Central Coast / Santa Barbara
Tasted Sunday, June 23, 2013 - Wednesday, June 26, 2013 by silton with 281 views
Impressions from a recent trip to Santa Barbara, our first of 15 years of living in CA. We got unlucky with the weather but had a nice time wining and dining and shopping. We'll be back.
Scooted around SLO to hit Talley. Alas, no SVD Pinots on offer (although I found a few bottles of the Rincon PN at Beltramo's later), but the Chards were as good as expected and I might have bought more if this had been a later stop. I am not a fan of tasting room pricing 10% higher than retail, however.
After Talley we had a nice lunch in the village at a newish Mediterranean place before heading to the Lompoc Ghetto. Our first stop was at Arcadian, which was an absolute riot. The Tasting Room manager was in the late stages of a successful visit that sold a bunch of wine and left a lot of good stuff open, and she insisted we try everything. It wasn't terribly crowded, but her sense of time was wacked so she was flustered even though she was offering up timely and friendly service. She rambled a bit about my missing front tooth, citing a hangover. Was she hungover, and thus I should excuse the awkward pointing at my mouth? Did she think I hungover after a drunk bar fight? WTF? Only later did I put 2 and 2 together into the movie "The Hangover"... great, I'm a dweeby dentist. A local tour guide friend pitched in behind the bar, which helped, but she still managed a Paula-Deen lite comment about Mexicans later on. After a perfunctory pouring of 3 Bratcher wines, which were OK, we rolled though the 8 Arcadians. An enjoyable lineup from start to finish.
After Arcadian we found Samsara, which had no Syrahs open. It might have been a mistake to skip their Pinot flight as well as the option to taste the latest Clos Pepe at the taste of Sta. Rita Hills room but the novelty of Palmina's Italian varieties captured the next slot. After Palmina we headed to Melville on the way to Santa Barbara for the night; the Melville wines were plenty impressive too, especially the Viognier and Inox Chards.
On Monday we took a day trip to Ojai and Ventura. 72 and cloudy in Ojai! Lots of library wines for sale here with aggressive prices, but the current releases showed a deft hand over an impressive range and offering decent value, although marked up above retail.
On our way home we headed to Los Olivos thinking Tensley might be closed (it was) but choosing to hit Stolpman, across the street, instead. Friendly, knowledgable service here. The Grenache and Sangio were pretty nice too but not compelling.
A great trip, although hitting 3 California themed restaurants in Santa Barbara, each of whom had wine lists dominated by local wines, got confining after a while. The 2010 Tyler Zotovich Chardonnay might have been the best Chardonnay of the trip, however.