Day Two - Wine Tasting Galore!

Santa Barbara Travel Blog

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Our wine shuttle bus.

Brisas Del Mar booked our wine tour for the day.  It was quite informative, but I can't really recommend it since I felt we wasted a lot of time picking up/dropping other passengers.  It would be better to book a smaller tour or hire your own driver.  I never think it's a good idea to drive (unless you have a friend who doesn't drink at all) - no point in ruining your fun with a DUI. 

Santa Barbara has 4 distinct wine regions:  Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Rita Hills, and Los Alamos Valley.  We focused on the Santa Ynez Valley.

First Stop - Koehler Winery ($8 for 6 tastings) - I wasn't particularly impressed by any of the wines - one had such strong tobacco accents, that I felt I was trapped in a smoke-filled pub!  The best thing were the cute cats that roamed around the winery.

One of the Koehler cats.

Second Stop - Roblar Winery ($10 tasting) - We tried about 5 wines here, but again nothing stood out.  We also picknicked in the back patio - sandwich, chips, strawberries and espresso brownie.  The brownie was awesome... not sure if they really sell it anywhere other than with their picnic lunches, but if you are here, try to get your hands on some. 

Third Stop (and the best stop) - Shoestring ($10 tasting) - this is a small, young winery that was started by a married couple who left their home in the east coast to pursue winemaking in the sunny state of CA.  Within a few years they began winning medals for their amazing, complex wines - quite an inspiring tale!  I was so impressed I joined their wine club.

Roblar Winery - back patio.
  We tried the 2006 Rose (very crisp, refreshing, great as an apertif), 2006 Pinot Grigio (lovely bouquet of honeysuckle and melons - I got a few bottles), 2004 Sangiovese (a Super Tuscan blend; very full-bodied and complex), 2004 Merlot (very soft and rounded) and 2004 Syrah (served with some dark chocolate - wonderful full flavors, luscious fruit)... as I'm writing this, I am thinking I should open up a bottle....If you are ever in the area, this should be a must try.  I don't think their wines are sold in stores, etc., so you have to order through them.

Final Stop - Presidio (tasting room in Solvang) - pretty good (definitely better than Koehler and Roblar) but by this time I had had enough wine, and nothing was so extraordinary to make you take notice.  They do have a nice selection of chocolates, etc.

On the ride back I napped ... and woke just in time for another happy hour!!!!  I was seriously craving guacamole so we went to a mexican restaurant on State St (sorry, can't remember the name, but they are across the street and south of Madison's) - really great guacamole and margaritas!  After eating a pound of chips I couldn't have a full dinner, but managed to eat a cheeseburger at the Habit Burger Grill - which claimed to be the best burger in town ... it was quite good, but it's difficult to say if it's the "best".

sybil says:
shoestring, eh? better than qupe's syrah?
Posted on: Dec 10, 2007
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Our wine shuttle bus.
Our wine shuttle bus.
One of the Koehler cats.
One of the Koehler cats.
Roblar Winery - back patio.
Roblar Winery - back patio.
Roblar Winery - so green and peace…
Roblar Winery - so green and peac…
Front of Roblar Winery.
Front of Roblar Winery.
Shoestring Winery.
Shoestring Winery.
Presidio Winery.
Presidio Winery.
Solvang - little danish town - tot…
Solvang - little danish town - to…
Stearns Wharf in SB.
Stearns Wharf in SB.
Happy at Happy Hour!
Happy at Happy Hour!
My lime margarita .. or one of the…
My lime margarita .. or one of th…
Chips and Fresh Guacamole and Nach…
Chips and Fresh Guacamole and Nac…