What’s better than a SipTember day in Los Olivos? The weather was beautiful…a nice respite from the unusual, persistent humidity that has enveloped the City of Angels for the past several weeks. Another nice food and wine journey, perfect for a late summer’s day.
Some “locals” enjoying a few “Sips”…
The first stop was the uneventful Dascomb Cellars in downtown Solvang. Unfortunately, the wines were not good representations of their varietals, in my opinion. After a nice outdoor lunch at Panino, back to Los Olivos and into Cimarone, a tasting room that opened since my July visit, in the former Tin Roof clothing boutique.
The Cimarone tasting room is easy to spot by the Union Jack and “Keep Calm” chalkboard that celebrate the owners’ British heritage. They produce two levels of wines, their 3CV “drink now” wines that are under $20 and their Cimarone Wines, also reasonably priced under $30. Varietals include Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese, Syrah and Viognier. Even though they have just opened their tasting room, Cimarone has been producing wine since 2001. www.cimarone.com
The next destination, (and a repeat visit) was at Foxen 7200, the original quirky Foxen tasting room, where I enjoyed their 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese, Cab Franc and Merlot. At this spot, the Merlot was the standout. The Cab Franc, while a nice effort, didn’t quite match up to Foxen’s outstanding 2008 Cab Franc vintage. Just down the road is their newer, larger tasting room, where I tasted the Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Rosé of Mourvedrè and 2 excellent Pinot Noirs, one from Santa Maria Valley and one from the Melville Vineyard. They also poured their beautifully balanced Cuvée Jeanne Marie Rhône blend. A few Pinots, the Merlot and the Cuvée came home with me! www.foxenvineyard.com
The last stop was the tiny tasting room of William James Cellars, housed inside the J. Woeste Garden Shop in Los Olivos. Mike, their assistant winemaker was pouring. It is so relaxing and interesting to be able to talk to a winemaker, especially at the end of the day. He poured a very nice white blend of Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay, a stainless steel Chardonnay (no oak), a few Pinot Noirs, a Grenache/Syrah Blend, and a few Syrahs. I can honestly say they were all nicely balanced, excellent expressions of their varietals, all priced under $35, with some excellent specials at $10-$15/bottle! www.williamjamescellars.com
With Mike, the assistant winemaker at William James Cellars…
Another wonderful day in Los Olivos was capped off with another great dinner at Sides Hardware and Shoes, the 2012 incarnation of The Brothers’ Restaurant which was formerly at Mattei’s Tavern. www.brothersrestaurant.com
Until next time…à votre santé!
Photos by Christine Humphrey ©2012