"It Was A Very Good Year" for Happy Canyon Petit Verdot from Martellotto Winery

"It Was A Very Good Year" for Happy Canyon Petit Verdot from Martellotto Winery

Buellton, CA (July 3, 2019) – Martellotto Winery’s inaugural vintage of “It Was A Very Good Year” Petit Verdot was recently released. This wine comes from the Happy Canyon AVA in Santa Barbara, CA.

The name is “a bit tongue in cheek, but totally appropriate for our first ever release of a limited production Petit Verdot,” says Greg Martellotto. “I'm a jazz and Frank Sinatra fan and such a stellar song deserves an equally fantastic wine." 

The wine is 80% Petit Verdot and 20% Malbec, so it is dark as night, yet savory and full of crunchy blueberries and blackberries. It's a young wine that drinks well and will age well over the next 3-8 years.

About Happy Canyon AVA

Happy Canyon is the perfect place for Bordeaux varietals, such as Petit Verdot and Malbec, in California’s Central Coast. Wines from the grapes in this AVA compete alongside the best from Napa and Sonoma.

“I knew Happy Canyon was special for Bordeaux varietals,” says Greg, “and with my love of wines from Bordeaux, I knew I had to make my own wine from Happy Canyon grapes.”

The unique geography here makes these wines special. The elevation is higher here than elsewhere in Santa Barbara county. Plus, the rare intersection of the Santa Ynez and the San Rafael mountain ranges provides a unique microclimate.

This mountain intersection is perpendicular to the Santa Ynez Valley which runs east from the Pacific Ocean. This unique geography creates an air current that channels the cool marine air into the canyon early in the day with fog moving in later in the day. Warm days and cool nights allow for a diurnal shift that is ideal for perfectly ripe Bordeaux varietals. These high-elevation grapes ripen well in the warm air that is trapped in the canyon mid-day and cool down at night which preserves acidity. 

About the Wine

In the hands of the right producer, wines made from Petit Verdot are high-quality, dry, and full-bodied and with a satisfying finish. They exhibit elegance, freshness, and balance. 

This wine has a deep purple color and releases aromas of plums and blackberries along with violets, lavender and sage. 

After 18 months in 20% new oak, the wine exhibits graphite, cedar and tobacco, traditional Bordeaux characteristics. Black cherry and blueberry married with balanced notes of vanilla and toasted oak round out the palate

Pair it with grilled or roasted meats and eggplant, or other robust and savory dishes. If you prefer cheeses, try strong hard cheeses or mellow blue cheeses.

About Martellotto Winery

Set deep in the heart of Santa Barbara wine country, Martellotto Winery makes handcrafted, beautiful and exciting wines using specially selected grapes from across California’s Central Coast. American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) include Happy Canyon AVA, Sta. Rita Hills AVA, Santa Ynez Valley AVA, and Santa Maria Valley AVA. Owner and winemaker, Greg Martellotto, specializes in Bordeaux varietals. Martellotto Winery is one of the few wineries producing single varietal wines of all five of the noble Bordeaux grapes: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec.


Greg Martellotto, Owner            

Martellotto Winery

(619) 567-9244

Martellotto Winery Invites You to Get Happy with Santa Barbara County Cabernet!

Martellotto Winery Invites You to Get Happy with Santa Barbara County Cabernet!

Winemakers Celebrate 10 Years of Wine Joy in Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara County

While winemakers have had much success in Santa Barbara County with pinot noir and chardonnay, those making wine from the vineyards of Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara are having their own success.

This small AVA (the smallest of Santa Barbara County) has gathered many accolades for its cabernet sauvignon and Bordeaux blends since the AVA was formally approved in 2009. 

Greg Martellotto, whose Martellotto Winery produces several Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara wines, says “10 years on, a small number of producers are very happy indeed.”

Martellotto Winery Santa Barbara County Cabernet Sauvignon

Bordeaux Varieties Thrive in this Happy Place

What makes this area different from the rest of Santa Barbara County? Here Bordeaux grape varieties thrive, especially cabernet sauvignon. The location, climate, elevation, aspect, and soils are unique in the County and are perfect for these grape varieties.

Happy Canyon lies in the easternmost part of Santa Barbara County (about 12 miles from the coast) and is the furthest inland. It also sits at higher elevation than elsewhere in the county.

This area is unusual because of a rare intersection of mountain ranges, The Santa Ynez mountain range runs from the Pacific coast to the east. The San Rafael mountain range, on the eastern edge of the county, runs north to south. 

What this creates is a channel in-between the two ranges for the cool marine currents and fog to move into the canyon early and late in the day. During the summer, warmer air gets trapped in the canyon keeping it hot and dry. 

This distinct geography provides for a greater temperature variation (diurnal temperature swing) between day and night than elsewhere in the county. It also provides for temperatures that are warmer than the rest of the county.

Soil types here are very poor, which is good for grapevines, and include:

  • Alluvial soils at lower elevations
  • Shale, clays and loams on steeper, well-drained slopes

The unique aspect of the soils is that there is a higher level of magnesium here than elsewhere and less sodium, aiding in nutrient uptake in the vines.

santa barbara county cabernet sauvignon vineyards

The Multi-layered Wines of Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara Wines

The Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA lies on the western flank of the San Rafael mountains, so the vineyards face south-southwest. Summer is dry and hot with strong sunlight allowing Bordeaux grape varieties to ripen. 

Other areas of Santa Barbara are too cool for these varieties, especially cabernet sauvignon, to mature properly. 

Bordeaux varieties grown here include: cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, petit verdot, and malbec. Sauvignon blanc grows well here also.

The wines here are distinct for several reasons:

  • Low yields and concentrated flavors due to gravely loam and clay soils with few nutrients
  • Deeper flavors because the grapes ripen so well here at higher elevation (like the Uco Valley of Argentina) 
  • Increased complexity because the additional flavor aspect develops before the sugars do 

Martellotto Winery Santa Barbara County Cabernet Wines

Martellotto Winery Makes the Happiest Wines Around

Wines made from Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara County fruit yield very high-quality Bordeaux style wines. Tasting these intricate wines is an experience to remember. Many of these compare to the best Bordeaux-style wines from around the world. 

There are several major vineyards in the area, but no tasting rooms and only one winery. You can try these wines in many places throughout Santa Barbara County though.

Martellotto Winery produces several Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara wines such as Riserva "Il Capoccia" and "La Bomba" Cabernet Sauvignon, both award-winning wines. He also makes “La Rosa” Rose and “My Way” Malbec from Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara fruit.

Buy the superior Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara wine from Martellotto today and get happy!