Wineries near Santa Barbara?

Oct 6th, 2004, 12:30 PM
  #1  
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Wineries near Santa Barbara?

Which wineries should be visit during our trip to Santa Barbara? We strongly prefer reds. As we are flying home and live in a no-shipping-allowed state, we will be unable to purchase very much.
jkgourmet is offline  
Oct 8th, 2004, 07:50 AM
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ttt - need replies, please?
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Oct 8th, 2004, 08:06 AM
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Sanford is a bit north of Santa Barbara, about halfway to Santa Maria. I live a few thousand miles away, so I haven't visited them, but I've always been a big fan of their wines, especially their Pinots. www.sanfordwinery.com
FlyFish is offline  
Oct 8th, 2004, 09:15 AM
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Check out the Fess Parker winery. www.fessparker.com I haven't been to this winery, tho I had a very nice Riesling at dinner last week from here that was excellent. Cheers! ***kim***
kimamom is offline  
Oct 8th, 2004, 10:34 AM
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My husband and I just returned yesterday from a few days in SB wine country--you'll love it. We also prefer reds and they are producing some fabulous Pinot Noirs and Syrahs and other reds there. Some of our favorites include:

Rusack: We enjoyed their excellent Pinot Noir with lunch yesterday. The locals raved about their Syrah and Pinot. We drove about 4 miles from Los Olivos to their winery in Ballard Canyon. What a beautiful country drive--we saw a herd of buffalo, angus cattle, sheep,horses and even some topiary horses out there. Their shady deck under giant oaks and pretty garden is the perfect place for a picnic, fantastic mountain views! Bring your own picnic lunch--the Los Olivos Cafe makes great ones. rusackvineyards.com

Go out to the beautiful Sunstone winery outside of the city of Santa Ynez and taste their wonderful Reserve Syrah--pricey, but we thought it was worth it. Beautiful stone tasting room & wine caves here and charming picnic areas--it looks and feels like the south of France. Also well-known for their Merlot. sunstonewinery.com

We love the Curtis winery's all-Rhone wines, especially their Syrahs and Heritage Cuvee blend of rhone varietals.
The winery is on the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail and is next door to Firestone (who owns it)--it's another nice picnic spot and down the road from Fess Parker's, Zaca Mesa and Rancho Sisquoc, which makes a good Cabernet that we enjoyed.

Their are many good wine tasting rooms in Los Olivos where you can taste many of the areas best wines, especially the good small producers that don't have their own tasting rooms. We like the one at Los Olivos Cafe, Richard Longoria's (wonderful Pinot Noir), Andrew Murray, great Syrahs and Pinots. The Los Olivos Wine & Spirit Emporium tasting room and wine shop out in the field off 154 near LO has a large selection for sale and tasting.

In your travels, don't miss tasting the Di Bruno wines, their Sangiovese is outstanding. At the top of my list is Arcadian--Joe Davis used to be the winemaker for Morgan winery in Salinas, and now has his own winery. These are amazingly good reds--we picked up some of his excellent Gary's Pinot Noir.

The new owner of the Ballard Inn has opened a new tasting room there (tasting room open only on week-ends), so we missed that, but they pour Arcadian(the only place that does in the area, that I know of) and a few other good ones.

Also check out very good reds from Foley and Foxen. Hitching Post makes some great Pinots. You'll find lots more good reds in your own tastings. If you can possibly go during the week, I recommend it, it's so peaceful and uncrowded. Either way, happy sipping!





winerycat is offline  
Oct 8th, 2004, 11:39 AM
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THANK YOU, Winerycat (great name, btw). Your description and suggestions are very, very helpful, and a lovely read as well. I'm regretting more and more that we will be unable to bring more than a few bottles of wine home with us, and AZ law forbids shipping. . .

Any other suggestions for our Sun-Tues trip to SB? Restaurants? Other attractions?
jkgourmet is offline  
Oct 8th, 2004, 12:40 PM
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Has anyone been to the Wine Cask or Olie e Limone in SB? I'm considering a trip to SB for our anniversary in early December. Any opinions on Citronelle at the Santa Barbara Inn? jkgourmet, where are you staying?

The Four Seasons Biltmore looks very nice! We almost booked there last Oct. but were unable to make it. ***kim***
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Oct 8th, 2004, 12:44 PM
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thanks for all the good info, winerycat!

Can you tell us where you stayed. I'm thinking of the Santa Ynez Inn for our anniversary later this year...
Little_Man is offline  
Oct 8th, 2004, 01:22 PM
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The Fess Parker Inn & Spa also looks very nice. We'll probably choose something in Montecito on the beach. ***kim***
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Oct 8th, 2004, 02:04 PM
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jkgourmet, sorry about the wine shipping laws, I take it you're driving? Can they limit the amount you bring into AZ in your car's trunk? I'd be curious to know and how much?

In Santa Barbara, we have enjoyed Downey's very much--it's an excellent, bistro-like place, and very good food and wine. Check it out at downeyssb.com.

Also on State street, just a few doors down from Downey's is Opal, another local favorite, has a similar look. It was full last time we were in town, so we missed it, but check it out at www.restauranteur.com/opal/ Those would be my top 2 choices. Check to make sure they're open, Sun., Mon., or Tues. being nights that some restaurants are closed.

