Carr Vineyards & Winery

Owner(s) Jessica Carr, Ryan Carr
Web site www.carrwinery.com
 
Link to this site
Carr Vineyards & Winery

There are some wineries that just exude class and when you visit the Carr website or look at their handsomely appointed wine bottles, you understand the people behind the wines are talented. The winery is located in a 1940s Ouonset Hut in downtown Santa Barbara, but the wines are rooted in Santa Barbara County wine country soil.

Carr Vineyards is also a vineyard management and development company that currently supervises over 100 acres of vineyards spanning the entire Santa Barbara County. Ryan Carr is the man in charge and he insures that the grapes for his wines are grown to his exact specifications. He wears many hats as the owner, winemaker, and grower for Carr Vineyards & Winery. The winery's first vintage was 1999 produced in Carr's home garage. Today, the Carr Winery produces 4,000 cases of multiple varietals including Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Syrah and Cabernet Franc. In addition, the winery has popular premium keg wines as well, bringing total production to about 6,000 equivalent cases. The winery's focus is on the Sta. Rita Hills viticultural appellation.

Ryan Carr's full story is quite interesting. He had only a casual interest in wine while an art student at the University of Arizona. His parents had moved to Santa Barbara County and his father had developed an interest in the local wines. He regularly sent Ryan bottles of wine to spur his interest and the plan worked. Carr's parents purchased land in the Santa Ynez Valley for Ryan to manage and possible start a vineyard but the family did not have the capital to follow through with planting and the property was sold. Along the way, Carr had fallen in love with the wine industry.

Carr helped out a number of winemakers and began to spend time working for a vineyard manager. In 1999, one of the vineyards Carr was working had some excess fruit on the vine and it was offered to Carr. He took the grapes to his house and crushed it in a garbage can. He used his art and graphic design background to create an attractive label and his friends loved the wine.

Carr had been saving money to start a graphic design business but invested instead in his own winery. The first vintage of Carr Winery produced 300 cases. Carr remains focused on vineyard management despite the success of his winery.

The Carr tasting room in Santa Barbara is open daily and the Wine Bar is open late to 12:00 AM Thursday through Saturday. The wines are available from the online store.

Reviewed Wines

2012 Carr Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 333 cases, $35. Released March 2014. Sourced from vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills and Santa Maria Valley. Clones 115, 667, 777, Pommard and Wädenswil. Aged 12 months in 15% new French oak. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Fruit-dominated nose featuring black cherry and raspberry with a subtle oak note. Intensely flavored and fruit-driven, with plenty of dark cherry and raspberry swagger. A bit of citrus in the background contributes a high note, and a touch of oak adds interest. The tannins are nicely balanced and the mouthfeel has considerable suavity. Even better several hours later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 90. Reviewed August 15, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 Carr Turner Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 195 cases, $50. Released March 2014. From a 21-acre organically farmed vineyard planted by Ryan Carr in 2000. Clones 113, 777 and Pommard. Aged 12 months in 15% new French oak. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Both earthy and fruity, this wine features mid to full-bodied dark red and black stone fruits that were picked at the peak of ripeness. The inviting mid palate attack is attention-grabbing, the tannins are firm but nicely tucked in, and the finish is very intense, long, and expansive. The oak contributes seasoning without being imposing. Thoroughly enjoyable. Score: 92. Reviewed August 15, 2014 ARTICLE »

