Cocktail Corner: 2019 World of Pinot Noir

The annual World of Pinot Noir event gathers the planet’s foremost Pinot Noir wineries and winemakers, renowned chefs, sommeliers and leading wine scholars in a weekend-long seaside celebration of this delicious and storied wine. Courtesy photo.

The annual World of Pinot Noir event gathers the planet’s foremost Pinot Noir wineries and winemakers, renowned chefs, sommeliers and leading wine scholars in a weekend-long seaside celebration of this delicious and storied wine. Courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Looking for a special gift for that special wine lover? Tickets to the 2019 World of Pinot Noir are sure to please even the pickiest palates.

Always one of my favorite wine festivals, this year’s event includes more than 200 wineries from around the globe, pairing dinners, Pinot Noir parties and expert-led seminars.

Some of the highlights include:

Exploring the New World of Pinot Noir with Elaine Chukan Brown, the American Specialist for JancisRobinson.com and a contributing writer to Wine & Spirits Magazine, leading a winemaker panel discussion and tasting exploring the exciting wines being produced in New Zealand, Oregon, Chile and California. The discussion will explore how these pioneering regions are helping shape the future of Pinot Noir.

Tasting the Signature Styles of Burgundy with David Glancy, Master Sommelier and founder of the San Francisco Wine School, focuses on identifying the signature styles of the marque region.

Local writer and Wine Enthusiast Contributing Editor Matt Kettmann will host a dozen famous winemakers during Stars of the Central Coast Dinner.

The World of Pinot Noir takes place Feb. 28 – Mar. 2 at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara. Courtesy photo.

The World of Pinot Noir takes place Feb. 28 – Mar. 2 at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara. Courtesy photo.

Burgundy Dinner: Celebrating Domaine Chanson: One of the great historic producers of Burgundy, Chanson is one of only six producers in Burgundy still remaining from the 18th century. For this five-course dinner, the host, Chanson’s Managing Director Vincent Avenal, will be selecting verticals of some of his favorite wines to pair with the menu, created by Ritz-Carlton Bacara’s Executive Chef Umit Kaygusuz. The wines will include choice vintages of Chanson’s Beaune Clos de Fèves Monopole, Savigny Lès Beaune Dominodes, Chamberton Clos de Bèze, and Beaune Cuvée de Salins Hospice de Beaune. The dinner will open with Champagne Bollinger, Chanson’s sister Champagne house.

Savoy Vineyard: The Apex of Anderson Valley with Esther Mobley, Wine Critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, exploring the wines from Anderson Valley’s famous Savoy Vineyard.

A great gift idea for any wine lover, The World of Pinot Noir takes place Feb. 28 – Mar. 2 at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara. Courtesy photo.

A great gift idea for any wine lover, The World of Pinot Noir takes place Feb. 28 – Mar. 2 at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara. Courtesy photo.

Fess Parker Dinner to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Fess Parker Winery, WOPN hosts a five-course dinner and retrospective of one of California Pinot Noir’s most pioneering and influential wine families. Members of the Parker family, as well as head winemaker Blair Fox, will be on hand to walk guests through rare library wines representing the breadth and depth of the winery’s portfolio. Chef John Cox of The Bear and Star restaurant will deliver a carefully paired menu of his signature refined ranch cuisine to complement the tasting.

The World of Pinot Noir Grand Tasting, courtesy photo.

The World of Pinot Noir Grand Tasting, courtesy photo.

In addition, there are more special winemaker dinners and seminars, an Opening Night Party, Grand Tasting events on both Friday and Saturday, and a lovely Rosé Lawn Party on the bluff Saturday as well.

The Rose Lawn Party at World of Pinot Noir at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara. Courtesy photo.

The Rose Lawn Party at World of Pinot Noir at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara. Courtesy photo.

The World of Pinot Noir takes place February 28 – March 2 at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara (8301 Hollister Ave.).

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit WorldofPinotNoir.com. Hope to see you there!

Cheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 7, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Seasonal Sips & Bites at Finch & Fork

In the Pines, photo by Michael Sharp, courtesy Finch & Fork.

In the Pines, photo by Michael Sharp, courtesy Finch & Fork.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

We got the chance to taste Finch & Fork’s seasonal cocktail menu and the late fall/early winter dinner menu, both of which are delicious!

