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Wisdom of the Flying Goat

Winemaker Norman Yost Hosts Holiday Open House in Lompoc Wine Ghetto


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

With Christmas just around the corner, Flying Goat Cellars will be hosting a “Holiday Open House” at their tasting room in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto, specifically at 1520 East Chestnut Court. Join the festivities on December 3 and 4, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., by treating yourself to delicious appetizers while tasting both current and library wines, and don’t forget Saturday’s performance by the So What Kombo, from 2 to 4 p.m. There will also be an installation at the tasting room by Santa Barbara-based photographer Fran Collin.

Kate Griffith and Norm Yost toasting the sparkling Pinot Noir called Goat Bubbles Rosé, from Solomon Hills Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley AVA.
Click to enlarge photo

Fran Collin

Kate Griffith and Norm Yost toasting the sparkling Pinot Noir called Goat Bubbles Rosé, from Solomon Hills Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley AVA.

Recently, The Independent had a chance to catch up with Norman Yost, the owner of Flying Goat Cellars, and he answered a few of our questions about his wines.

What sets your pinot noir apart from others?

By producing premium pinot noir handcrafted in small quantities, I have the ability to express what I feel is the true terroir of each vineyard site. The unique flavor profiles that emerge from these vineyards offer a wide spectrum of choices for the discriminating palate. That is why we specialize in vineyard designated pinot noirs, featuring seven different vineyards in Santa Barbara County and one in San Luis Obispo County.

Why only focus on pinot noir?

As owner and winemaker of Flying Goat Cellars, I have the flexibility to follow my true passion, which is handcrafting and drinking fine pinot noir and sparkling wine. Producing a luscious pinot noir and an elegant bottle of bubbles stimulates my creative juices. The nuances, complexities, and subtleties expressed by the grape entice me.

You’ve been using Sta. Rita Hills fruit for a while. What made you know it was special early on?

My first introduction to tasting the wines from Sta. Rita Hills was while working at Foley Estate Vineyard & Winery in 2000. The wow-factor in the first bottle of Sanford & Benedict that I tried opened my eyes to the excitement of the AVA. In 2002, I worked with the fruit from Foley’s Ranch Santa Rosa Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA and was able to source the fruit for Flying Goat Cellars third vintage.

You are a Lompoc Ghetto veteran. Why is that zone so special?

Because when I left Foley in 2004, I segued into the incubator environment of Presidio Winery. Presidio was a custom crush facility within the Ghetto with over 10 different custom crush clients working within its premises. Kathy Joseph from Fiddlehead, Norm Huber from Huber Cellars, and others have also worked within Presidio, where we all had an opportunity to grow and later move on. Our neighbors were Sea Smoke, Brewer-Clifton, and Palmina and we all felt a sense of camaraderie, such as sharing equipment, breaking bread, and drinking wine. Now the clustering of 15 tasting rooms in the Ghetto has added another dimension to Lompoc and made it a wine tasting destination.

Your event features a pinot-specific glass giveaway. How do they make glasses specific for a certain wine?

Professor Claus Riedel was the first to research and develop wine glasses that enhance the flavors and aromas of pinot noir, as well other varietals. He learned that bouquet, taste, balance, and finish are affected by the shape of the glass from which the wines are drunk. Our Flying Goat Logo Glass is the shape and design of the Riedel Pinot/Nebbiolo glass.

Which Pinot Noir would you recommend to go along with the Christmas dinner?

I recommend all Christmas dinners begin with our 2009 Goat Bubbles Rose, followed by 2007 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills with turkey or 2007 Rio Vista Vineyard Dijon with prime rib or lamb. For the vegetarians, the 2007 Rio Vista Vineyard Clone 2A would go well with chanterelles and gnocchi.

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Flying Goat Cellars’ “Holiday Open House” goes down Saturday and Sunday, December 3 and 4, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto, 1520 East Chestnut Court. The $15 tasting fee includes a Flying Goat Logo Glass specially designed for pinot noir. There will also be music on Saturdsay by So What Kombo, 2-4 p.m., as well as a photography exhibit by Fran Collin. See flyinggoatcellars.com.

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