Wine Enthusiast

2009 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills
94 points

2009 Syrah, Ballard Canyon Estate, Reserve
92 points

2009 Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley, Solomon Hills Vineyard
90 points

2009 Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley
90 points

2009 Syrah, Ballard Canyon Estate, Santa Barbara
92 points Editors’ Choice


Steve Heimoff of Wine Enthusiast Magazine recommends Santa Barbara County as one of the 10 Best Wine Travel Destinations for 2012, and also recommends that visitors come to Rusack.


2008 Pinot Noir, Rancho Santa Rosa
Rusack’s best 2008 Pinot comes from this great vineyard that displays such fine Santa Rita Hills character. It’s ripe enough in cherries to satisfy, and also brisk in acidity, with complex mineral and herb notes, and the oak barrel layering is perfect. Lovely now for its silky texture, and will develop over the next 5–7 years. - S.H. - 94 points

2008 Pinot Noir, Reserve
This is a fine example of a fresh, complex, young Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir. It’s bone dry and elegantly crisp, with intricate flavors of cherries, rhubarb, pomegranates, Dr. Pepper cola and minerals, along with sweet, smoky notes from oak barrel aging. Best of all is the silky texture. Fine now, with decanting, and through 2014. - S.H. - 92 points

Top 100 Wines of 2010

Rusack 2008 Reserve Chardonnay ranked as #10 with a score of 96 points in Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wines of 2010!


The Editors at Wine Enthusiast have selected the following Rusack wines.

In the December 2010 edition:

2008 Pinot Noir, Rancho Santa Rosa, Sta. Rita Hills 94 points

2008 Pinot Noir, Reserve, Sta.Rita Hills 92 points

2008 Pinot Noir, Solomon Hills Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley 91 points

2008 Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley 91 points

In the August 2010 issue:

96 points and Editors Choice 2008 Rusack Reserve Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley

94 points 2008 Rusack Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County


20 Great California Syrahs

Good values from Santa Barbara County, where Syrah and Rhône-style red blends are gaining in quality and popularity.

Santa Barbara has a red-wine horserace going on, and it looks like it’s only going to get better for fans of the area’s wines. Syrah and other Rhône Valley reds are challenging Pinot Noir for red-wine supremacy . With the exception of the 2006 Jonata, which retails for $125 (no, that’s not a typo), the 2007s featured here offer solid value, with most selling for $28 to $40 per bottle. Syrah is still a relatively new grape in most parts of Santa Barbara, and it performs best in the warmer reaches of Santa Ynez Valley and those parts that are on the cusp between cool and warm. Syrah is a versatile grape that thrives in both warm and cooler spots. With the former, you get riper berry and fruit flavors. In cooler locales, the grape’s peppery, spicy personality shines through.

Rusack Syrah Santa Barbara County 2007
Sleek and streamlined, with a trim beam of spicy, beefy wild berry, pepper, sage and mineral. Full-bodied, rich and layered, gaining depth, complexity, length and structure. Drink now through 2017. 91 points

Rusack Syrah Santa Barbara County Ballard Canyon Estate 2007
93 points | Cellar Selection


In 1994, aviation law attorney Geoff Rusack and his wife, Alison, moved from L.A. to the rural Ballard Canyon region of Santa Barbara County, where Rusack Vineyards now stands. A few years ago, winemaker John Falcone came onboard, after stints at Callaway and Atlas Peak; he is assisted by his wife, Helen, who’s done stints at Paul Hobbs and Chimney Rock.

Grapes for the Rusack Reserve Chardonnay, now in its fifth vintage, come from two vineyards in Santa Maria Valley, Bien Nacido and Goodchild, with whom Rusack has longterm contracts; the winery itself owns no Chardonnay vines. Rusack also produces a Santa Barbara Chardonnay that’s a blend of Santa Maria and Santa Rita Hills fruit, including grapes from Foley. At about $20, it’s often a good buy. Rusack’s wines have definitely improved since Falcone arrived. “I’ve been in the business now for 29 years, and know a lot of people,” he says. “So when I came here, I tapped into my relationships with growers, and was able to pick up some great vineyards, like Fiddlestix and Stolpman.” As for working with his wife, Falcone smiles. “She focuses more on the day-to-day wine processing activities, while I set the style.”

2007 Rusack Chardonnay, Reserve, Santa Maria Valley
93 points

2007 Rusack Pinot Noir, Reserve, Sta. Rita Hills
92 points

2007 Rusack Pinot Noir, Rancho Santa Rosa, Sta. Rita Hills
92 points

2007 Rusack Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County
Editors' Choice
90 points

2006 Rusack ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley
Editors' Choice
93 points, February 2009

2006 "Reserve" Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills
93 points, December 2008

2006 Ballard Canyon Estate Grenache
91 points, December 2008

2005 "Reserve" Pinot Noir, Sta Rita Hills
92 points, February 2007

2004 ‘Reserve’ Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills
93 Points, August 2006

2004 Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley
90 Points, August 2006

2004 ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley
91 Points, August 2006

2004 Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County
88 Points, August 2006

2001 Anacapa, Santa Ynez Valley
90 Points, November 2003

2002 Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County
90 Points, June 2003

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