Lead Bartender George Piperis‘s new cocktails embrace the season with sensational sippers like the Daughter of Man with copper & kings brandy, honey crisp apple, black currant, honey and eucalyptus bitters, and the Captain Jack Sparrow with jack daniels rye, chairman’s forgotten cask rum, roasted banana and blackstrap and tobacco bitters. Christmas is definitely in the air with the In the Pines cocktail, made with death’s door gin, cardamaro, cocchi torino and pine pollen, and you can’t help but smile when you taste the frothy and tasty You Got Chocolate in My Peanut Butter, made with peanut butter–washed toki japanese whisky, tempus fugit créme de cacao and peanut butter foam. The little girl in me loved Barbie’s Bath Bomb, garnished with Barbie-sized shoes and made with Hangar One vodka, rhubarb, grapefruit, and a pouf of tarragon air. So fun!

Finch & Fork's Barbie Bath Bomb, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork’s Barbie Bath Bomb, courtesy photo.

All those great cocktails helped up work up an appetite, and Executive Chef Peter Cham‘s tasty selections fit the bill to a tee. Among our favorites were the Sweet Potato Baba Ganoush, a surprising mashup of sweet and savory served with incredible housemade bread and pickled veggies. The Harissa Buffalo Wings are another favorite starter, along with hearty Mushroom Soup made with puffed​ rice, black truffle powder and chives (so aromatic and lovely!).

The Burrata & Roasted Squash with pumpkin seed pesto, pomegranate, vadovan honey and rye croutons is a mouthwatering, original variation on one of our favorite cheese dishes. As for mains, the Fresh Ricotta Cavatelli with pork cheek ragout, poblano sofrito and aged manchego is fabulous. You also can’t go wrong with the Sea Scallops. This season’s version sits on a brown butter cauliflower puree, with romanesco, pickled kumquat and crispy capers. And even better yet, a  portion of the proceeds from the scallops is donated to No Kid Hungry, a movement of teachers, chefs, community leaders, parents, lawmakers and CEOs with a shared belief: no kid in America should go hungry.

Finch & Fork Sweet Potato Babaganoush, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork Sweet Potato Babaganoush, courtesy photo.

Speaking of hunger, Finch & Fork is offering yet another way to make your taste buds sing, when Chef Cham offers a special CHAMily Holiday DinnerGather around the table for an evening that takes you back to his Cambodian roots. The multi-course, family-style dinner features traditional Cambodian cuisine, like Prahok Ktiss and Noum Prajok, served alongside truly great company. The CHAMily Dinner is Saturday, December 8 at 7 p.m. Reservations can be made for $55 per person, which includes a welcome drink from lead bartender George Piperis. Optional wine and beer pairings are available. 

Call 805/879-9100 to make your reservation. Seating is limited. Finch & Fork is located at 31 W. Carrillo St. in the Kimpton Canary

Daughter of Man, photo courtesy Finch & Fork.

Daughter of Man, photo courtesy Finch & Fork.

Harissa Wings, photo courtesy Finch & Fork.

Harissa Wings, photo courtesy Finch & Fork.

Chocolate in my Peanut Butter, photo courtesy Finch & Fork.

Chocolate in my Peanut Butter, photo courtesy Finch & Fork.

Finch & Fork Scallops, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork Scallops, courtesy photo.

Finch in the Pines, photo by Kevin Claiborne, courtesy Finch & Fork.

Finch in the Pines, photo by Kevin Claiborne, courtesy Finch & Fork.

Finch & Fork's Burrata and Cauliflower, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork’s Burrata and Cauliflower, courtesy photo.

In the Pines, photo by Michael Sharp, courtesy Finch & Fork.

In the Pines, photo by Michael Sharp, courtesy Finch & Fork.

Finch & Fork's Black Pepper Cavatelli, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork’s Black Pepper Cavatelli, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork's Daily Special Board, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s Daily Special Board, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Cheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 30, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Figueroa Mountain Brewing Celebrates 8 Years!

Figueroa Mountain 8th Anniversary Ale, courtesy photo.

Figueroa Mountain 8th Anniversary Ale, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. family on the Saturday following Thanksgiving to celebrate eight years of brewing. The Anniversary Celebration is hosted at the brewery’s Buellton headquarters, and is a family-friendly, indoor and outdoor party with food, live music, special beers, and more.

