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Santa Barbara County Wine Tasting

Feb 12, 2007 |  Vinquire (14) |  Wine Tasting |  0 comments

We (Vinquire's John and Andy) did a quick stopover in the Santa Barbara wine region last Tues/Weds attempting to re-create some of that Sideways magic. There's a few appellations in Santa Barbara County, but we focused on Santa Ynez Valley because it is packed w/ wineries compared to the Santa Rita Hills or Santa Maria appellations.

Foxen Valley MapWe started off in town, doing tastings of dubious value from various storefronts... which quickly proved to be a futile attempt at getting some good juice. Although our host at Alexander & Wayne was kind, gracious, and fresh from New York, the wines didn't stand out. So we trucked on and wound up at the Los Olivos Tasting Room & Wine Shop which is not a winery but does "represent wineries in the area that don't have tasting rooms". Well apparently they don't have tasting rooms for a reason because the wine was horrible as was the service. Onto greener pastures ....

The countryside! So obviously this is where the real juice is, and after we warmed up to that basic tenet of wine tasting, we were off to taste the real stuff.

Tastings of note 2/6/07...

Fess Parker

Was dead when we showed up but quickly rallied a crowd -- coincidence or vinquire mojo?? Had a great time tasting, and the wines were generally of a high caliber. Andy really appreciated their 05 Chardonnay "Ashley's Vineyard", I agreed except it had a bad case of the "vanishing finish". Their 05 Santa Barbara Pinot Noir was excellent as well.


We really had a great time here. Snuck in right before the door was closed and had the place all to ourselves. Flashed our not-so-pearly whites and a business card, and our lovely host even poured us the 03 Ambassador, their high-end Bordeaux style blend. Needless to say, it is a stupendous effort and created a wonderful closing to our tasting day.

Morning wine tastings are not always the most enjoyable thing, but with such a limited amount of time, we decided to try and regroup, and do the A.M. sip and spit. We were glad we did...

Tastings of note 2/7/07...


Of Sideways infamy, this place has it together. It is pretty much a shack on the side of the road, but they've clearly focused there efforts on what counts. The wine is outstanding. Our host was clearly excited by all things wine, and between hefty pours and inciteful conversation, Foxen definitely was our favorite winery of the trip. It is safe to say that everything on the tasting menu is exceptional -- highly recommended for any Santa Ynez trip.

You could easily spend three days doing tastings across Santa Barbara wineries, but duty called (aka so we were off. Thanks Santa Ynez for the wonderful Pinot Noirs and hospitality. We will be back soon!
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