I live in Santa Barbara, California and it is hard to not love wine here. Each year, wine grapes are the #1 or #2 crop in Santa Barbara county and they make some wonderful wines here. If you saw Sideways, you got a taste of that even though I think the Rhone style wines here are better than the Pinot Noirs. It is always a fun day to hop in the car, drive over the mountains and do some tastings.
One of our favorite wineries is called Beckmen Vineyards. They are a family owned and run, biodynamic winery that makes wonderful syrahs, grenaches, cabernets, and Rhone style blends. In fact, we like this winery so much that we are members of their Purisima Club. I highly recommend their wines if you enjoy great reds.
Some time ago, a wine loving friend of mine from back east sent me a link to Gary Vaynerchuk's website and daily webcasts of wine reviews. He is fun, knowledgeable, and honest in his reviews even if his descriptions are not always what one expects from a wine lover - "who doesn't like jockstrap filled with pickles because let me tell you right now this is man sweat with pickles all around..." Yep, he actually said that about a wine he loved (2005 Guillon Gevrey Chambertin Pere Galland) on episode 353!
Even if you don't love wines or if you do and think he is insane, he is fun to watch... And jockstrap filled with pickles certainly removes any of the pretentiousness that often surrounds serious wine drinking. Click on the widget on the right to see his latest reviews.