New this year is a special theme inspired by the 8th Anniversary Ale’s unique recipe. The small-batch, barrel-aged release was developed to be reminiscent of an Old Fashioned cocktail with notes of oak, vanilla, caramel, orange, and cherry. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed in their best 1920s-inspired fashion to celebrate in style.

Featuring live music from the Charles Ruggiero Trio and Echoswitch, this special party includes indoor and outdoor draft beer bars with specialty beers, an expanded and tented outdoor patio, a brewery merchandise shop, a special event “mugshot” photo scene, delicious food from The Kitchen and guest food vendors, and plenty of games and activities. In keeping tradition with past Anniversary Celebrations, there will be a commemorative keg signing and a special cask tapping of the anniversary ale. There is no admission fee, and beer and food are available to purchase a la carte. For those in the brewery’s Mug Club, there will be advanced entry to a more intimate celebration with brewery staff.

The official bottle release of Figueroa Mountain’s 8th Anniversary Ale will take place at the event, and a select few bottles will be signed by the brewery’s father and son owners, Jim and Jaime Dietenhofer.

Taster of Figueroa Mountain beers, courtesy photo.

Taster of Figueroa Mountain beers, courtesy photo.

The Anniversary celebration takes place on November 24, from 1 – 10 p.m. at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., 45 Industrial Way, Buellton. Hope to see you there!

Cheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 22, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Loquita’s Libations

Loquita's Porrón Hour takes place week days from 5-6 p.m., courtesy photo.

Loquita’s Porrón Hour takes place week days from 5-6 p.m., courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Loquita, the Funk Zone favorite restaurant that celebrates the flavors of Spain, has announced a new bar and wine club program just in time for the holiday season. 

Featuring Porron Hour, a Spanish Sherry Flight and the Loquita Wine Club, Loquita’s Bar Manager David Medina has curated these new beverage programs to enjoy at the restaurant or for your home entertaining.

“Our Porron Hour is designed to share the traditional Spanish method for enjoying wine while also offering an approachable price on some of our most popular wines by the glass. Sampling these selections from our hand-blown wine carafes create a singular experience where our guests can pour directly into their mouths from an outstretched arm. Sounds a bit crazy, but that’s Loquita,” says Medina.

Demonstrating the ancient Spanish tradition of porrón, designed for the ease sharing of wine. Photo by Daniel Julia Lundgren, courtesy Flickr.

Demonstrating the ancient Spanish tradition of porrón, designed for the ease sharing of wine. Photo by Daniel Julia Lundgren, courtesy Flickr.

Porron Hour is offered weekdays from 5 – 6 p.m. Come discover and challenge your palate with varieties of exceptional and lesser-known Spanish wines. A Porron is a traditional Spanish wine pitcher that holds .75 liters and is used predominately in the Northwestern part of Spain—Catalonia, Aragon and Valencia. Porron hour features four distinguished varietals, 2017 Avinyo “Petillant” Cava; 2017 Columna Albariño; 2017 Menguante Garnacha and 2015 Finca Torremilanos “Los Cantos” Tempranillo, priced at $20 per Porron.

Medina is also enthusiastic about the Spanish Sherry Flight.  “This offers our guests an introduction to different styles of Spanish Sherry found only in southwest Spain and they pair so well with our menu.

Loquita Sherry Tasting Flight, photo by Kate Winter.

Loquita Sherry Tasting Flight, photo by Kate Winter.

Loquita’s Spanish Sherry Flight presents this unique Spanish wine made from white grapes grown near the city of Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia, Spain. It’s produced in a variety of styles made primarily from the Palomino grape, and ranges from light white table wines to darker and heavier versions such as Amontillado and Oloroso. The flights are available nightly at the bar or table and are the perfect complement to Chef Peter Lee’s Spanish cuisine. The Spanish Sherry Flight includes four one-ounce glasses of some classics—Osborne Manzanilla, Sanlucar Barrameda; Lustau “Almacenista Obregón” Amontillado, El Puerto; Faustino Gonzalez “Cruz Vieja”, Oloroso en Rama, Jerez de la Frontera; and Barbadillo, Cream, Jerez De La Frontera,  priced at $16 per flight. 

Loquita Parron Hour, photo by Kate Winter.

Loquita Parron Hour, photo by Kate Winter.

