Richard Sanford has been a leading name in California winemaking for over 40 years. He was one of the first champions of organic farming as well. He has been a pioneer in almost every aspect of winemaking in California. He first planted Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the Santa Rita Hills. He returned from Vietnam and took to the hills to plant grapes. Not the typical soldier-returning-from-war story. He completely started new in almost every aspect.
The Sanford wines started to gain recognition in the 80s and by the 90s were one of the most reliable Chardonnays and Pinot Noir labels in California. To help build his winery, he took on a marketing partner as an investor and to gain access to a wider audience. When 9/11 turned the wine market upside down, the marketing partner wanted to move away from the ideals of sustainable agriculture Sanford had been built on. Sadly, Richard Sanford lost the winery and the eponymous label.
Did he pack it in and quit? No, Richard Sanford started again with Alma Rosa and organic farming principles. The La Encantada Vineyard is the culimnation of all the hard work over the years. It is one of the stunning wines that you have to think over. It is a Pinot Noir that shows what Pinot can truly be when it is done right. Every sip is just a little different. He may have lost his name, but Richard Sanford can still make wine with soul. Try it next to a Sandford label Pinot Noir. It is like watching a television instead of real life. It lacks depth and that earthy quality that makes Pinot Noir special.
We carry several Alma Rosa wines at the ENO on Michigan Avenue, including the La Encantada Pinot Noir. The Pinot Gris is poured by the glass and featured on our White Album flight. This is not the watery Pinot Grigio you see everywhere. This has depth, racing minerality, and is stunning when you find out it is a 2007 California Pinot Gris.
Grab a bottle of Alma Rosa wine and find out that a name is just a name, but a wine can be everything.