Friday, May 25 , 2018, 9:42 pm | Fair 60º


Tara Jones: Doug Margerum Has Lived a Vintage Life

When I was 14 years old, I was all arms and legs. I awkwardly walked around with all the grace of a baby giraffe.

Looking back, I’m pretty sure the only reason I was asked to join the older girls’ dance company was because the school of dance I attended rented a space from my parents’ commercial building.

I was that awkward, floppy dancer in the back row of all our productions, and my “sophisticated” post-ballet snack was a toasted marshmallow Pop Tart washed down with Sunny D.

When Doug Margerum was 14 years old, he traveled with his parents to southern France and participated in his first barrel tasting at wineries in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which he collected and stored in his bedroom wine rack.

At 19, on break from attending UCSB, Margerum spent his summer in France with his native girlfriend, learning bits about the industry each year, which added to his wine repertoire.

And in 1981, the Margerum family bought the Wine Cask, then a wine store that quickly expanded to include a bistro.

But Margerum’s heart was always in the wine game, and in the years to come he would buy out his family and pursue his dream of winemaking.

Margerum now serves as owner to the Wine Cask Restaurant, with partner Mitchell Sjerven, and Margerum Wines, as well as winemaker for MWC32, Happy Canyon Vineyard, and Jamie Slone Wines.

Doug Margerum's path to prominent local winemaker started at a young age. (Tara Jones photo)

Margerum Wines serves the flagship wines while MCW32 is a treasure trove of rare and small production wines that are a true reflection of the artistry in Margerum’s ability to create food oriented wines.

The flagship wine, M5, is Margerum’s homage to Chef Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and is a perfect representation of his signature winemaking style that is both bold and delicate with cola and berry notes that are begging to end up on anyone’s Thanksgiving table.

The Uber Syrah, a co-fermentation of four Syrahs, is as rare in taste as it is in vintage.

If one of the Syrahs harvested for the 2011 Margerum Uber Syrah, one of the top shelf wines at MWC32, is not up to Margerum’s standards, the project does not move forward for that year.

The Happy Canyon Valley wines are the heaviest of Margerum’s creations, and are a true find for one who enjoys a rich dining experience.

Jamie Slone Wines, Margerum’s most recent winemaking project, is where his love affair with wine is most evident.

The 2013 Aloysius Chardonnay, named for Kym Slone’s father, is absolute perfection.

And perfection is the quintessential blend of creaminess, green apple, and vanilla, with the smell of fresh-baked bread on the nose.

These days Santa Barbara has become the darling of the wine industry, and Margerum is clearly one of the reasons why.

All of the wine tasting rooms mentioned can be found in the historic El Paseo shopping center on De La Guerra and Anacapa Streets.

Tara Jones leads Eat This, Shoot That! and welcomes reader tips and ideas for future columns. She can be reached at [email protected]. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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