Santa Barbara Wineries
Off to the santa barbara area for the weekend. I've never been there and was wondering if anyone had suggestion about wineries worth visting, food worth eating in the general area (will be at the Solvang food and wine festival saturday afternoon.)
Sanford - Great pinot noir.
Lafond - New, on same road as Sanford, liked the Lafond Vineyard syrah.
Beckmen - Tasty Rhone Rangers and sauvignon blanc.
Andrew Murray - More good RRs, a bit pricey.
Koehler - Newish winery, but long history as growers, tasty sauvignon blanc.
Foley - Also good pinot, but getting a bit pricey.
A few to start with, but as you go from winery to winery, ask the folks there (especially the winemakers, if you're so fortunate to speak with them) whose work they respect.
The link below is a complete list of the area wineries.
re: Kriss Reed
Having gone tasting in the area three or four times, I think KR's list above is terrific. I would only add one vineyard--Blackjack Ranch. Of those I've tried, I found this to be the best wine up there. And I don't see their bottles around in LA. I want to stock up on a case the next time I'm in the Los Olivos area. Also, I second The Hitching Post recommendation for wines (and for steak obviously). They have several interesting pinot noir vintages which they mix themselves. If you eat dinner there, try a couple by the glass, then buy a bottle or two of your favorite.
Be sure to check out the Santa Ynez valley's wine scene... a bit north of Santa Barbara, but very close to Solvang.
Zaca Mesa - Great selection of Syrah's - see if you can get a taste of their "B3" Syrah... really good.
Gainey - right near the "airport" in Santa Ynez. Great Limited Selection Sauv. Blanc, and they occasionally make a Semillion that is really good.
Longoria - Kind of a Santa Ynez icon winemaker. Great guy, very possible that he or his wife will be in the tasting room. Does great Rhone varietals, and has a great Cab. Franc called the "Blues Cuvee" that is a great wine. If you like sweet wines, he make an excellent J. Reisling. Longoria used to be the winemaker at Gainey and during his tenure there, the sweet, crisp Reisling was one of their real signature wines... great picnic wine.
Please let us know where you went and what you thought!
I second the rec for Zaca Mesa. Also, in Los Olivos, and I'm sorry I can't be more specific, there is a small tasting room/wine shop. The local who sent us there called it "Bob's"; maybe it has some other name. Just a little shack. Had a great time tasting with Bob, and bought some local whites (viognier and don't remember the others).
Definitely hit the Los Olivos Wine & Spirits tasting room. It's in a little shack by itself at 2531 Grand Ave. (set back 1/2 mile from road) It's not a winery, but a tasting room. For the wine tasting price you get to try about 15 or so wines from wineries all over the area. It's definitely our favorite tasting room. The hosts are very knowledgable and entertaining in dry sort of way. If you're lucy you get there when nobody else is there and they really take time with you. They prefer individual tasters to come in, as opposed to large groups. They also sell all of the wines they offer in the tasting. Great place to get the really great local ports too. (The sort of have a Chowhound mentality, but related to wine.)
Below is a link to their web-site.
Whenever I go to Santa Barbara, and it has been a while as I now reside in Las Vegas (I grew up an hour south of Santa Barbara), I always make sure to go to La Super-Rica at 622 North Milpas at Alphonse Street, (805) 963-4940. They have the best Mexican food around. It is a stand with a covered patio. They also make their own tortillas. Just look for the lines and you'll know you are there.