Los Alamos Vineyard dates back to the early days of Santa Barbara viniculture. Planted in 1974, it was one of the first five vineyards planted in Santa Barbara County. The others include Bien Nacido, Sierra Madre, and Firestone. Only adding to its lore, Los Alamos Vineyard was the birthplace of Au Bon Climat in a humble dairy barn in 1982.
Los Alamos grows great Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris; however, the Chardonnay at the vineyard is by far the most exciting. My section of Chardonnay is found at the top of the vineyard on a exposed, western facing slope.
These vines were planted in 1997. They are younger than those in the lower section of the vineyard because Los Alamos did not start planting the difficult hillsides until much later. The endeavor has proved to be well worth it.
The soil on this exposed face is truly amazing. It has a combination of calcaric shale, sand, clay and loam. It has a vein of lime at 2.5 feet below the surface.
The wines from this site are typically full of citrus and bright stone fruit. The lime in the soil gives the wine a solid mineral backbone. Los Alamos is a very cool climate that allows the fruit to reach ripeness at low alcohol and balance. Vintage after vintage I am constantly amazed by the elegance of this site and its ability to produce great California Chardonnay.