the Pinot Noir division. The fruit is from Garey Ranch and Los Alamos Vineyards in Santa Maria. The rich body has muted undertones of lavender & violet with a deep jeweled ruby color.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

TERI: This wine accompanies a wide variety of different types of pairings. However, since I am basically a vegetarian (I do eat some fish) I would say my favorite pairing would be with roasted winter vegetables: carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, parsnips, brilliant multi-colored beets, dried apricots, pecans, walnuts & pumpkin. Add cold pressed olive oil. Simmer on top of the stove in a large covered skillet. This can be enjoyed alone, on top of couscous, brown rice, crispy Tofu or anything else one desires. A much simpler answer: Drunken goat cheese with crispy crusty piping hot freshly made bread and herb cured black and green olives.

JIM: I think this wine is the perfect pairing with Risotto and Lamb Ragu. Start with olive oil & a vegetable mix of diced onion, celery & carrots. Add garlic, tomato puree , bay leaf, white wine,chopped sage, truffle oil, risotto and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. The full recipe comes from Leonardo of Trattoria Grappolo in Santa Ynez. Find it in his Traditional Italian Cuisine Cookbook.

RED: In your opinion, what makes the Santa Barbara region so special?

TERI: There is an earthy, organic feel to this region. Ocean air flows across this land, deep into the hills & canyons, allowing temperatures to climb at mid-day, becoming chilly over night. The balance of warm sunlight & fog cooled air, creates subtle, yet fully flavored Pinot Noir grapes, producing a world class fine wine.

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

JIM: We are experimenting with blending a super Tuscan varietal to add to the lineup of wines in Gioia’s portfolio.

RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

TERI: Teri: Wine is something that should be approached with curiosity & a sense of adventure. Each wine is unique with different qualities that attract us in so many ways. Our job is to delight in the variety of all that is available to us.There is no right or wrong way to describe what one tastes in their glass. If you like it….it’s good!
JIM: I agree 100%!

RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

TERI: One of my favorite quotes: “Some weasel took the cork out of my lunch.” – W.C. Fields

RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
TERI & JIM: Thank you for the opportunity to go on a covert mission with The Wine Spies!

What the Winery Says

Awards & Accolades:

Silver Medal – 2009 Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition

About This Wine:

Aged in 50% French oak barrels. Beautiful deep ruby color with muted undertones of lavender & violet.

The wine is comprised of two vineyards: Garey Ranch Vineyard located in Santa Maria and Los Alamos Vineyard. The grape clusters produced 158 gallons of grape juice per ton. Both blocks yielded 5.0 tons per acre.

We crushed and de-stemmed the grapes leaving 10% whole cluster. The grapes were cold soaked for 48 hours. After the must warmed to 52 degrees F, the one and one half ton bins were inoculated with RC212 cultured yeast. This strain is specific for its use in Pinot Noir for expression of varietal fruit and spice. Primary fermentation lasted seven days. The must was then pressed into 500 gallon tanks. The wine settled for two days before racking into barrels. The wine was inoculated with OENOS cultures to start the secondary malolactic fermentation. We used 40% new French Oak barrels. The wine aged in barrels for 11 months.

About The Winery:

GIOIA Italian for JOY

The inspiration for GIOIA was born from the joy my son Tyler brings to my life.

He studied abroad for a year in Florence, Italy, cherishing every second of his time there. Making the most of learning the language, traveling extensively…getting into the spirit of Italy.

GIOIA is in honor and memory of his strength, his loyalty, how fiercely he loved life, his family, his friends, animals and his ability to embrace each day with open arms.

Ty showed me by example, to enjoy a great glass of wine while appreciating a gorgeous view in a tropical locale, snow covered mountains, pounding surf, or just chillin at home.

Every moment was an occasion to be celebrated, whether traveling, racing down a ski slope, hiking with our dogs, scoring a perfect ace in tennis, smacking a golf ball, dunking a basketball, riding his bicycle for hours, working out at the gym, dining at his favorite Italian restaurants, shopping for the coolest clothes and Italian shoes, hanging with his friends, enjoying and appreciating his girlfriend….all the while, laughing at himself, never taking life too seriously.

To say he was a joy to be around is a supreme understatement.

Tyler was taken from this world, along with one of his closest childhood friends (Keith Naylor) at the age of 22 on November 12th, 2005.

He was doing another of his favorite pastimes, driving his Ducati. Keith was on the back of the bike that night. They were going to visit friends.

A motorist pulled out from a parked position on the side of the road, in front of them, with no warning. He made an illegal U-Turn across two sets of double yellow lines on the Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades, California. This act ended the lives of these beautiful, dynamic, vital, amazing young men.

My reason for sharing this tragedy, is to reach out to others. I implore everyone to welcome joy into your lives. Take nothing for granted.

Please honor and appreciate all of your relationships. Open your hearts and arms to all of your loved ones. Enjoy what life has to offer.

Share the GIOIA

LUMU (Tyler’s signature sign off) “Love U Miss U”

Tyler’s Mama – Teri Love

Technical Analysis:

Varietals: 100% Pinot Noir

Alcohol: 14.4%

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