Steve and I decided to head out of town for his birthday (we won’t say how old he is because that wouldn’t be nice…) as well as conduct some research for my new novella (I am loving long fiction writing!) and we thought it would be fun to stop for an afternoon in Santa Barbara’s urban wine trail on the way up to Pismo Beach, CA.
The drive from LA to Santa Barbara was nice and easy at 11am on a Thursday. Oftentimes, it can be a mess like the rest of LA traffic, but this time, it was pretty smooth the entire way. We reached the wine trail around 1:30p. We stopped at Metropulous for a chicken pesto sandwich and broccoli salad – both were very good. It’s a cute, little sandwich shop right on the edge of the wine trail. You can eat there or take your order to go (and perhaps eat at a local winery).
We opted for eating at Metropolous on their sun-drenched patio and then walked a few quick blocks down the street to the Santa Barbara Winery for some wine tasting. We remembered that SBW had a nice Syrah for $15 so we wanted to see if they still had it. Sure enough, they were still pouring the affordable 2010 Syrah and we decided to buy two bottles. This Syrah has a big fruity nose but also a substantial tannic backbone and a touch of spice to keep your palate interested. Steve also liked the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, it showed a tropical nose and had fresh, tangy acidity while having a good acid balance overall. The rest of their wines are quite lovely so it’s definitely worth stopping in.
After the SWB, we walked around the neighborhood checking out the other tasting rooms in the immediate area and decided to try Oreana. Unfortunately, Oreana is more about the atmosphere than its wine. we enjoyed the lovely breeze that blowed through the tasting room but we did not enjoy their wine, most was simply too sweet and without complexity. We made a quick exit and decided to try Whitcraft Winery only to find out they are not open on Thursday (bummer).
So instead we came upon Carr Winery and decided to give it a chance. Carr has a nice tasting room and equally nice wine. We had an enjoyable tasting and nice chat with the young woman pouring the wine. She is relatively new to the wine scene and we had fun talking about all of our wine adventures over the past couple of years. At Carr, we enjoyed their Cabernet Franc.
After Carr, we decided to head to downtown Santa Barbara and check out Au Bon Climat. They specialize in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – two varietals that are usually not our favorites but we figured we would give them a shot anyway. Apparently they even received an awardfrom Wine & Spirits for one of the Year’s Best Pinot Noirs in April of 2011.
After tasting through their list they certainly did make several very good quality Pinot Noirs with distinctive character, but the bottles just didn’t get us too excited. However, if you are a big Pinot Noir or Chardonnay fan we suggest you stop by and check out what they are pouring. We did enjoy their 2012 Mondeuse Rose made from Bien Nacido Estate Plantings so we bought a bottle. It is hard to say no to a good Rose on a hot summer’s day.
After Au Bon Climat we stopped into the Margerum Wine Co., which has its tasting room right next door. They were pouring some nice whites and bolder reds, however, none really rocked our world – but to be fair it had been a long day and we knew it was time to stop tasting and head to our hotel in Pismo.
Jane booked a room at the Cottage Inn by the Sea in Pismo. It’s a nice hotel situated on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We got to our hotel around 5p and headed out for dinner to the Italian ristorante Giuseppe’s in Pismo. There was a long wait but we were finally seated an hour later and had a wonderful gnocchi dish and salad. For dessert, we tried a chocolate mousse cake and a Lucas & Lewellen Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc – probably one of the best glasses of wine we had all day!
After dinner we made our way back to our hotel, turned on the fireplace and settled in to listen to the ocean (and a little Highway 1 road noise). All in all, it was a lovely day in Santa Barbara and evening in Pismo Beach. We’ll be back!