And, with perfect timing for the holidays, Loquita launches the Loquita Wine Club. “Spanish wines are quite special and we wanted our guests to share the experience outside Loquita’s doors so we decided to offer a wine club that highlights our favorite Spanish producers,” says Medina.  Each quarter Medina selects wines from renowned regions of Spain, including world-class producers from Rioja, Priorat, Ribeira Sacra, Bierzo and the Canary Islands. Selections will showcase diverse climates, winemaking techniques, both modern and traditional, and include information about each producer and the terroir represented. Loquita Wine Club membership includes quarterly shipments of three bottles. Pricing is $75 – $95 per shipment plus tax and shipping charges.

For more information call the restaurant at 805/880-3380 or email info@loquitasb.comLoquita is located at 202 State St., 805/880-3380, loquitasb.com.

Cheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 16, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Spirited New Cocktails at The Lark for Fall

The Lark Bar at Night, photo credit by Macduff Everton.

The Lark Bar at Night, photo credit by Macduff Everton.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

The talented team at The Lark, led by Bar Manager Nicholas Priedite, has

California Rattlesnake with fennel-infused rye, yellow chartreuse, cardamom, lemon, fennel blossoms, courtesy The Lark.

California Rattlesnake with fennel-infused rye, yellow chartreuse, cardamom, lemon, fennel blossoms, courtesy The Lark.

some gorgeous new seasonal cocktails on the menu that are perfect for celebrating the change of season in Santa Barbara County.

Fall additions to The Lark’s cocktail menu include:

Jackrabbit

carrot, burnt sage, mezcal, aquavit, dry vermouth, lime

Baker Street Old Fashioned

Baker Street Old Fashioned coconut-washed bourbon, pear brandy, piloncillo, house chicory bitters with scotch rinse, courtesy The Lark.

Baker Street Old Fashioned
coconut-washed bourbon, pear brandy, piloncillo,
house chicory bitters with scotch rinse, courtesy The Lark.

coconut-washed bourbon, pear brandy, piloncillo,

house chicory bitters with scotch rinse

California Rattlesnake

fennel-infused rye, yellow chartreuse, 

Jackrabbit with carrot, burnt sage, mezcal, aquavit, dry vermouth, lime, courtesy The Lark.

Jackrabbit with carrot, burnt sage, mezcal, aquavit, dry vermouth, lime, courtesy The Lark.

cardamom,

lemon, fennel blossoms

La Vie en Rose

concord grape-infused vodka, rosemary, lillet rouge, lemon, sparkling wine 

A Night in Tunisia

apple brandy, scotch, orange, ginger, turmeric, lemon  

La Vie en Rose concord grape-infused vodka, rosemary, lillet rouge, lemon, sparkling wine, courtesy The Lark.

La Vie en Rose
concord grape-infused vodka, rosemary, lillet rouge, lemon, sparkling wine, courtesy The Lark.

Driftwood

passionfruit, Barbados rum, cacao nib, cinnamon, vanilla, lime

Kashmir

blackberry-infused reposado, cynar, byrrh, lemon

Dream Weaver

vodka, fino sherry, bianco vermouth, elderflower, castelvetrano olives

Located in a historic warehouse built in the 1920’s in Santa Barbara’s The Funk Zone, The Lark’s fresh market-driven drinks are influenced by the California

A Night in Tunisia apple brandy, scotch, orange, ginger, turmeric, lemon, courtesy The Lark.

A Night in Tunisia
apple brandy, scotch, orange, ginger, turmeric, lemon, courtesy The Lark.

climate and are designed to complement the seasonally changing menu of small and large plates by Executive Chef Jason Paluska. All fall drinks are now available through December.

The Lark (131 Anacapa St., Santa Barbara) is open Tuesday-Sunday at 5 p.m. For more information, visit thelarksb.comCheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 9, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Cheers to Chaplin’s Martini Bar

The perfect martini at Chaplin's Martini Bar, courtesy photo.

The perfect martini at Chaplin’s Martini Bar, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Looking for an intimate spot for a private tête-à-tête? The new Chaplin’s Martini Bar at the Montecito Inn offers a step back in time—to Charlie Chaplin‘s era—with a nicely curated menu of classic cocktails and a big dose of retro charm. 

Both the hour and the era are quickly forgotten when you step into this cozy lounge, which was briefly home to Frankland’s Crab & Co, is now a quietly sophisticated cocktail lounge. This new concept from Scratch|Restaurants Chef-Owners Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee has a speakeasy vibe meant to hearken back to the Montecito Inn’s early days.

