Tag archives: wine tasting

La Lieff Tasting Room Opens
By Richard Mineards   |   August 30, 2022

Montecito animal activist Gretchen Lieff, who has been making wine for 17 years, has opened her first La Lieff tasting room in the Funk Zone. The 1,000-square-foot Gray Avenue locale, formerly a storage facility for the late Pierre Lafond, had a sneak preview for Tama Takahashi’s 10-year-old Inside Wine club with 37 guests to show […]

Wine is Food, Too: Julia Child-Inspired Culinary Fête a Must for Oenophiles
By Gabe Saglie   |   May 17, 2022

Santa Barbara’s big culinary takeover next week is actually two years in the making. Taste of Santa Barbara, presented by the Santa Barbara Culinary Experience in partnership with the Julia Child Foundation, was originally scheduled for May of 2020, and then the world shut down. Rescheduled to this month – May 16 to 22 – […]

Finally, Pinot: New Releases Take Tercero Wines in New Direction
By Gabe Saglie   |   May 3, 2022

“People do tell me – ‘Wait, I thought you said you’d never do pinot!’” jokes winemaker Larry Schaffer. We’re chatting inside his sleek Tercero tasting room in downtown Los Olivos. And he’s pouring me his latest release: pinot noir. Schaffer’s Tercero label has always been a bastion for imaginative, thoughtful Rhône wines. And his approach […]

Mission Accomplished: New Rusack Visitor Center Redefines the Wine Tasting Experience
By Gabe Saglie   |   March 1, 2022

I’ve discovered the perfect afternoon sipper – Rusack Vineyards just released its 2021 Boundless Mission ($28), a wine that is, quite literally, history in a bottle. The mission grape was brought over to the Americas in the 1700s by Spanish Catholic missionaries who didn’t want to go without table and sacramental wine along the way. […]

Year in Review: Wine
By Gabe Saglie   |   January 4, 2022

Wine Pioneer Jim Clendenen Passes Santa Barbara County lost one of its most prominent champions in 2021. Jim Clendenen passed away May 15 at age 68. His ebullient, electric personality was certainly a Clendenen calling card, much like his undulating blond hair and steady parade of loud shirts. “It’s funny, I always think that winemakers […]

Babcock Winds Down Summer with Vintage Market, Art + Wine Affair
By Claudia Schou   |   September 7, 2021

Expand your culinary palate this week at Babcock Winery’s Vintage Market, Art + Wine Event. Wine lovers can sip crisp or silky wines paired with savory, handcrafted dishes prepared by local catering outfit Valle Fresh. End the summer sipping rosé while shopping for unique finds for your closet and keepsakes for your home. The hillside […]

“The World’s Best Undiscovered Brand” Montecito Couple’s Label Delivers Stellar Wines
By Gabe Saglie   |   July 29, 2021

As I make my way through the private gated community, and up the driveway that snakes through Kimsey Vineyard, the wind begins to pick up in earnest. It’s 3 pm, and the breeze, in its crescendo, is making the vines sway in the bright afternoon sun. This is a regular phenomenon, it turns out — […]

Finding Its Soul: Babcock Winery Focuses on How Products Make You Feel
By Lynda Millner   |   June 24, 2021

“You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy wine and that’s kind of the same thing.” So says Bryan and Lisa Babcock, the owners of a winery in the Valley not far from Lompoc and nine miles past Buellton just off Highway 246. Bryan’s parents, Mona and Walter Babcock, purchased the 120-acre property and planted […]

Tasting Notes
By Claudia Schou   |   March 11, 2021

You can still experience the thrill of visiting a winery and taking part in its on-premise wine tasting with a handful of carefully curated wine programs offered locally. Since the onset of COVID-19, many wineries across the country have either suspended or limited in-person attendance at their tasting rooms. To compensate, some of our local […]

Pinot Noir All Month Long: Famous Annual Wine Event Goes Virtual
By Gabe Saglie   |   March 11, 2021

Pinot noir lovers normally have the first weekend in March highlighted on their calendars. After all, it’s a weekend usually dedicated to the World of Pinot Noir (WOPN), the annual gathering of winemakers and wine consumers who fete Burgundy’s most famous red grape. Launched in 2001, the event has been held at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara […]

