27 Dec Santa Barbara and Los Olivos Part 1
When we got to this point in our trip we woke up feeling wined out. So…we began the day with breakfast and Aebleskivers from the Solvang Restaurant. Great service and we even ended up with an extra order of aebelskivers as the cook made one too many and our waiter didn’t want them to go to waste. The aebelskivers are like a pancake donut served with powdered sugar and a house made raspberry jam. So we filled our tummies and then decided to head to Santa Barbara and the ocean. I think after so many days driving down the coast, we were experiencing withdrawal!
The drive to Santa Barbara is relatively short, about 45 mins. It’s only about 15 min from Buellton (right next to Solvang) to Gaviota State Park and from then on you have a view of the coast for most of the drive. We parked by the beach and went for a stroll, just soaking in the ocean on the final full day of vacation. I will say that after enjoying the pristine coastline and whale watching at Big Sur, this part of the coast was disappointing. Not because of the coastline, while it is different it is still beautiful, but because of the unsightly oil rigs. The sight of them actually made me slightly nauseated. I was longing to look for whale sign, but here, I want the whales to stay far away from the coast. The thought of a spill in these waters where the grey whales migrate annually made me worry.
After our walk, we were ready for wine again. We could have tasted in Santa Barbara but on a whim decided to head to Los Olivos and the tasting rooms there. This little town has become a hub for tasting rooms interspersed with galleries and cafes. We have never actually done a group downtown tastings, typically we head to the vineyards, so this was new. The town is charming and welcoming. We headed first to Consilience who now shares a tasting room with Tre Anelli. Consilience produces Rhone Varietals and since we had tasted so many Rhones in Paso, we decided to taste at Tre Anelli who does Spanish and Italian grape varietals. The wines here were all good. From the 2010 Albarino with my favorite descriptor “languid” to the 2007 Langrein which had a deep deep nose but was surprisingly light on the palate, these were enjoyable wines with great layers. Jim in the tasting room was terrific on sharing information on the vineyards and the wines and also on the growth of Los Olivos. Consilience was the 7th tasting room in town, when Tre Anelli opened they were the 15th. Now there are over 30 tasting rooms in town. Truly you could spend several weekends just here tasting in town. Consilience and Tre Anelli are also Dog friendly, so feel free to come with your four legged friends!
From Tre Anelli we wondered up the street to Epiphany. Michael had read about them, so we stopped in. It’s a lovely tasting room and was getting busy as we arrived. It was the type of place where conversations with other tasters was open and welcomed and we enjoyed chatting with the other guests in the tasting room while we all enjoyed the wines. It’s interesting to discuss the wines and different interpretations when tasting. Again, all the wines were good! We felt like we were on a real roll for the day! The owner and winemaker here is Eli Parker yes….his family does some other wines over at Fess Parker which can be tasted at their tasting room and hotel down the street. I very much enjoyed their 2010 Grenache Blanc and 2009 Rousanne here and I loved the 2008 Santa Rita Hills Syrah. We were lucky enough to have a taste of the 2004 Hampton Syrah which is one of their library wines that had been pulled out for a tasting for a wine club member. Michael really enjoyed the 2007 Petite Sirah whose fruit is sourced from the Stagecoach Vineyard in Napa.