Mallea wines out of Santa Barbara County has quickly climbed into my Top 10 wineries for excellent under $30 bottles. (The Mallea Rose of Grenache is mighty fine, too.) Erik Mallea, a prominent “vineyard guy” in Santa Barbara, is Director of Viticulture for Sanford Winery. For the Mallea brand he farms four vineyards around the town of Los Olivos. Partner and winemaker Justin Willett, mega-accomplished in his own right, further solidifies Mallea as a winery to know, buy and enjoy.

Outer Space Wines Mallea GSM wine review

The blend is 44% Grenache, 42% Syrah, 14% Mourvèdre. Of the three, only the Mourvedre is destemmed before fermentation. As mentioned, the vineyards for these grapes are around the town of Los Olivos. The wine is aged 10 months in previously used barrels.

I’m loving this wine. It has one foot in France with its black pepper and anise spice and kiss of lavender and jasmine. And one foot in California: sappy, juicy dark berries, sweet brown spices, richness, fine tannins. Super-generous. I’ve been pouring it at the wine bar to rave customer reviews.

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