This charming Los Olivos tasting room is charming and wonderfully decorated. Ascetics aside, Alta Maria makes some lovely Pinots, making it worth the trip for several reasons.
We tried quite a few wines on our visit. Highlights were the 09 Chardonnay ($28) which was aged in a modest amount of new oak with some softness from malo fermentation. The result was a balanced Chardonnay which I love with just a hint of the oak seasoning.
They specialize in Pinot Noir, and one of the more interesting Pinots I have ever tried was their Native 9 Rancho Ontiveros Pinot ($69). It is pricey, but has a richness and body unlike any other. The stems were used when making the wine adding a tannic structure that makes this wine suitable for aging.
My favorite wine though was the Autonom Red Cuvee ($30) which is likely a function of my love for Rhone style reds. This blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre had an amazing nose and was spicy and delicious to the taste. Yum.
Downsides? None that I can think of. The wines were great and most were very reasonably priced. The ambiance is great as well.
Rating: 3 out of 4 – recommend