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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.
Oh how we love Pinot Noir! That beautifully fickle grape that makes a medium bodied wine with notes of fruit (strawberry, cherry, raspberry, blackberry), earth (herbal, mushroom, leather) and spice (cinnamon, clove, smoky, tobacco).  Whether from Sonoma, Napa, Santa Barbara, Oregon, New Zealand or Burgundy, Pinot Noir is a perfect food wine.
Oh how I love Pinot Noir!  With descriptors that range from black and/or red cherry, raspberry, strawberry and currant to mushroom, earth, forest, smoke, incense and spice, Pinot Noir shines when paired with food.  At the end of January, the 3rd Annual Southern California Pinot Days took place at Barker Hanger in Santa Monica.  With close to 100 producers, there were Pinots from Central Coast, Northern California, Oregon and Burgundy to taste.  With only a couple hours to taste, here are just a few of my favorites: