Monday, September 1, 2014

SYV Recommendations: The Hunt for Wonderful White Wines

Even before Mr. W and I officially moved to the Santa Ynez Valley, friends and family members who knew about our love of the area often came to us for advice on places to visit and things to do. Now that we live here, the requests have increased, so I wanted to start a series of blog posts that people can read for Maris tips and recommendations for making visits to the Santa Barbara wine country great.

Although we're locals now, we're still getting our arms around all the amazing places to eat and drink here. I'm not sure exactly how many wineries and tasting rooms there are in the valley, but as of today we've only been to 54 of them. Still lots we need to check out and many we need to revisit because it's been a long time since we've had their wines.

Last weekend, we noticed that our white wine fridge was looking severely understocked, so we went on a hunt for some good whites. We started at one of our favorite tasting rooms in Los Olivos: Epiphany. As wine club members, we get to taste for free anytime we want. Which, as you might expect, is awesome.

Epiphany was sold out of our favorite white—the 2011 "Inspiration"—but the Rhône blend of marsanne, grenache blanc, roussanne and viognier, has yet to disappoint us. Get some if you have the chance. We're also big fans of the grenache blanc, so we settled for a bottle of that to help restock the fridge.

Our second stop was right next door at Cimarone. We've really enjoyed their sauvignon blancs in the past, but this time it was their red 2012 Cilla's Blend under the 3CV label that we walked away with. Their white offering seemed a bit smaller than it was during our last visit a year or two ago.

Tre Anelli was our third stop, where I'm also a club member. Although I've long been a fan of Tre Anelli's albariño, their sister brand Conscilience's roussanne has been more to my liking of late. We picked up a bottle of the 2012—and also came home with my wine club shipment of Tre Anelli 2012 loh-Ray-roo and 2012 tempranillo.

After touring the three tasting rooms, we decided to make a run to the local market to grab a few more. We ended up with a Margerum sauvignon blanc, a Babcock chardonnay, and an Apothic white (Apothic red is one of our go-to red table wines—it's only about $9 at Trader Joe's). I'll have to write a follow-up post once we know how all these grocery store finds taste.

Although we didn't hit all of our favorite white spots, here is an additional {short} list of some of the other labels we like in the area: 
  1. Gainey—The semillion I had there in January of 2013 (not sure what vintage it was) knocked my socks off. And it's a beautiful winery. Really fun to visit.
  2. Lucas & Lewellen—Right in the heart of Solvang, this place usually always hits my white sweet spot. They always have a variety of chardonnay options and the chenin blanc they had earlier this year was so delicious. We've tried their sister tasting room, Toccata but both Mr. W and I felt that it didn't even come close to comparing to L&L. 
  3. Melville—The Verna's chardonnay has been one of my favorites over the last several years, however last time Mr. W visited, he was told they sold Verna's vineyard, so I don't know whether this yummy label will stay in production. As a sidenote, Melville has one of the most beautiful tasting rooms in town. AND, during one of our visits there, we saw Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs. Yowzah. 
  4. Byron—Good chardonnays and good pinots here. Although last time we visited, we thought we might be able to find comparable faire for less moolah. 
  5. Lincourt—Super cute little winery with a big sprawling lawn for kids to play. I know I liked the chardonnay when we tasted here, but I can't remember the vintage. They also had killer pepper jelly that we bought and ate on crostinis with cambozola from Trader Joe's. Ridiculodelicious.  
  6. Presqu'ile—We just visited this winery for the first time and I was pretty much ready to pack my bags and move in. It's up in Santa Maria, so about 30 minutes from the valley, but seriously one of the most gorgeous tasting rooms I've ever been inside. We bought a bottle of their 2013 sauvignon blanc and I loved the chardonnay—which had a massive butterscotch finish—but Mr. W wasn't on board with it. This place is SO worth the trip.
I definitely want to keep adding to the white list, as good ones seem a bit harder to find than good reds. If any of you visit and have a white that rocks your socks, please let me know! Until then, I'll do my best to keep you posted on the goodies we find. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Well, whatdya think?