Alban Vineyards is the first important California wine producer and vineyard producer focusing on Rhone varietals. The actual winery is situated in Edna Valley, in the southern corner of the San Luis Obispo appellation. Of course other growers and wineries were using Rhone varietals, but he was the first producer completely devoted to grapes that were more at home in the Rhone Valley. Alban bought land in the Edna Valley, in San Luis Obispo in 1990. Of the different growing regions in the area, Edna Valley has the coolest climate, most resembling the Rhone Valley. John Alban began planting red and white grapes from Rhone varietals; Syrah, Viognier and Roussanne. The next year Alban added Grenache to the vineyard. He released his debut vintage a few years later with fruit from the 1992 harvest.
The next step was changing his vinification techniques, starting with destemming the berries, relying on natural yeasts and fermenting at higher temperatures for shorter periods of time.
Alban Vineyards consist of different soil types exposures and micro climates. For example, Seymour's comes from 8 acres of soils with more limestone and chalk. Reva is grown in soil dominated by clay and grave and Lorraine comes from a hotter, rockier terroir. Most of the vineyards are situated close to the winery while Seymour's is located at the rear of their vineyards. All told, Alban has 66 acres under vine. On average, they produce close to 6,000 cases of wine per year. Alban has also been used as a grape source for other vintners, most notably Sine Qua Non. Au Bon Climat, Failla and Mat Garretson and others have also used their fruit.
Alban Vineyards currently producers a wide range of wines including Viognier, Roussanne, Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. The top wines are their Syrah; Seymour's, Reva, Lorraine and Patrina. Additionally they produce two Grenache based wines of which Pandora Proprietary blend is the finest. For their Mourvedre, that is used to produce the Forsythe, which is made from 100% Mourvedre.
Alban is not a shy, delicate style of wine. The wines are big, bold, ripe, concentrated and at times, the wines can even seem over ripe or too powerful for some tasters. The wines of Alban Vineyards can age well.
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