Jane and I decided to start off our second day in Santa Ynez wine country at our favorite spot in downtown Solvang – Wandering Dog Wine Bar. We are members of their wine club so we were happy to try a few new flights of wine and sample the charcuterie plate to start off our Sunday. Sadly the real wandering dog, Lucy, was not around when we arrived but we still had a great visit.
We really enjoyed the Lucy’s Plate consisting of cheese, meat, apricots, cranberries and nuts with our flights. Jane had the “Staff Picks” flight and I tried the “Rhone Ranger” wine flight.
For those who can’t bare to drink yet another glass of wine, Wandering Dog also offers beer tastings.
One other advantage to WDWB is their hours. Since the sidewalks of Solvang are known to roll up pretty early in the day, Wandering Dog has become a welcome spot to grab a late day glass of vino.
We then moved on to the Rusack winery for a tasting. On Ballard Canyon Road, a narrow, winding road flanked with vines we found the Rusack tasting room nestled comfortably in the trees. Their tasting fee of $9 even includes a crystal glass that you can take home as a souvenir.
We started with their 2011, Santa Barbara County Chardonnay, a nice crisply acidic white.
Another notable glass was the 2010 Sangiovese from Ballard Canyon Estate. With a subtle dryness and a soft spiciness, it’s bound to pair well with almost any food.
My favorite is the 2010 Ballard Canyon Reserve Syrah, it has a great complexity including full-bodied fruit balanced by earthy notes and a hint of chocolate.
Getting off to a late start, we found that many of the wineries were closing so we tried a new place for some wine. We heard that the Ballard Inn has a quaint tasting room that’s also open late, so we decided to check it out.
We really enjoyed the Luminesce Syrah and the Baehner V3 Meritage. We bought a bottle of each and had the Syrah back at our hotel room with a homemade spaghetti dinner. It was a very relaxing Day 2 in Solvang. We can’t wait to go back!