Los Alamos Valley lies between the towns of Santa Maria and Buellton in Santa Barbara County. The area has a microclimate all its own, about ten degrees warmer than Santa Maria Valley to the north and ten degrees cooler than Santa Ynez Valley to the south, making it ideal for high quality Syrah. With relatively cool days and cold nights, the fruit from this region achieves excellent concentration and structure that positions the wines for long-term ageability.
Planted in the late 1980s, Thompson Vineyard has a well-deserved reputation for outstanding Syrah. The vineyard is planted along the slopes of Alisos Canyon in the Los Alamos Valley. Vines are planted on their own rootstock to the highly regarded Estrella clone, which was propagated in Paso Robles, reportedly from cuttings from Hermitage vineyards in the Rhone Valley. Soils are low nutrient sandy loam, which helps restrict yields and promote vineyard expression.
Watch Hill Vineyard
Planted in 2002, Watch Hill Vineyard is a relatively cool site also located in the Alisos Canyon area of Los Alamos Valley. The property consists of about 22 acres of Syrah vines planted to the newest and best Syrah clones and rootstocks. The soils are a mix of sand and clay low in nutrients, which helps keep the cluster size small and contributes to the striking dark color and rich concentration of the resulting wines.