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Santa Barbara Wine Tasting PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maura   

Over the past couple of months we have traveled to Santa Barbara on two different occasions entertaining members of our family visiting L.A. Santa Barbara is a great day trip from Los Angeles, being only about 90 miles north of Santa Monica. Santa Barbara has a great downtown area on the coast (check out great restaurants and shopping on State Street) and also several wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley. Although, we have only done day trips to the Santa Ynez Valley, there are several bed and breakfasts in Los Olivos, that we have been wanting to try.

Over the course of the two trips we visited four wineries but wish we could have visited many more.

Blackjack Ranch had the best overall wines on their tasting menu. The Harmonie 2002 ("Bordeaux-Blend") ($60) was my favorite wine while the Allusion 2005 (Cabernet Franc/Merlot) ($30) and the Chardonnay Wilkening Vineyard Reserve 2006 ($35) were both great as well. They allowed, recommended even, you to split the tasting menu with a friend which was a great way to taste everything while limiting your alcohol intake as the tasting included ten wines.

At the Buttonwood Winery the red wine tasting was indoors with the white wine tasting out back in a beautiful orchard which you can meander through with your tasting glasses. The 2008 Buttonwood Sauvignon Blanc ($14) was a good wine for the price but the real steal was a case of the Sibling Revelry for $60. It wasn't great but is definitely a nice wine to have around for when you're throwing a large party and have already gone through a few bottles of the good stuff.

Lincourt had the nicest staff of any of the wineries we visited. The 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Alamo Pintado Vineyard ($18) was a nice light wine that went well with the seafood dinner that we prepared that night.

The Sunstone Vineyards tasting room was definitely the most picturesque of the wineries we visited. It is located off the beaten path and definitely a hidden gem not to miss. We first sampled the white wines under tents in the courtyard before moving into the cool, dark tasting room that was a throwback to another time and place. They had a special on a half case of chardonnay ($42 for six bottles) which was a great value and has provided us many refreshing drinks for the last hot days of summer.

We'll keep you updated about our future trips north to sample the sweet nectars of the Central Coast.