I don’t divulge when I’m away on a wine trip – lest you find your way to my house and my cellar keys – so this column is running either before or after I went to Santa Ynez for the weekend.
Some of my plans include(d) many stops that readers suggested, visits with winemakers I’d only met on Facebook, a lesson on the Santa Ynez wine growing region that didn’t come from the infamous Miles from the movie Sideways.
Check out our plans, and tell me what we may have miss(ed). And then tune in again for the full story and tasting report. This teaser is just to get you itching to make your own plans for a visit:
With the wonderful tireless support of Jim Fiolek, the Santa Barbara County Vintners Association (SBCVA) Director, we had a killer trip arranged. The “we” in that trip included my husband, his sister and her husband, and his best friend and his partner. This would be the third time I had arranged a trip with this group as I wanted to make sure that if I was involved in an interview, my husband would be happily engaged with his favorite people.
So, with that said, we planned to depart Chez Bushman at 7:30 A.M. to caravan together to Los Olivos. Our first stop was to meet with one of my first Facebook friends, winemaker Larry Schaffer at the Tercero Winery. Larry makes primarily white and red Rhone blends which are of special interest to me. My past notes included his “Outlier” Gewürztraminer, Viognier (only two months in the bottle at the time but very approachable now), Rosé (Made from 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvedre), a top-notch Mourvedre (100%) and a lovely dry and stemmy Grenache.
2445 Alamo Pintado Avenue, Suite 104 (entrance on San Marcos)
Los Olivos, CA 93441
The next stop was only ½ block away from the Tercero Tasting room – Stolpman Vineyards. I had had Stolpman Syrah in at least two local places, and was anxious to taste more. Peter Stolpman was planning to give our group a tour of his Ballard Canyon winery, some lunch and then head us over to the Lompoc Ghetto, a place I had been longing to visit. An industrial center has now become the home to several wine tasting rooms. I asked pals on Facebook which to visit and they said: Fiddlehead Cellars, Ampelos Cellars, Loring Wine, Palmina Winery, Piedrasassi, Samsara, Flying Goat Cellars, Rio Vista, Brewer-Clifton Chardonnay & Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, Longoria, Antonio Moretti.
(Check these out and more here: http://www.lompocghetto.com/index.php/tasting-rooms)
2434 Alamo Pintado Avenue (not to be confused with Alamo Pintado Road)
Los Olivos CA 93441
Lompoc Tasting Room
1700 Industrial Way Unit B
(shared building w/Longoria)
Lompoc CA 93436
Okay, so if everything was going as planned we now arrived at the Longoria Tasting Room, where we would meet Rick Longoria, learn all about the history of Santa Ynez and, of course, have a tasting. I’d been to the tasting room years before, one of my guests was a long-time Longoria wine club member and, except for some brief tasting notes I had on their 07 Lovely Rita Pinot Noir and 07 Tempranillo that I had dug, I was Longoria-deficient.
1700 Industrial Way, Unit A
Next on our list was a trip to Alma Rosa Winery, about 30 minutes from Lompoc where we may possibly meet with winemaker/owner Richard Sanford. I had missed Alma Rosa at a recent www.LearnAboutWine.com Santa Barbara tasting, and I had only tried their Pinot Noir during last November’s Pinot Days event. I wanted more.
7250 Santa Rosa Road, Buellton CA 93427
Then, score of all scores, our group was to check in for overnight accommodations at the Clos Pepe Guesthouse…where the next day we were to rise and attend winemaker Wes Hagen’s “class”. I’d heard about the guesthouse and the class from local friends that had done the same trip. And like Larry Schaffer, I had met Wes Hagen the first time on Facebook. Wes has become a bit of a social working sensation; he blogs, tweets, facebooks and MAKES WINES. The perfect man, right? I had notes from last November’s Pinot Days where I enjoyed a lineup from 2011 back to 2006, but heck, that was only Pinots…yes I definitely needed more.
4777 East Highway 246
Lompoc, CA 93436
After taking a wine-break, we were then to head out for 7:30 P.M. reservations at, well, where else? The Hitching Post II restaurant. Jim Fiolek’s son Andrew made our reservations and each of us would be itching for some red meat by then. Not to mention a taste of their own wine, always a favorite. I was pushing to get there before 6 p.m., when I learned that they do flights of their wines up until then.
406 East Highway 246
Buellton, CA 93427
The next morning, we’d have to kiss our guestrooms good bye, learn all we could from Hagen and then head over to Brander Vineyard to meet with Fred Brander if he was free. Brander had been a generous donor to the SCV Wine Classic in previous years, made an excellent Sauvignon Blanc, and once again I found myself anxious to revisit their wines.
2401 Refugio Road,
Los Olivos, CA 93441
Getting ready to drive out of wine country late Sunday Fiolek teased us with this: The Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail. I recognized some of the wineries I wanted to visit – Margerum, Au Bon Climate, Grassini Family, Pali, etc. – and wondered…could we possibly do any more? Stay tuned to find out.