One of the nice things about living in Ventura County is the close proximity to Santa Ynez. This wonderful area boasts numerous wineries along with several quaint areas to shop and dine. It’s a great place for a weekend getaway or just to spend the day. So a few weeks ago I spent a Saturday with my mother up in the Santa Ynez Valley doing some wine tasting with the ultimate goal of picking up our wine club selection at the Koehler Winery. It was a beautiful October day as we made our way up the coast toward the Santa Ynez Valley. After passing through Santa Barbara the scenery changed. We were no longer in an urban environment. A 4 lane black highway bisecting the landscape. On one side the brown rolling hills dotted with rock formations and livestock grazing on the opposite side the deep blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, oil drilling platforms rising above the water with the some of the channel islands creating a perfect backdrop. It was a glorious site. We made our way through the changing landscape, leaving the coast as the 101 took us inland up into the Santa Ynez Valley. Through the rocky tunnel up, past the Pork Palace and several farms finally exiting the highway and making our way to our first stop of the day the Shoestring Winery.
The Shoestring winery is located off the main road 246 going toward Solvang. I remember it for it’s Sangiovese. We tasted Rose, Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese, Merlot & Syrah. If you like a slightly dry Rose its great as is the Syrah & Sangiovese. It wasn’t a let down by any stretch.
Next we decided to go to Buttonwood winery. The tasting room is very charming and it happens that when we were there it was very croweded. We tasted 9 wines and the 3 winners were Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and the Trevin which was wonderful.
Along the same road toward Los Olivos is Rideau Vineyards. This is a stunning property. I love the tasting room and the surroundings. The tasting room is plush and luxurious as are their wines. We decided to go with their estate red tasting which had a collection of wonderful wines. The Mourvedre was fantastic followed by their Estate Syrah & Petite Syrah both were excellent.
After a relaxing lunch in Los Olivos we decided to go to Curtis winery to see what they had to offer. They had some wonderful paintings on the walls. You can do tastings in both the main tasting room and their larger more cavernous room that holds their stainless steel tanks. We had a nice tasting particularly their winemakers Pinot Noir. Other noteables were the heritage cuvee, viognier & Rose.
Our final stop of the day was Koehler. In all honesty one of my favorites. I am a member of their wine club and for good reason, great tasting wines at a reasonable price. Dan helped us out as usual. The tasting room wasn’t too busy since we were there on a week day. We were there to pick up wine our shipment and as is tradition do another tasting. This time the Viognier stood out for their whites. As far as reds go I love them all but my favorites for the day were the Pinot Noir & their Grenache. It was a good tasting day as it always is in Santa Ynez.