a / k / a (An American Bistro) and SANTA BARBARA VINTNERS WINE TASTING

Last Monday, while my hubby had been deployed to Hurricane Irene, before it was downgraded from a Category 3 to a Category 1, I took my distracted self to a wine tasting.  One must trudge on in adversity…

Right.  But, with that said, I was a little off my game as doing double duty at home only would allow me one hour to sample:

“18 wineries under one roof, one day only”

Mike and Karen Perlis, after doing a wonderful job interviewing a / k / a owner, Robert Simon ahead of the event for our website, were attending as well so I was sure to have “full” coverage.

This is what I could taste:

Having missed Larry Schaffer and his (as in he is the winemaker and the owner) Tercero Wines at Rhone Rangers, and the fact that he was my friend #10 on Facebook, I made a beeline for his table on the patio.  (This was also one of those days were the temperature hovered between 95 – 100 degrees.  There was a breeze outside, and Larry had chilled his whites, decanted his reds and kept them on ice, but it wasn’t the perfect atmosphere to taste wines in.)  I enjoyed nearly all that he had, of particular note for me was his “Outlier” Gewürztraminer, Viognier (only two months in the bottle but very approachable now), Rosé (Made from 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvedre), a top-notch Mourvedre (100%) and a lovely dry and stemmy Grenache. http://www.TerceroWines.com

From there, another winery that was a favorite of mine many years ago, and continues to be today, was Zaca Mesa.  This time I chatted with Brook C. Williams, president, CEO and winemaker.  In tasting his first wine, a 09 Chardonnay, we discussed a little about how the changes in wine drinker’s palates have changed the way Chardonnay is made.  No longer does an “oaky” flavor take center stage.  Following that I enjoyed two other white wines in his lineup, an 09 Viognier and an 07 Roussanne.  These reds I also made special note of that I liked the best: an 07 “Z Cuvee” was an outstanding blend of the Rhone varietals Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, an 08 Syrah and an 07 Mesa Reserve Syrah. http://www.ZacaMesa.com

At our last Grape of the Night meeting we sampled Roussanne, almost all were from different wineries, save two from Qupé. I met owner Bob Lindquist and told him how his wines did (search this blog for Rusty Sly’s full story on that) and then completely enjoyed his 2010 Marsanne, 2010 Bien Nacido Cuvee, and 08 Syrah.  Of special note for me were the 08 Roussanne, 09 Grenache and 06 Bien Nacido Syrah Hillside.  http://www.Qupe.com

Running into Mike and Karen, they introduced me to (among many people that day)  Gary Mosby, a partner and winemaker at Mosby Wines.  Gary introduced me to a grape varietal I’d never had: Lagrien in a wine he named “La Seduzione.”  It was very interesting and I vowed to learn more about that one! http://www.MosbyWines.com

Jaffurs came next, and as general manager and assistant winemaker, David Yates poured to a growing crowd, I enjoyed a sweet 09 Viognier, 09 Syrah and of special note for me were the 08 Grenache and 09 Petite Syrah. http://www.JaffursWine.com (Look for Jaffurs wine at an upcoming dinner at Salt Creek Grille Valencia, Thursday, September 15, call 661-222-9999.)

And that ends my hour in Santa Barbara County wine region.  Guess I better plan a road trip to sample more:

The Santa Barbara County Vintners

Qupe and Verdad – Bob and Luisa Lindquist, owners/winemakers www.qupe.com   www.verdadwines.com

Babcock Winery – Bryan Babcock, owner/winemaker, www.babcockwinery.com

Hitching Post Winery – Gray Hartley, owner/assistant winemaker, www.hitchingpostwines.com

Kenneth Volk Vineyards – Ken Volk, owner/winemaker, www.volkwines.com

Tercero wines – Larry Schaffer, owner/winemaker, www.tercerowines.com

Dragonette Cellars – John Dragonette, owner/winemaker, www.dragonettecellars.com

Bedford Winery – Stephan Bedford, owner winemaker, www.bedfordwinery.com

Arthur Earl Winery – Art White, owner/winemaker, www.arthurearl.com

Mosby Winery – Gary Mosby, partner/winemaker www.mosbywines.com

Sanford Winery – Steve Fennell, GM/winemaker, www.sanfordwinery.com

Zaca Mesa Winery –  Brook Williams, president/winegrower and Eric Mohseni, winemaker, www.zacamesa.com

Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard – Tim Snider, President (http://www.fessparkerwines.com/Family/Tim-Snider)  www.fessparkerwines.com

Municipal Winemakers – Katey Larwood, assistant winemaker, www.municipalwinemakers.com

Riverbench Winery – Laura Mohseni, General Manager, Winery Division, www.riverbench.com

Melville Vineyards – Stephen Janes, Director of Marketing, www.melvillewinery.com

Jaffurs Cellars – Matt Brady, Assistant Winemaker, www.jaffurswine.com

Palmina Wines – Toby Oshiro, National Sales Manager, www.palminawines.com

Santa Barbara Winery/Lafond Vineyards – Joanie Hudson, Director of International/National Marketing, www.sbwinery.com

Contact a / k / a bistro at (626) 564-8111.   For more information on the wineries go to www.sbcountywines.com.