During my Santa Barbara trip this past summer – the word trip is used lightly as we only stayed two days – my focus was on the winery tasting rooms in the Funk Zone for an article for Elite magazine.
One of the winemakers that I interviewed was Doug Margerum of Margerum Wine Company. (Photos) I’d tasted Doug’s wines, mostly Rhônes, at different events over the years but when I learned he had just opened this new tasting room I really wanted to visit. I wrote up some for the magazine, below, but also had a LOT of notes on the wines and on Doug himself. Hence, this blog article just to cover all of the bases. First, we’ll start with the section in the magazine:
From Elite Magazine
Margerum Wine Company and Barden: Not what I expected when I walked into the new tasting room for Margerum wines. First of all Doug Margerum, owner and winemaker, was there – a special treat – as my eyes also took in two stories, lots of seating, a “from the kitchen” menu (rarity in tasting rooms, and probably the only one in the Funk Zone), open in the evenings on weekend, and a tasting flight showing off all of his Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator high scorers: 2017 D Sauvignon Blanc, 2017 M5 White Rhone, 2017 Grenache, 2016 M5 Red Rhone Reserve, 2017 Black Oak vineyards Syrah and an Amaro liqueur that was also infused in an ice cream! At his second label, Barden up the road award winners included their 2018 Vin Gris of Pinot Noir, 2018 Viognier, 2017 Fonte (white blend), 2017 Chardonnay, 2018 Grenache and 2016 Pinot Noir.
Doug shared more than his wines, at both Margerum and Barden with me. He shared some of his stories. And over the years I’ve learned that connecting to a winery – how much we like the wine, how they treat us in the tasting room and knowing the stories behind some of the labels – compel us to become fans. Here’s what I learned from Doug that turned me into a bigger fan:
- Each of Margerum’s wine bottles are individually hand-numbered, as they are all small lot wines and collectibles. His first vintage was 2001. (Click through the link for the website below to see some of the library wines available.)
- The name Barden is Welsh for “boar’s den” and happens to be Doug’s middle name, though he wasn’t born with it. At his 40th birthday party, he asked his friends to help come up with a suitable middle name for him. His grandmother, 89-year-old Ruth Barden, suggested that his middle name be her surname. His friends agreed.
- The Margerums lost 23 neighbors during the Montecito floods.
- Barden, located in downtown Santa Barbara, serves a “couture collection” of “limited release wines from the cold climate of the Sta. Rita Hills.”
- Doug had been in the restaurant industry before the wine industry. The Wine Cask, his former restaurant in Santa Barbara, was sold in 2007 and he stayed on as a consultant for a few years. His restaurant experience made having a kitchen at Margerum a natural fit, and he hopes to have a full time chef in the near future.
- Open just since this past May, the Margerum Tasting Room, with tastings, wines by the glass, light fare at the bar and the upstairs mezzanine, is available for private parties and special events.
*Margerum Tasting Room
19 East Mason
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
32 El Paseo in the Center Courtyard
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
*Note: Both Margerum and Barden have tasting rooms in Buellton, this article is about the tasting rooms in Santa Barbara.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.