The "master of ceremonies" at Chaplin's Martini Bar mixes up a variety of golden era-inspired cocktails, courtesy photo.

The “master of ceremonies” at Chaplin’s Martini Bar mixes up a variety of golden era-inspired cocktails, courtesy photo.

At the center of the room, a “master of ceremonies” shakes and stirs a clever cocktail menu– including the perfect, old school martini. Also available are the gin-focused, 1920s-era Corpse Reviver #2 (Tanqueray Gin, Lemon, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao, Kina L’Aéro d’Or), Bee’s Knees (Tanqueray Gin, Lemon, Honey), French 75 (Tanqueray Gin, Lemon, Simple Syrup, Sparkling Wine) and Hanky Panky (Tanqueray Gin, Fernet-Branca, Carpano Antica).

The French 75 at Chaplin's Martini Bar, courtesy photo.

The French 75 at Chaplin’s Martini Bar, courtesy photo.

The late 1930s provide the inspiration for Scotch and Whiskey cocktail offerings: the Rusty Nail (Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch, Drambuie, Angostura) and Vieux Carré (Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, Angostura, Peychaud’s Bitters, Carpano Antica, Vermouth Rouge, Pierre Ferrand 1840).

The Rusty Nail at Chaplin's Martini Bar, courtesy photo.

The Rusty Nail at Chaplin’s Martini Bar, courtesy photo.

From the 1940s – 1960s, Rum and Vodka cocktails are the center of attention, with the Kangaroo Kicker (Charbay Vodka, Carpano Dry), and Air Mail (Bacradi Superior, Mint Leaves, Honey Syrup, Lime Juice, Sparkling Wine).

The Air Mail at Chaplin's Martini Bar, courtesy photo.

The Air Mail at Chaplin’s Martini Bar, courtesy photo.

All of the craft cocktails are priced from $12 – $15 (a deal by Montecito standards), and a large selection of wine, craft beer and spirits are also available.   

“Margarita and I have been spending the majority of our time in Montecito at The Monarch (the excellent new restaurant at the hotel), and I have consistently been told by locals that they miss the previous bar that once occupied this space,” says Chef-Owner Phillip Frankland Lee. “I wanted to restore what many felt was absent, but with my spin; a place you’d want to get dressed up for, but where cocktails and conversation are ultimately your only focus.”        

The bar snacks available also have a retro vibe, and include French cheeses and Italian charcuterie, homemade sourdough and accoutrements; Endive Salad with candied walnuts and shaved apple; Jumbo Shrimp with a housemade cocktail sauce; Steak Tartare with cornichons, quail egg and shallots; and Local Oysters served On the Half Shell or Rockefeller style.

Oysters at Chaplin's Martini Bar, courtesy photo.

Oysters at Chaplin’s Martini Bar, courtesy photo.

It’s hard to believe that just weeks ago this place was brightly lit crab shack. The transformation is quite dramatic. Designed in collaboration with Montecito Inn Co-Owner and Designer Danny Copus, Chaplin’s design features warm tones, with wood-trimmed booths in tufted jet-black leather and dark, coffee-colored oak bar. 1960s era James Bond would be quite at home here—it feels like the perfect spot for an assignation.

“As we worked on the design, I wanted the room to feel like a secret; but one worth sharing with your friends,” Danny Copus. “Chaplin’s Martini Bar is a place where you can trade the limelight for candlelight, and we are very excited to have it here at the Montecito Inn.”

Chaplin’s Martini Bar, 1295 Coast Village Rd., Montecito, chaplinsmartinibar.com818/906-9609, open daily from 4 p.m. – midnight, without reservations.  

Cheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 26, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Brave & Maiden’s New Estate Winery and Tasting Room

Brave & Maiden Estate exterior, courtesy photo.

Brave & Maiden Estate exterior, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Wow. The breathtaking new Brave & Maiden Estate Winery and Tasting Room is definitely upscale and sophisticated. This is not your grandma’s winery for sure! This beautiful 70-acre estate, with a brand new state-of-the-art facility, brings an exceptional new wine experience to the Santa Ynez Valley.

Owner Rizal Risjad purchased the property in 2010 and, with his business partner and Managing Director, Jason Djang, established Brave & Maiden Estate in 2011.

Brave & Maiden Estate, inside winery, courtesy photo.

Brave & Maiden Estate, inside winery, courtesy photo.