Sense of Place J. Wilkes Wines Focus on ‘Appellation Expression’
By Gabe Saglie   |   February 18, 2021

When I launched my wine writing career in Santa Barbara some 20 years ago, Jeff Wilkes was one of the first personalities I came to know. His enthusiasm for the wines he shared with me was infectious. And his energy and sense of humor made him a fantastic wine sipping companion. Wilkes was a salesman […]

Tasting Notes with San Ysidro Ranch Sommelier Tristan Pitre
By Claudia Schou   |   December 24, 2020

Santa Barbara sunsets inspire cozying up next to a fire, winter sweaters and indulging in rich, soul-satisfying food and wine. One of my favorite wines of the season is the 2015 Jonata “Todos.”  Jonata is best known for its world-class Cabernet Sauvignon and other single varietal wines crafted from its estate vineyard in Ballard Canyon […]

Fizzle and Pop: These Bubbles Will Help You Send 2020 On Its Way
By Gabe Saglie   |   December 24, 2020

The new three-week stay-at-home order that befell California this month means Santa Barbara County’s wine tasting rooms are shuttered, again. Your own hunt for great local wines to grace the holiday table and end-of-year festivities, though, continues. So keep in mind that, while the deadline for many shipments to arrive by Christmas has passed, there’s […]

Tasting Notes with Belmond El Encanto Sommelier Jordan DeVille
By Claudia Schou   |   November 26, 2020

The holidays are all about celebrating the season and the start of a new year with family and friends. One of my favorite wine selections this season – and one to consider for your own holiday tables – is the 2016 Joyce “Massa Estate” Chenin Blanc. Joyce Vineyards is a family-run small-batch winery that began […]

A Perfect Wine: Santa Barbara Co. Label Earns Elusive 100 Point Score
By Gabe Saglie   |   October 13, 2020

Winemaker Paul Lato says, “there’s a really big gap between 99 and 100.” The celebrated vintner, a Polish native who was a sommelier in Canada before he moved to the Central Coast in 2002, has earned many coveted scores for wines under his eponymous label, along with a fervent consumer following. But 100 points for […]

Tasting Notes with Liz Harrison, General Manager of Little Dom’s Seafood
By Claudia Schou   |   September 24, 2020

Santa Barbarans know late summer well. As the dusty heat ripens the last of the summer fruits, we savor each gushing peach and musky melon. The tangy ripeness of Broc Cellars White Zinfandel (75 percent Zinfandel, 25 percent Trousseau Gris) is a shout-out to the bright sun on your hot patio. The Zinfandel grapes are […]

Tasting Notes with Rosewood Miramar Wine Director Daniel Fish
By Claudia Schou   |   September 10, 2020

Weekends are often highlighted by a great brunch outing. Sitting down with family and friends and leisurely enjoying a bottle of bubbles or mimosas with a late breakfast really does make the days off feel like the weekend. Hugh Davies and the team at Schramsberg craft this Blanc de Blancs, which loosely translates to “white […]

Tasting Notes with Daniel Fish
By Claudia Schou   |   July 30, 2020

Summer season has us firing up the BBQ and safely enjoying spectacular Santa Barbara weather with family and friends. For your enjoyment, I wanted to share a favorite wine of mine from local Santa Barbara producer Jeff Nelson of Liquid Farm Winery. Jeff has made a name for himself crafting incredible chardonnays from the region […]

Seasonal Bubbles: Local Sparkling Wines Abound
By Gabe Saglie   |   December 12, 2019

Sales of sparkling wines are on the rise right now, historically soaring between the Thanksgiving and New Year’s holidays. Sparklers connote celebration, of course. They’re a great option to have on hand for rich holiday meals, too, since the effervescence in every sip cleanses the palate of the richness in every bite. The French and […]

Experience California Missions
By Lynda Millner   |   December 5, 2019

It was truly a once in a lifetime trip! The MClub (Montecito Bank & Trust travel club) was invited by executive director/CEO David Bolton of the California Missions Foundation (CMF) to join him on a special overnight tour to Mission San Antonio de Padua and tours of Mission San Miguel and Mission San Luis Obispo […]