Malibu is the epitome of California living. It’s known for gorgeous beaches and coastline stretching as far as the eye can see. It is synonymous with wealth and celebrity-lifestyles. However, only a couple of miles away from the coast, there is a completely different environment. The surf gives way to jagged cut canyons, filled with native flora and fauna. The curvy roads lumber past hiking trails and rustic mom and pop establishments. There are breathtaking views and a beautiful silence. This part of Malibu seems worlds away from the clogged freeways of Los Angeles in spite of its proximity. This part of Malibu is something special.
This is where the Malibu AVA (American Viticulture Area) is located with 38 wineries registered under it. This area has hot days and cold nights, usually cooled off by the coastal fog – the perfect recipe for growing grapes.
Aja Vineyards is among these wineries. First planted in 2007 with Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, the vineyard has grown to include Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and most recently, Sauvignon Blanc.
Like most in the area, Todd and Heather Greenbaum’s vineyard has been family-run. AJA stands for the initials of their children, Alec, Jack, and Amanda. While Amanda is the Winemaker, Proprietor, and Vice President of the winery, she and Todd are the faces of the vineyard. They exude warmth with a friendly and very approachable demeanor. There is no LA snobbery here – just great wine that has been clearly created out of passion and love for the craft and the vines.
This can be seen in the 2013 Malibu Coast Syrah. It is a well-crafted, complex Syrah that is round and robust. Inky purple in the glass, it smells of lavender, lilacs, roses, and spice, with fresh cracked black pepper and cherry compote. It has a good balance of acid and tannins, with flavors of ripe, bursting plums, black currants, menthol, green pepper, and smoke. It is a truly delightful and food-friendly wine. It paired well with a grilled New York Strip, Portobello mushrooms, and barbecued chicken.
You can check out this wine and others at ajavineyards.com.