“From the beginning, our vision for Brave & Maiden has been to become a world-class brand and we’ve never wavered from that,” said Djang, at a press preview event last month. “From our top winemaking team to our certified sustainable vineyard, the completion of our winery and tasting room is a giant leap towards making that vision a reality.”

The Brave & Maiden name is from the “Legend of Nojoqui,” a local version of the Romeo & Juliet story. Set at the nearby Nojoqui Falls, the legend recounts the story of star-crossed lovers who choose sacrifice over separation. According to the website, “inspired by such profound commitment, we’ve created a twofold and ambitious commitment of our own: to craft extraordinary wines and to share them with unforgettable hospitality.”

Brave & Maiden Estate exterior, courtesy photo.

Brave & Maiden Estate exterior, courtesy photo.

The 46-acre vineyard includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache and Sauvignon Blanc. Brave & Maiden is also a SIP certified sustainable vineyard dedicated to producing handcrafted, single-vineyard estate wines and red blends.

Under the direction of Winemaker and Consultant Paul Hobbs and Winemaker Josh Klapper, with Ruben Solorzano managing the vineyard, Brave & Maiden’s wines are committed to producing estate wines with the utmost level of quality and care. This attention to detail is obvious in Brave & Maiden’s new tasting room and 8,000-case production facility, which were designed by Backen, Gillam & Kroeger Architects, who are known for projects as Harlan Estate Winery, Larkmead Winery and Meadowood Napa Valley, Brave & Maiden is their first winery project on the Central Coast.

Tasting Room interior of Brave & Maiden Estate, photo by Jeremy Ball.

Tasting Room interior of Brave & Maiden Estate, photo by Jeremy Ball.

With stunning fireplaces, wood paneling and neutral earth tones, the impressive tasting room is spacious and comfortable, with indoor and outdoor seating areas and a private side area reserved for wine club members’ use. A huge sliding glass wall opens onto the expansive olive tree-filled courtyard between the tasting room and production facility, providing a great place to enjoy views of the picturesque vineyards and mountains.

Brave & Maiden offers three new wine experiences, all daily by appointment:

-a 45-minute Seated Tasting, where a dedicated host will guide guests through a curated selection of limited-production wines

-the Tour and Tasting option, offering a glimpse into the vineyard and backstage view of Brave & Maiden’s winemaking process, ending with a seated tasting

-the Tour, Tasting & Lunch, a two-hour elevated experience that includes a guided tour of the estate, followed by a seated tasting and gourmet lunch.

Brave & Maiden Estate, inside winery, courtesy photo.

Brave & Maiden Estate, inside winery, courtesy photo.

“With our new facility, our goal is to provide extraordinary experiences that are tailored to each individual guest, where they feel educated, entertained and cared for,” says Djang. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to share our journey and our wine with the community in an unforgettable experience of hospitality.”

“Brave & Maiden’s sustainably farmed vineyard is exceptional and I have no doubts the addition of the new winery and hospitality facility will further enhance and validate the brand’s presence in this world-class wine region,” shares Hobbs, who is somewhat of a legend in the winemaking world, as part of the initial team at Opus One, with a South American winemaking career that carries on today with his wines from Viña Cobos and his legendary status as the pioneer who launched malbec’s rise to fame. In additional to consulting projects, his impressive pedigree also includes being the owner and winemaker for Sebastopol-based wineries, Paul Hobbs Winery and CrossBarn, as well as his international partnerships, Viña Cobos (Cobos, Bramare, Cocodrilo, Felino), Crocus (Cahors, France), and Yacoubian-Hobbs (Armenia).

Brave & Maiden Estate exterior, courtesy photo.

Brave & Maiden Estate exterior, courtesy photo.

“We’ve invested all of ourselves in this project and are eager for guests to experience our wines first-hand. We strongly believe in the greatness of Santa Barbara County as a wine region and are privileged to be a part of it,” says Djang.

Brave & Maiden Estate is located at 649 N. Refugio Rd., Santa Ynez. For reservations, please call 805/693-2989, email reservations@braveandmaiden.com, or visit braveandmaiden.com.

Cheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 19, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Celebrate Harvest With SOMM 3, Solvang Grape Stomp and More!

Solvang Stomp, photo courtesy Santa Barbara Vintners.

