Saarloos & Sons: Big Saar and Big Larr (Part 2)

  • Home
  • Wine
  • Saarloos & Sons: Big Saar and Big Larr (Part 2)
Wine Santa Barbara

Daughter's Chardonnay Santa Barbara County 2007

Around Silverlake Wine, Keith and Larry Saarloos are affectionately known as Big Saar and Big Larr, respectively. Their personalities and their drive to accomplish say it all. When they first purchased the property that Windmill Ranch Vineyard currently sits on, it was an apple orchard. Apples apparently weren’t as easy to sell as grapes, so they were advised to plant a vineyard. They did. After farming grapes for a while and selling off most of their harvest each year to the best producers in Santa Barbara County, they were advised to make wine from a portion of their crop. They did.

Wine Santa Barbara
The Saarloos & Sons tasting room will be open shortly in Los Olivos on Grand Avenue directly across from Carhartt Vineyard Tasting Room and one space north of the Qupe/Verdad/Ethan tasting room. Keith gave me a tour of the 19th century home that until weeks ago was the family owned and operated Divine Day Spa which is now housed at the Fess Parker Wine County Inn just down the road a bit on Grand Ave. For the time being, you can buy their wine directly from the Saarloos & Sons website. Also the Daughter’s Chardonnay and Purper Hart Syrah are available at Silverlake Wine. There are no other outlets for the family’s hard work. They’re happy with that. “Maybe I’d sell some wine to a restaurant if they found me and asked me to sell them some,” says Keith when asked where he wants his wines to be. “Otherwise I’m content to just have them in the tasting room and at Silverlake Wine.”

Tasting Notes:

Wine Santa Barbara
194Five The Union (85% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon) – Marriage. Union. Not just a metaphor, in fact it’s a joy for me to have enjoyed Purper Hart, the 100% Syrah offering from Saarloos & Sons before opening 194Five The Union because it allowed me to see the effect of the blending between the family’s Syrah from their Windmill Ranch Vineyard and a 15% influence of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Harmon Family Vineyard (they only purchase fruit from vineyards in the area owned and operated by families!). The Syrah is meaty, juicy, inky, masculine. The Cabernet counterpart is much more pretty, feminine, soft and delicate. The marriage between the two is like that of the depicted on the front label (Keith’s grandparents at their wedding in 1945) – to leave a long-lasting impression on those who drink the wine and see the label. This is not a wine to miss. Berry fruit, fruit tannin that is so well integrated you’ll almost miss it, underlying earthiness that is imparted from the soil structure of Windmill Ranch Vineyard. You can only buy this wine at the Saarloos & Sons website.

Wine Santa Barbara
Ring Effie Unk (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc) – This is the only current release Saarloos & Sons that I opened with food, and I brought it to a 7-course tasting menu so it was a special part of the meal. Opened closer to 63 degrees because it traveled an hour with us to the restaurant – no mention of Merlot on the front label, instead they have chosen to give it a family name (or a proprietary name). With the way “Sideways” bastardized Merlot sales, it makes sense not to call a wine made from Merlot, Merlot! The wine was immediately decanted while we left a small bit in each of our glasses to see how it changes on glass relative to in the decanter. Up front earthiness akin to Lalande de Pomerol (MERLOT!). Tannin is integrated, obvious instance of fruit tannin rather than barrel tannin. Violets, figs, blackberry jam. Shale and graphite on nose and mouth – this is the expression of Cabernet Franc in the blend though only 5% of the composition. It is obvious the soil these grapes are grown in is suited to making the vines struggle, probably given minimal irrigation. Great concentration with finesse on the palate. By far the prettiest of the new releases from Saarloos & Sons, and I’m glad I enjoyed this wine last in the lineup because it shows how versatile the family winemaking is. You can only buy this wine at the Saarloos & Sons website.

Both of these wines are available for purchase on the Silverlake Wine website or by calling 323.662.9024.

Coming next for the Week in Drink will be a series of profiles of Wine Directors, Sommeliers, Winemakers, and Vineyard Managers – stay posted for profiles of Wine Director of Wolfgang Puck’s Cut Dana Farner, and Winemaker Maynard James Keenan.

Blog Comments

I liked a lot. It has lots of useful info. This article is very professionally written. I will be back for sure.

Larry & Keith’s latest venture promises to be another ‘tasteful’ addition to our Los Olivos community. This family works hard and we all bebefit from their efforts. Can’t wait to visit and sample these wines.

Thanks for another good article; I agree about the Ring Effie Unk: v good.

Not sure why the above felt the need to slander the winemaker on a site about wine; doesn’t strike me as a particularly Christ-like thing to do… I don’t want to get into a shouting match with ‘valley christian’, but those comments seem way out of line and not appropriate for a wine blog. I have found Keith to be an engaging and gregarious guy, and I wish him well. I am glad to see S&S winery getting recognition; they have always done well be the Santa Ynez Valley.

Wow, Valley Christian…sounds like someone is holding onto deep seated issues from high school. Maybe you missed the topic of this site. It’s wine, not whine. As for the Saarloos’, and Keith in particular, I don’t know of many people who are as hard-working, upstanding and down-to-earth. Maybe if you worked as hard as they do you wouldn’t mistake confidence for arrogance.

Now, more importantly…and back to the topic of the site, I can’t wait to try “The Union”. I’ll be making a trip to Silverlake Wine this weekend to get it.

Keith is a spoiled rich kid who has gotten everything handed to him and is arrogant much the reason no one likes him.

Keep making the money bud, he who has the most wins? Or is that not the christian way?


Part 2 of Saarloos & Sons: Big Saar and Big Larr |

[…] Part 2 of Saarloos & Sons: Big Saar and Big Larr […]

Love the write up. I definitely want to try these wines next time I’m at SLW (if you have it can get it in stock, if not, next time we go up north for wine tastings)

Leave a Comment