Los Olivos, etc winetasting tomorrow (Labor Day)
I'm headed down for winetasting with my daughter, and am so excited! Paso Robles is great for big reds, but I am thrilled to be able to taste something different.........whites of many varieties, roses perhaps, pinot noirs.......*sigh*. But where to start?
Here is what I have gleaned from previous postings as being a place to begin:
I don't want to go too far south on this trip, and we want to have lunch somewhere )LO Cafe? Matteis?)
What about Lion's Peak? Should we go to Solvang?
I'd love ANY input..............
Here's how it went:
Los Olivos Cafe first, crowded but we got seated right away. My daughter had the Nicoise salad (fish a bit overcooked but not bad) and I had
"Pulled Lamb Braised Leg of Lamb Herbed Onion Jam and Baby Spinach
On a Brioche Bun, Natural Jus " A nicely grilled bun with some very dry lamb, a splotch of sweet onion jam (too sweet) and a clump of spinach leaves. To the side was a small bowl of 'natural jus', a pale reddish broth with some grease spots on top. Before I realized what it was supposed to be , I thought maybe it was soup? Dipped my fork tines in and tasted (no spoon) and thought, "This is way too weak and watery to be even an insipid vegetable soup....Oh, heck, this is my JUS !!" Nasty, flavorless. Good fries on the side.Those two things and one glass of wine.......$50+. Not at all worth it
Walked up the street to Consilience and Longoria. Good staff at both, and some decent wines. Jumped in the car to go to the Lompoc Wine Ghetto since I am a fan of Fiddlehead Pinot Noir and my daughter was craving LaVie Pinot. Fiddlehead was open, no others were. The tasting attendant was 'not on top of her game', let's say. Knew little about the wines and poured an OFF 1996 Pinot while telling us how awesome it was and how few cases were left. Ugh.
Decided to drive out to Rancho Sisquoch and Foxen............drove and drove and drove.........got to RS @ 4:10.......yep, they closed at 4. Tried to find Foxen, finally did...........yep, they closed at 4, too. (Tried to call but no cell signal out there.) Went home.
A disappointing day, to say the least. JM, wish I'd read your post before we went. We did, however, get a few yummy bottles that we are looking forward to enjoying at home.
Thanks for all your input!
Well darn it- glad you got a few bottles. Los Olivos Cafe is always packed, no matter what- the best time to go, is late afternoon after tasting,
We too have arrived late to Foxen- and they don't care if you are Imelda Marcos- it is all business there!! There is alot of distance to cover here- I always stree leaving early and choosing no more than 3 wineries- or else you just can't do it.
I hope next time your visit is less rushed and more relaxed- I know how easy it is to wait till 2 pm to get rollin- and end up at Foxen @ 3:55, and be flat out of luck- been there done that.
We had a great time (anytime I get to spend a few hours with the Kid, free of distractions is a good time). It was nice to expand our horizons (locally) and experience the huge range of varietals that thrive so close to home. Got a delicious Sauvignon Blanc (Happy Canyon) at Fiddlehead. Nothing like that grows in Paso Robles ;-)
You've compiled a nice list there- all are nice places to sip and enjoy. I might add Rancho Sisquoc just because it's one of the more "characteristic" yards in the valley. An old neo-hippie drama teacher of mine told stories of talking in tongues in the little church, recognizable from the logo on the label, that you'll pass on the way there...kinda funny.
Matteis is okay, but just okay. A nice place to have a drink, but you'll probably have that taken care of by the time you get there. Solvang is not the best place to finish off the day- a bit like going to Disneyland for dinner after spending the day at Universal Studios or something. Trattoria Il Grappolo, The Ballard Inn or Los Olivos Cafe.
Well- It is probably too late for you to thelp...but Alma Rosa is out on Santa Rosa rd- well away from your other choices. In fact Foxen closes at 4- and is no where near your other choices as well. Foxen is near Zaca Mesa and Sisquoc- you'd be smart to do all 3 of those- - include lunch with 3 wineries and that is a full day for most folks.
There are so manay tasting rooms in Solvang, that you could make a day of just doing them. Everyone has their opinions, but Solvang late in the afternoon is a swell place to find yourself, though if you are going to all the trouble to get here and taste in the country- why not stay in the country?
Matteis is a great place for drinks and dinner. Ballard Inn is the top tier place for us- and the prices are very reasonable for the level of service and quality of food. Grappolos, so over the wobbly tables, spotty service and dry pastas. I will never waste my money there again.
Hope you have a great day- it is going to get hot here- take alot of water, and hope you find the wine you are looking for!