Solvang Stomp, photo courtesy Santa Barbara Vintners.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

The annual Santa Barbara Vintners Celebration of Harvest events include something for just about every wine lover. From special harvest tastings, lunches and dinners with winemakers and Master Sommeliers, to a grape stomping festival and a movie premiere, the Celebration of Harvest weekend is an ideal opportunity to explore Santa Barbara County wine country,  and it’s all taking place on the weekend of October 12-14.

One of weekend’s highlights is the first public premiere of SOMM 3, the latest addition to the successful SOMM film franchise.  Premiering under the stars at the lovely Solvang Festival Theater on Saturday, October 13 at 8 p.m., under the stars, the festivities also include a post-film Q&A with cast members and Producer Jackson Myers. The premiere is being presented by Santa Barbara Vintners and Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau and net proceeds will benefit the Santa Barbara Vintners.

 

 

The story of SOMM 3—the highly anticipated follow-up to the influential films SOMM and its sequel SOMM: Into the Bottle—has been described as follows:While three of the greatest legends of wine meet in Paris to drink the rarest bottles of their careers, the best blind tasters in the world gather in New York City to settle an age-old argument about wine.  In the end, the past and present slam into each other and the results could change the world of wine forever.  The all-star cast includes some of the wine world’s most respected figures including Steven Spurrier, the man responsible for staging the 1976 “Judgment of Paris,” wine critic Jancis Robinson MW, renowned Master Sommelier Fred Dame, as well as Santa Barbara County’s own Rajat Parr, Partner/Proprietor of Sandhi and Domaine de la Côte (and a partner at Bibi Ji, Downtown Santa Barbara’s terrific new Indian Restaurant).”

SOMM 3, courtesy photo.

SOMM 3, courtesy photo.

The Celebration of Harvest schedule also includes:

Friday, October 12

Open House with futures tasting and complimentary appetizers at Lions Peak tasting room (all weekend)

Special harvest wine flight tastings at Foxen Vineyard & Winery (all weekend)

Saturday, October 13

Solvang Grape Stomp Festival, a harvest street festival in downtown Solvang complete with a traditional grape stomp where participants can taste from dozens of area wineries, dance to two live bands, drink pink in the “I Love Rosé Lounge” and purchase food from popular area eateries. Participating wineries include: Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards,  Carivintas WineryCrossHatch Winery, D. Volk Wines, Feliz Noche Cellars, Fiddlehead CellarsGrace + WineHilliard Bruce,  J. Wilkes Wines, Kita WinesLafond Winery and VineyardLarner Vineyard & WineryLions Peak VineyardsLucas & Lewellen/Toccata, Lucky Dogg WineryLumenMartellotto Winery, Melville Vineyards & Winery, Rancho Sisquoc Winery, Royal Oaks Winery Sanford Winery & Vineyards, Santa Barbara Winery, Sevtap Winery, The Sanger Family of Wines, and Twenty Mile Winery. This fun, new event takes place from 2-5 p.m. in downtown Solvang on First Street (between Mission Drive/Hwy. 246 & Copenhagen Drive).

Courtesy Santa Barbara Vintners.

Courtesy Santa Barbara Vintners.

A Harvest Lunch with winemaker Justin Willet at Tyler Winery (includes a welcome reception, wine tasting & lunch).

A Master Sommelier Dinner with Will Costello at Bien Nacido & Solomon Hills Estates.

Winemaker Dinner with Wes Hagen and J.Wilkes at Root 246.

Winemakers Greg Brewer, Lane Tanner and Dick Doré in a food pairing dinner with library pinots from Santa Barbara County at Pico at The Los Alamos General Store, by reservation only.

Lucas & Lewellen in a Winemaker Dinner with Megan McGrath Gates at Petros in Solvang.

Sunday, October 14

Live Music by Kimber Springs and Jess Jones at Riverbench Vineyard.

For additional information on events happening during Celebration of Harvest please visit: celebrationofharvest.com.

Cheers! Hope to see some of you there. Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 28, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: CA Brew & BBQ Festival

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Summer may be coming to a close, but the festival season continues. Next up, on Saturday, September 29 is the lovely, oceanfront California Brew & BBQ Festival

Featuring more than 50 top breweries, cider makers and wineries, as well top Santa Barbara chefs competing for Best BBQ honors, the Chase Palm Park Field location makes this an ideal place for a day full of sun, sea, beer, BBQ and music.

California Brew & BBQ Festival, photo by Luis Esparza.

