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Santa Ynez Valley winery recs

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Mrs DD is coming out to visit while I'm working here. We'll be going to the Santa Ynez area. We've been to some of the usual suspects (Firestone, Koehler, Zaca, Fess Parker) and I was wondering if anyone on this board has a favorite winery to visit. She's more of a white wine person, while I'll drink just about anything that flows downhill. Thanks!

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  1. Personally I'm a big fan of the Santa Rita Hills appelation. West of the HWY 101 from Buellton. Relatively small appelation but therefore easy to get to know. Specializing in great Pinot Noir. They also tend to do Chardonnay fairly well. Wineries to check out include Sanford, Babcock, La Fond, Melville, Hitching Post. Sea Smoke is the quitessential cult wine from SRH. No tasting room but if you can get some in a wine store or restaurant, go for it! Have a great time.

    2 Replies
    1. re: steveprez

      Great recs by Steve here, and I would add Alma Rosa to that list as well. Sea Smoke will give private tours for list members, and they are guided by Victor. He'll meet you out and the vineyard, and from what I hear, he usually brings a bottle to enjoy! Absolutely love their wines, and we've been drinking them since the '02 vintage. I prefer my Sea Smoke with some age on it, but the '03's and '04's are drinking nicely now. From '05 on need more bottle time in my opinion.

      Back to Santa Ynez, Andrew Murray would be one of my got to's for awesome Rhone styled blends, and Fiddlehead would be another option. You can't go wring with either Fess Parker or Zaca Mesa. Tercero is worth checking out as well! -mJ

      1. re: njfoodies

        Thanks for the info on the Sea Smoke "list", NJ. Just got myself added. I had been ordering jointly with a friend who's on the list in the past. Also would second Andrew Murray!

    2. it's been a while, but Foxen has been good and they have a new winery building. I haven't been there, but I hear good tales about the "wine ghetto" in Lompoc where many of the really small, but high quality wineries have their tanks and tastings. Saveur has this article -- http://www.saveur.com/article/Wine-an...

      1 Reply
      1. re: araknd

        How did I forget Foxen? Absolutely love their pinot, and their blends are nice as well! Always a crowd pleaser, and a heck of a great quality label IMHO! Great rec! -mJ

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        1. All great recs so far and I would add Cold Heaven in Buellton for viognier, Ken Brown at Terravant for Pinot, Rideau for some Spanish style wines, Prodigal for Pinot and Demetria for any of their wines. Have also heard that you can set up private tours/tastings at Clos Pepe. That's on my list for my next visit. And fyi, most of these are appointment tastings, but well worth it IMO. And you can also spend an entire day just tasting up and down Grand Ave in Los Olivos.