AWG Correspondent

Epiphany Cellars Photos

Epiphany Cellars Review

Regions: Santa Barbara County, Santa Ynez Valley AVA, Los Olivos District AVA, California

Reviewed: March 2, 2013 by
Published: March 22, 2013

The center of Los Olivos is an old town, not much more than an intersection, with the longest section about the length of a football field. Packed into this tiny town are about a dozen tasting rooms, a smattering of small inns, and a few restaurants worth visiting. You can easily stay here, eat here, drink here, and never walk more than 100 yards in any direction. It's perfect for a lounging romantic getaway, a writer's escape, or a quick wine holiday from any of the major cities in California.

About three hours from Los Angeles, three and a half hours from San Francisco, inland and north from Santa Barbara only 20 minutes... this is almost dead center California. It's also a great launch pad for you if you plan to investigate the vineyards of Foxen Canyon, where you'll find Fess Parker Family Winery and Vineyards, among other heavyweights. But don't miss tasting room row in Los Olivos, where you'll find Epiphany Wines, the boutique label by Eli Parker, son of Fess.

The beautiful old housefront conjures visions of pies cooling in window sills and rocking chairs ushering stories of a bygone, simpler era. Entering the small tasting room, I felt a sense of cozy comfort as I sidled up into the warm track lighting above the symmetric standing bar. The atmosphere supports a community feeling, where everyone's welcome and there's something for everybody.

The personalities around the room were charming, including the pourer, who welcomed us calmly and provided a running commentary with ease. At one point, a woman across the bar casually said she would love to try the Petite Syrah with some dark chocolate - at which point the pourer presented a bowl of dark chocolate nibs to the room's great delight. I don't know if this always happens, but just in case, you might want to try this approach yourself. You might be tempted to buy some of the chocolate (auspiciously dubbed Wine Lovers' Chocolate), but it's not a requirement.

Not that you need chocolate to enjoy this wine - it stands alone quite well. For $10 I got 6 pours and enjoyed them all. While different than the Fess Parker wines in their more modern marketing and varietal choice, the Epiphany wines are clearly related in quality.

The tasting kicked off with the 2011 Inspiration from Santa Barbara County. This Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier blend showed mild oak (10 months in older French barrels), a nice balance of medium acidity, and great citrus throughout. The 'annes showed their flower aromas on the nose, while the Grenache Blanc brought honey to the party, and Viognier clearly stabilized the finish with white petals and chalkstone. This was a nice opening pour, leading into the 2010 Roussanne from Camp 4 Vineyard.

I'm learning that Camp 4 means "good," the more I taste its juice. This Roussanne was all wildflowers on the nose, with a vanilla/orange caramel creme on the palate. It maintained bright acids with light to medium mouthfeel that dissipated refreshingly. It holds up against any of the Roussannes I've tasted in Santa Barbara County, and I could easily see myself drinking this on a nearby porch swing while taking in a sunset.

Next up are the reds, beginning with the 2009 Gypsy. This Rhone blend is Grenache, Mourvedre, Counoise, Cinsault, aged 22 months in the barrel, and imparting a nice medium bodied archetypal Rhone. The vanilla, caramel, and red fruit up front are stable and enjoyable. I could drink Rhone with every meal, and this could slide effortlessly into my rotation.

We then proceed to the 2009 single estate Syrah from Hampton Vineyard. Hand punched and laid on the skins for 12 days before meeting 50% new French and American oak, this wine has big tannins, black cherry, vanilla, and layers of black tea spices among an oak canvas. I enjoy it, it's solid wine, and it will soften up with 5-7 more years in a bottle, I reckon.

The 2008 Petite Syrah is up next, and it is beautiful. Full disclosure, I'm in love with Petite Syrahs right now. This is one example of why. This pour will light you up if you like cocoa, black pepper, and espresso. It's luscious without being particularly fruit forward (to my taste). This is the point in the tasting where you want to make sure you've got chocolate handy - it will make your tasting feel a bit lavish... and isn't that the point?

The tasting finishes strong with the 2009 Revelation. This 51% Grenache, 49% Syrah gives solid spice, a gorgeous ruby color, and the kind of big mouthfeel you might expect from a Rotie-style wine. It's got 53% new French oak to complement the natural tannins, adding in bites of vanilla with the velvety cranberry raisin to give an overall pleasant finish that bookends the tasting with clear resolve. I enjoyed the whole experience and would gladly revisit if I find myself near Los Olivos again.

The tasting room may be moving across the street to get a yard and a brick pizza oven... which will make the food situation in Los Olivos more enticing all around. The wine club is very cool - giving lots of experiential opportunities to see the production process, taste verticals, and pair up with the Fess Parker winery grounds for big events. If you live nearby, this is definitely one of the wine clubs I'd choose.

Stay in Los Olivos, Solvang, or Santa Barbara, and make a solid afternoon of tasting room row where you’re destined to find an Epiphany experience of your own.

Address & Contact Information: 2970 Grand Avenue Los Olivos, California 93441. Telephone: 866-354-9463, email:, website: Tasting Hours: 11:30-5:30.

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