More Suds: Santa Barbara's Flying Goat Has a New Bubbly

by Gabe Saglie, Senior Editor, Travelzoo
story published in the Santa Barbara News-Press on 4/23/15

Norm Yost (by Bob Dickey,
Few will dispute that, if one man launched the modern sparkling wine movement in Santa Barbara County, it was Norm Yost.  A few others had added bubbles to wine sporadically in the past, including the late great Chris Whitcraft.  But Yost, who’d already gained fame for the pinot noir he was making under his Flying Goat Cellars label, turned bubbly into a serious operation in 2005.

To celebrate 10 years as a sparkling wine producer, Yost has just added a Brut Cuvée to a lineup that already includes 4 bubblies: a cremant, rosé, a blanc de blancs and a blanc de noirs.  While his previous sparklers have been varietal- and vineyard-specific, the new cuvée marks his first blend, an 80-20 combo of pinot noir from Sta. Rita Hills’ Rio Vista Vineyard and chardonnay from Santa Maria’s Sierra Madre Vineyard.  “Blending offers another expression for us, as well as synergy, balance and uniqueness,” Yost told me this week.

The 2013 wine underwent re-fermentation in bottle to create flavors of tangerines, white peaches and apricots.  Only members of Yost’s Club Celebrate have had access to it; retail availability begins next month.  Soon, it'll be poured alongside its four older siblings at the Bubbles Bar inside the Flying Goat tasting room in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto.

Very much a one-man band a decade ago, Yost is in much bigger company now, with dozens of Santa Barbara producers now dabbling in bubbles.  “Emulation is always the best form of flattery,” he tells me, with a humble laugh.  “It’s actually exciting to see, since we’re now utilizing these wonderful Santa Barbara County grapes in another form.”


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