I have been meaning to write this post for a while, but as you can imagine, work and life got in the way. Anyways..Back in May, I went out with M to a friend’s wedding in Woodland Hills, CA. just north of Los Angeles. Given that we had all of Saturday to kill before the Sunday wedding, we jumped in the car and headed up The 101 towards Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez valley, where there are a ton of wineries. Thanks to the help of a coworker who did his undergrad degree at UCSB, I had a full list of wineries to visit.
The drive up there is nothing short of spectacular:
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After a good sandwich lunch in Santa Barbara, we jumped back in the car and continued up the more rural roads towards Santa Ynez and Los Olivos, where the wineries are concentrated. It just so happened that a few weeks ago, wild fires had charred some of the woodland around Santa Barbara. It really hit home having seen in person all the videos you see on TV. But on to the wine.
For me, the list was a big surprise. Normally I am not a big fan of white wine, but after tasting several wineries Viogniers, they were excellent. A lot of character, not the normal flat taste I find I get with Chardonnay. A very buttery finish which I also found in the Syrah and Grenache’s that we picked up. Winies were busy with people of all ages, from college students on up to retirees in wine tour busses. I didn’t find a lot of the wineries on top of each other, which I felt was the case in Napa. You had to get back in your car, and drive to the next winerie, which was a ways down the road.
Being that we live in Massachusetts, the wine came back with us on the plane instead of being shipped (Thanks MA tax law).
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Having been winery hopping in Upstate New York, Washington, Napa, and Long Island, Southern California had a very different feel to it. A lot more relaxed, but still enough people to not feel odd that you were the only patron at a winery. And while I love my seasons in Boston with snow on the ground, the weather in Southern California can’t be beat. If I or friends of mine ever find themselves in the Central/Southern California area, I highly recommend taking a ride up here and tasting the wine. If not just for the wine, but the view too.