Sunday, October 12, 2008

some good wines

I promised to blog about something other than politics... although I'm really tempted.

Saturday we were doing some work around the new condo and after lunch said, let's go taste some wines. We went to three wineries...

the first was Starlane and Dierberg. I had read some good things about them and they're about 5 miles from our house. Well, their wines were OK but nothing inspired us.

Next we drove a ways north and went to Foxen. It is a delightful little winery and we tasted a number of great wines. We bought a bottle of an '03 Zinfindel that will be amazing for Thanksgiving. I highly recommend their wines.

Finally we drove back to Los Olivos - a little town in the middle of the Santa Ynez valley with lots of tasting rooms. We've long been fans of Andrew Murray Wines. They make some great syrahs - in spite of what they told you in Sideways, syrahs are the best wines from Santa Barbara County. They had a great tasting with I think 10 different wines including 5 or 6 different syrahs. We bought two bottles including one that is made from grapes sourced from another of our favorite local vineyards - Stolpman Vineyards. It will be fun to compare this wine to one that Stolpman made from the same grapes.

Then tonight, Cheryl and I went out for a belated birthday dinner for me, to a little restaurant in Los Olivos called Patrick's Sidestreet Cafe. We had a great meal and another bottle of local wine - a syrah from Consilience Wines from the Rodney Shull vineyard. Very, very nice. Best of all... I had an amazing dark chocolate dessert. I love chocolate but too often, chocolate desserts are too sweet for me. This one was dark and rich and was amazing with the last bit of the syrah.

So, if you're looking at a Santa Barbara wine, I'd recommend the Foxen Zin (their chardonnays were very nice as well if you prefer white wine), just about any red from Andrew Murray, or the Consilience reds.


fernando said...

OK - now you are making me feel guilty for my lack of wine-blogging!


One question - is there much experimentation with varietals in California right now. I'm familar with Zinfandel, Syrah and Merlot from the region but any others I should look for? In South Australia, for example, they started to grow quite a bit of Tempranillo, Nebiolo and Tanat.

roy said...

I don't know much about other areas in the state, but here in Santa Barbara county they grow a good bit of Grenache. The grenaches from Beckmen Winery are just wonderful and their grenache/syrah blends are real special occasion wines. Many of the SB vineyards are growing Sangiovese but you also see Nebbiolo, Primitivo, Freisa, and a few other Italian varietals. There are making some very nice wines including some super Tuscan styles. I visit Mandolina fairly often and really like their Tocatta Reserva, a super Tuscan style. The trend has even taken on a name - CalItal Wines.

The Zins from Paso Robles, a hotter, drier, more extreme climate about 90 mies north of where we are, are just stellar. If you ever see a Turley.. buy it. Expensive, but worth it.

And in the cooler sections of SB county, they do grow Pinot Noirs as per Sideways. Not my favorite wines so I can't recommend any.

Any of my readers who find themselves visiting Santa Barbara and want to go tasting, I'm happy to be a guide.

Dave Miller said...

A hood first step Roy, now repeat after me, my name is Roy and I have a political obsession...

In a time when it seems everyone is somehow focused on McCain and Obama, I too must remember that whatever happens here is still pretty temporal.

It really is about this Jesus thing.

And wine.