When I received an invitation to the Santa Barbara Vintners Festival Grand Tasting, it was the prefect excuse for a weekend getaway. The Spring Weekend Festival takes place over 4 days with the Festival Grand Tasting as the main event of the weekend.
We drove up early Saturday morning to the River View Park in Buellton. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and the temperatures were moderate with a lovely cool breeze. With over 100 wineries pouring wine, along with food and music, we strolled from tent to tent to taste some of the best wines in the region.
Our first stop was at the Clos Pepe table where winemaker Wes Hagen and his wife Chandra shared a special taste of their Brut Rose 2011. And, we also got to taste the new Lindley Pinot Noir 2011 (96 cases total) made by Jake Lindley, the cellar master at Clos Pepe.
Some of our favorite whites were the Cold Heaven Cellars 2012 Le Bon Climat Viognier and the Jaffurs 2012 Grenache Blanc.
From Flying Goat Cellars to Hitching Post to Hilliard Bruce to Samsara to Carr Wines (where we also tasted the Blanc de Noir Brut), there were lots of great Pinots to drink!
It was also a great day to drink Pink Wine! Favorites were the Kaena 2013 Grenache Rose and the Fiddlehead Cellars 2013 Pink Fiddle.
Then, on Sunday, we continued our wine journey at the open houses taking place at many of the wineries. First stop was to Pence Ranch for a BBQ, wine tasting and music in their newly opened open-air wine tasting room where we tasted the Rose of Pinot Noir and three Pinot Noirs (Estate, Uplands and Westslope).
After a little wine and BBQ, we then drove to the Lompoc Ghetto to Fiddlehead Cellars where Kathy Joseph was there to talk to guests about her wines. We started with the Bubbles 2010 Blanc de noir and then enjoyed three expressions of Saugivnon Blanc – 2010 and 2011 Happy Canyon, 2013 Goosebury and 2009 Hunnysuckle. After a quick taste of 2013 Pink Fiddle Rose of Pinot Noir, we tasted through the Pinot Noirs – starting with the 2011 Oregon Oldsville Reserve and then the 2010 Seven Twenty Eight from Santa Rita Hills. There was also the special Fiddlestix 10th Vintage Anniversary Cuvée (2009) that was made to celebrate the 10th Vintage from their Estate Vineyard, Fiddlestix. The tasting culminated with the 2010 Doyle Pinot Noir made from the best barrel from the 728 Fiddlestix Vineyard. This wine is not made every year so it was a very special treat to taste it!
After a day of wine tasting (yes, I was spitting), we hopped back in the car to return to LA. Not a bad way to spend the weekend!