Today my friend, Mo, of Mocadeaux
is guest posting on two of my favorite topics - travel and WINE! If you enjoy hilariously funny posts on all aspects of life, in particular - wine, food, travel and family, then be sure to add Mo to your daily reading list.
love wine tasting. I love hearing the story behind each winery, the
passion of the folks behind each brand and the incredible variety of
Recently, Peter and I spent a long weekend in Santa Barbara to
celebrate our anniversary, check another item off our California To Do
List and, of course, taste some wine.
Yes, Fess Parker, aka Daniel Boone. They served some lovely wine, had
lots of coonskin cap themed kitsch in the gift shop and, most
importantly for us, opened at 10 a.m.
I only occasionally dip my toe in the land of Chardonnay. I’m just
not a big fan, particularly of the typical Napa Chardonnay. I have to
give big props to Fess and his crew. Their 2012 Chardonnay from the Bien
Nacido Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley was scrumptious!
The surprise of the day and it was only 10:15 in the morning.
This wine scored 93 points from Wine Enthusiast. Less than 400 cases
were produced so you won’t see it on the shelves of your local store. As
is often the case with these small productions, the wine is only
available at the winery and to wine club members. But I mention this wine to highlight the Bien Nacido Vineyard. Remember when I talked about the single vineyard Pinot Noirs from Oregon
? Well, the Bien Nacido Vineyard is one of the rock star locations in
the Santa Barbara wine country area. The folks at Bien Nacido make some
of their own wine under the label of Bien Nacido Vineyards. But they
also sell grapes to a handful of carefully selected wineries who, in
turn, make some pretty awesome wines. So if you see the name “Bien
Nacido Vineyard” on a wine label, you can be pretty sure that the wine
will be a treat.
BREWER – CLIFTON
At Brewer – Clifton we tasted exclusively Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
These folks make some darn good, high scoring wine and they know the
secret to a very special wine tasting experience:
the cheese plate.
As my friend, Pete, says, “If you are buying wine, taste it with bread. If you are selling wine, serve it with cheese.”
We have been fans of Foxen wines for some time and were delighted
with the opportunity to visit their lovely winery. These guys make a
nice array of wines, ranging from Chenin Blanc to Syrah. They even make
a Chardonnay with grapes from the Bien Nacido Vineyard and a Pinot Noir
grown in their own vineyards of a Bien Nacido clone.
My favorite of the wines we tasted – although it was very hard to
choose – was the 2011 Foxen Cuvee Jeanne Marie Red Wine from the
Williamson – Dore Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Vineyard.
If you can’t find Foxen wines at your local wine store, you can shop
online. If you are visiting Santa Barbara wine country, you should
absolutely plan to stop by their winery.
We discovered Coquelicot a few years ago at The Family Winemakers of California
tasting event. Coquelicot is the French word for “poppy” hence the colorful and distinctive labels.
Their storefront tasting room is smack in the middle of downtown Los Olivos.
The high point of our visit was tasting their wonderful Sangiovese and Sauvignon Blanc.
The low point was encountering a very, very drunk couple who had
clearly “tasted” way too much wine already and proceeded to shatter
their glass on the tasting room floor. Then they walked out without
paying while the horrified staff cleaned up the mess.
Not cool, drunk couple. Not cool.
The most unusual experience of the trip was our private tasting of
Jonata wines. Jonata is the sister project of the legendary (and
impossible to get, even at thousands of dollars per bottle) Screaming
Eagle. The Screaming Eagle philosophy of wine making at a mere fraction of the price!
Jonata does not have a tasting room. You have to make an appointment
and you have to be really good at navigation. The wine storage facility
in which the tasting takes place is in an unmarked warehouse in the
middle of an industrial park. Very mysterious but worth the trouble!
We tasted about ten wines including the El Desafio de Jonata Cabernet
and their red blend, aptly named Todos because it includes every
varietal they grow. Each wine was just as delicious as the last.
Santa Barbara wine tasting is a delightful experience. From the
larger wineries with on-site tasting rooms like Foxen and Fess Parker to
the “by appointment only” tasting in the Jonata storage facility, the
experiences – and the wine! – are worth the trip.
Thanks for stopping by,
Thank you SO much for guest posting, Mo...I just added Santa Barbara to MY bucket list!