Rhone Varietal Wines with New World Independence

If you are in Santa Barbara, you won’t have to travel far to visit Jaffurs Wine Cellars. With its location in the heart of this lively, picturesque, ocean-side city, you can pop in for a glass of Grenache after hitting the boutiques or before a crawl through the neighborhood’s many bars, restaurants and craft breweries. However, because Jaffurs is a full-on winery and not just a city tasting room, you may also get to see grapes being crushed, tanks racked, or pallets of wine moved around on forklifts.

Discovering that his passion for wine surpassed mere drinking and collecting, Craig Jaffurs left a comfy job in the aerospace industry to apprentice in the cellar of Santa Barbara Winery for several years, before taking the plunge and starting his own winery. In 1994, Jaffurs released his first commercial vintage. At that time, Santa Barbara winegrowers had begun to embrace the region’s cool climate (as well as the market post-Sideways) and embarked on massive plantings of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. But Jaffurs had a hunch that the region held as much promise for grapes of the Rhone Valley as it did for those of Bourgogne. Hence, Jaffurs Cellars dedicated themselves to Syrah, Grenache, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Viognier, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc. 

While Jaffurs does not own any vineyards, the winery has developed close relationships with growers in Santa Ynez, Ballard Canyon, Santa Rita, Los Alamos, and Santa Maria growing regions. Some stand-out vineyards providing fruit for Jaffurs’s wines include the Thompson, Bien Nacido, Larner, Kimsey, and Stolpman vineyards. The wines are produced in small lots at the Santa Barbara facility, where total production rarely exceeds 5,000 cases per year. Recently retired, Craig Jaffurs is an advisor to current owners Dan and Janelle Green, who carry on the tradition of running Jaffurs Cellar as a family-owned producer of some of the best Rhone-style wines along the Central Coast. 

Wine Maker

Stephen Searle





Wines from this Winery

JAFFURS Viognier Bien Nacido Vineyard

Highly regarded for vibrant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Barbara produces awesome Viognier as well. Because of the cool climate, the fruit was ripe at harvest but also high in acidity. Winemaking focused on maintaining freshness and pure fruit flavors by aging in neutral oak and limiting malolactic fermentation to 50%. Jaffurs Bien Nacido Viognier impresses with the opulent aromatics one expects from the variety but also a palate that’s lithe and fresh and never overpowering. Jeb Dunnuck called it “just a great example of the variety, the 2021 Viognier Bien Nacido Vineyard is all varietal (with) bright citrus and tart peach fruits to go with a medium-bodied, vibrant, fresh, yet still classic Viognier style on the palate that brings both richness and freshness. It's one of the best examples of the variety from California.”

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¥5,500 (incl. tax)

“State Street” is the winery’s new label for an appellation Central Coast blend. Bright purple in color, it offers fresh aromas of blueberries, blackberries, violets, and hints of black pepper. The palate is refreshing and polished with a firm tannic grip framing the flavors of black fruits, cloves, and cinnamon. Should be great with burgers, spare ribs, grilled veggies, or Mexican dishes. 

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¥4,400 (incl. tax)
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