State Street has lots of fun shops and little cafes to explore. Their farmer's market was wonderful when we were there a couple of months ago--they close down much of State Street. The mission up on the hill is another nice place to explore and closeby El Encanto Hotel's patio is great for wine and appetizers. We had a delicious prawn cocktail and cheese plate there recently--the ocean views are pretty from the deck.

We had a good lunch recently at the Four Seasons Biltmore in their Patio restaurant. The food's pretty good and has a great ocean view, right across the street from the beach. I hear their Sunday brunch buffets are good. The hotel's public spaces are beautiful, old and grand. You can also eat or just have drinks in their La Sala, just off the Lobby, which is an absolutely gorgeous room. The grounds are lovely to walk and there's easy access to the beach across the street. I think the rooms were recently re-done or are still in the process of it, and aparently that was a much needed renovation.

Frankie, we looked at Santa Ynez Inn, Ballard Inn and Fess Parker's Wine Country Inn in Los Olivos, then settled on Fess Parker's because we wanted to be situated in Los Olivos, as we usually do.

Santa Ynez Inn offered us a great mid-week rate, and was beautiful with gardens and Vineyard House restaurant next door, as well as a gift shop, wine tasting room and salon/spa in the complex.

SYI is new construction, a luxurious feel, has some very nice antique pieces throughout the hotel, but we also noticed much "new" Victorian, as opposed to the real deal. That might not matter to you, but it did to us. Still, it was a very nice place and we might have stayed there, but as I said, we wanted Los Olivos to be our home base.

Hope this helps!

winerycat is offline  
Oct 8th, 2004, 02:23 PM
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How was the Vintage Room, the restaurant at Fess Parker's? Would you recommend it if you're not staying at the inn? ***kim***
kimamom is offline  
Oct 8th, 2004, 02:47 PM
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thanks winerycat. I think I know what you mean. I sorta got that feeling from the online pics...
Little_Man is offline  
Oct 8th, 2004, 02:53 PM
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jkgourmet, I've heard good things about Brophy Bros. in Santa Barbara. Maybe a SB local could help us out with some of the great places to dine in SB for a special occasion. ***kim***
kimamom is offline  
Oct 8th, 2004, 03:13 PM
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kimamom, have you considered the San Ysidro Ranch or Baccara?
Iregeo is offline  
Oct 8th, 2004, 03:19 PM
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I've never been to Santa Barbara before! Are these places nice? I've heard of Bacara before. Don't they have a REALLY nice spa there? I'll probably be starting my own thread later to get more opinions on SB.

My appetite was whetted for this place when a renter at our condo from SB left a beautiful booklet on the place. It looks like a very nice place to spend a few days for an anniversary trip in December. ***kim***
kimamom is offline  
Oct 8th, 2004, 03:23 PM
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Kim, there have been some real changes at the Vintage Room since we last stayed. Now, the inn is including a complimentary breakfast AND dinner to guests of the inn, which is a 3-course menu limited to only 2 entrees most of the week(!), 4 entrees on Thursday night only. It seems they aren't too interested in attracting non-guests.

Our first night there, we ate somewhere else in town, Brother's restaurant at Mattei's Tavern, which was excellent. The next night we ate at Vintage Room--our entree choices were Fillet of Beef or Chicken Cordon Bleu. We choose the beef dinner, the fillet was excellent, but not the soup, which was woefully underseasoned. We were pretty happy with the rest of the dinner,tho -- it being complimentary didn't hurt and the wine list was Wine Spectator-awarded with low mark-ups and not all Fess Parker wines. We found a great deal on a Morgan (Monterey county) Rhone blend we just couldn't resist. It's a beautiful, romantic place too, but way too limited for dinner for a non-guest.
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Oct 8th, 2004, 05:52 PM
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When we were in Sant Barbara, we went to a small but lovely little vineyard called Gainey. We had not been to vineyards before so I cannot compare it but we liked it very much. Here is their website: www.gaineyvineyard.com/
socialworker is offline  
Oct 9th, 2004, 10:27 AM
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Did you taste the Triada there? I've made a note to visit Gainey just to try this. Interesting, made up of Syrah, Grenache (I found an excellent Grenache in Ashland, OR this summer) and a little Viognier. I can't wait to explore the SB wine country! ***kim***
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Oct 9th, 2004, 11:54 AM
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Sorry but I don't remember which wines we tasted but they gave us very personalized attention w/a complete description of each wine we were tasting. It was a really nice experience. Hope you enjoy it!!
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Oct 11th, 2004, 08:49 AM
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Re: info requested above: Another board that I use frequently for restaurant recommendations (chowhound.com) has some very positive comments on The Wine Cask and Olio Lemone. Not so positive on Cintronelle, and accordingly, we will be skipping that one.

Re: winerycat's questions. No, we will be flying and renting a car, which makes bringing wine home very difficult. Arizona law does not allow shipping into the state to individuals, so most wineries simply refuse to do it. We have driving to CA and brought cases home in the car ourselves, and had no problem with that; however, we did 'hide' them in the trunk.
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