2009 Harvest Girl Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 354 cases, $24. Released December 2011. A winery project between brothers Jonathan and Ryan Carr combining Jonathan’s love for tattoo art and graphic design and Ryan’s passion for winemaking. Label says, “She will live in your dreams forever and each year you will eagerly await her arrival.” Aged 12 months in French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. A masculine wine that pushes ripeness to the edge. Aromas of cherries, porto, toast, fennel, nutmeg and seasoned oak. Richly endowed with pie-filling black fruits wrapped in firm fruit tannins. Not a subtle wine by any means, but easy to drink and one that will appeal to lovers of succulent dark fruit. Suitable for a big ribeye. Good Reviewed July 23, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Carr Three Vineyards Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 298 cases, $45. A blend of grapes from Kessler-Haak, Yard and Turner vineyards. Clones 113, 777, 114, 2A and Pommard. Aged 12 months in French oak barrels. · Attractive aromas of fresh red and black fruits with a hint of vanilla cream and toasted oak improving in the glass over time. Medium-weight core of earthy plum and mixed berry fruit backed by mild firm tannins. A solid wine that lacks a little intensity and definition, but is well-made and perfectly fine for daily drinking. Good. Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Carr Turner Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 249 cases, $45. Planted in 2000 by Ryan Carr. 15 acres of Pinot Noir. Yields just over 2 tons per acre. Clones 113, 777 and Pommard. Aged 12 months in French oak barrels. · Complex nose offering aromas of black raspberry pie filling, black cherry, leather glove and earth. Light on its feet with a discreetly concentrated essence of mixed red and black berries, added flavors of brewed tea and plums, with moderate ripe fruit tannins, well-integrated oak, a velvety texture and impressive presence on the lingering finish. Very good. Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Carr Kessler-Haak Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5%, 172 cases, $50. This vineyard was planted in 2005 and has 26 acres of Pinot Noir. Yields were 1.5 tons per acre. Clones 114, 2A and Pommard. Aged 12 months in French oak barrels. · Demure aromas of black raspberries and dark strawberries with a kiss of spice, forest floor and oak. A symphony of delicious black raspberry, rhubarb and plum flavors that really attract your attention. Tannins are well-proportioned and the mouthfeel is all silk and satin. A tasty, seamless wine that really attracts your attention. Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2008 Carr Vineyards & Winery Three Vineyards Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 350 cases, $38. Released in March 2010. Sourced from Turner Vineyard, The Yard Vineyard and Lindsay’s Vineyard. Clones 777, Pommard, 115, 114. Aged 12 months in 15% new French oak barrels. · Shy nose initially, opening over time displaying aromas of black cherries, strawberries and sweet oak. Crafted in a lighter vein and soft in the mouth with vivid flavors of red berries, cherry skins, sandalwood, vanilla wafer and a touch of citric lift on the finish. A tasty, solid wine that will find many fans. Good (+). Reviewed July 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Carr Vineyards & Winery Turner Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 210 cases, $40. Released in March 2010. From a 21-acre vineyard located in the northern part of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. The vineyard is owned by Henry Schimberg and farmed by Ryan Carr who planted the vineyard in 2000. Clones 777 and Pommard. Aged 12 months in 20% new French oak barrels. · Scent of spiced berries, Herbs de Provence, oak and mint. Generous core of cherry and raspberry fruit with savory herbs in the background and a note of citrus peel on the finish. Soft and smooth in the mouth with vibrant acidity and some persistence on the finish. A fine table wine. Good (+). Reviewed July 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Carr Vineyards & Winery The Yard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 98 cases, $45. Released in March 2010. The Yard Vineyard was planted by Ryan Carr in 1998 and is located at the northern tip of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. The original owners ceased farming the vineyard so it was never harvested, but in 2005 Bryan Babcock leased the vineyard and it is now in full production. Clones 114 and 115. · The nose is more savory than fruity with notes of underbrush, spice, black tea and oak. Very tasty, even striking, flavors of fresh cherries and strawberries, with undertones of melon and brioche. Very smoothly textured with knife like acidity on the citric finish. I really like the intense strawberry flavor of this wine. Very good. Reviewed July 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Carr Vineyards & Winery Kessler-Haak Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 98 cases, $50. Released in March 2010. The 29-acre Kessler-Haak Vineyard was established by Dan and Ellen Kessler in 2004 and cultivated by Ryan Carr. The 2008 harvest is the first from this site. Yields were a ridiculously low .19 tons per acre. Clones Pommard, 2A, 113 and 667. Aged 12 months in 15% new French oak barrels. · The intoxicating aromas really explode over time in the glass offering nuances of raspberries, black cherries, spice box and mocha java. Delicious essence of cherry-berry pie with hints of vanilla cream, anise and dark chocolate. Very soft, even sensual, in the mouth. This is a wine you can cozy up to like a warm blanket, embracing its comforting gratification. On my 2010 All-American watch list. Reviewed July 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Carr Vineyards & Winery Three Vineyards Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 303 cases, $40. Sourced from Turner, Yard and Lindsay’s vineyards, all located in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Clones 114, 115, 777 and Pommard. Aged 12 months in 15% new French oak. · Aromas of darker cherry and berry fruit with notes of marzipan. Juicy core of black cherry fruit with underlying forest floor and earthy flavors. Bright acidity and softly toned tannins with some persistence of pleasing dried cherry on the aromatic finish. Good. Reviewed March 11, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Carr Vineyards & Winery Turner Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 299 cases, $40. This vineyard was established by Dennis Turner in 2000 and planted and cultivated by Ryan Carr, consisting of 15 acres of Pinot Noir, 3 acres of Pinot Gris and 3 acres of Syrah. Fourth harvest yielding 2 tons per acre. Aged for 12 months in 20% new oak. · Pleasing aromas of berry jam, cherries, spice and nutmeg gathering intensity with time in the glass. Delicious essence of black cherries with hints of red licorice and minerality leading to a tangy and lengthy finish highlighting bright cherry aromas. The slightly grainy tannins are well integrated and the lively acidity provides refreshing drinking. A well composed and impressive effort that really shows off the purity and vividness of Sta. Rita Hills fruit and acidity. Reviewed March 11, 2010 ARTICLE »