California Brew & BBQ Festival, photo by Luis Esparza.

One2Tree, a soulful reggae band, and Neighborhood Thieves, and alternative rock and pop group, keeps the beat for this all-day feast for the senses where beer is king.

General admission includes:

  • All beer, cider and wines tastes
  • BBQ and food samples from local restaurants and food purveyors
  • Souvenir pint glass
California Brew & BBQ Festival, photo by Luis Esparza.

California Brew & BBQ Festival, photo by Luis Esparza.

Limited VIP tickets include all of the above, plus:

  • VIP Pavilion catered by Patxi’s Pizza with pizza, salads and appetizers
  • Rare brews offered in the VIP area
  • Wines
  • Oceanside seating with an unobstructed view of the stage
  • VIP Restrooms
California Brew & BBQ Festival, photo by Luis Esparza.

California Brew & BBQ Festival, photo by Luis Esparza.

For a complete list of beer and beverage vendors, click here.

For a complete list of food vendors—including BBQ competitors, who will be sampling tri-tip—click here.

California Brew & BBQ Festival, photo by Luis Esparza.

California Brew & BBQ Festival, photo by Luis Esparza.

Not only is this guaranteed to be a day full of fun, the California Brew Festival also benefits the Surf Happens Foundation, whose mission it to enrich the lives of local youth through environmental education and the sport of surfing.

Cheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

California Brew & BBQ Festival, photo by Luis Esparza.

California Brew & BBQ Festival, photo by Luis Esparza.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 14, 2019.

Cocktail Corner: Saddle Up to Hitching Post Wines

Top Row: Hitching Post Wines Exterior, Hitching Post Wines Interior. Middle: Frank Ostini and Olive deliver lunch; l-r Frank Ostini, Jami Ostini, Charlotte Hartley and Gray Hartley. Bottom: Hitching Post Wines Interior, the Hitching Post Burger and Triple Fried Fries. Photos by Rob Stark, courtesy Hitching Post Wine.

Top Row: Hitching Post Wines Exterior, Hitching Post Wines Interior. Middle: Frank Ostini and Olive deliver lunch; l-r Frank Ostini, Jami Ostini, Charlotte Hartley and Gray Hartley. Bottom: Hitching Post Wines Interior, the Hitching Post Burger and Triple Fried Fries. Photos by Rob Stark, courtesy Hitching Post Wine.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

You know the saying, “location, location, location?” Well, sometimes it takes a while for the right one to become available—but in the case of Hitching Post Wines‘ long-awaited tasting room, it was well worth the wait!  

Located right next door to the famed Hitching Post 2 restaurant in Buellton (which was so memorably immortalized in the movie Sideways), Hitching Post Wines just opened their first-ever tasting room, after almost 40 years of winemaking. The spacious new nearly 12-acre property, formerly occupied by Loring Wine Company, belongs to Frank and Jami Ostini and Gray and Charlotte Hartley. The new tasting room is housed in a mid-century farmhouse with trailing walkways and outdoor seating areas with a view of the Santa Ynez Mountain landscape—including the Ostrich Farm next door. Throughout the property are walkways and casual picnic areas that invite guests to linger over a bottle of wine while taking in the dramatic landscape. Dogs are welcome too.

Bottles on display at the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Bottles on display at the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Longtime friends, Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini have been making wines in Santa Barbara County since 1979. Hartley, a former Alaskan salmon fisherman and Ostini, chef and owner of the Hitching Post 2 Restaurant, came together through their love of wine and winemaking. Over the years what was once their backyard hobby has turned into a highly acclaimed winemaking venture, with Pinot Noir as their primary focus. 

Currently, the winery produces about 17,000 cases a year.

Outdoor seating at the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Outdoor seating at the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

The Traditional Tasting at Hitching Post Wines offers a flight of five Hitching Post Wines consisting of Pinks 2017, Hometown Pinot Noir 2016, Cork Dancer Pinot Noir 2015, Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir 2015 and Gen Red 2016, priced at $15 per guest.

A Reserve Tasting, priced at $20, includes five wines—Highliner Pinot Noir 2015, Perfect Set Pinot Noir 2015, Bien Nacido Pinot Noir 2015, Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir 2015 and Four Top  2012. The caveat of the Reserve Tasting will be its ever-changing menu featuring rare single-vineyard bottling and special older vintages of Hitching Post.

Hitching Post Wines also offers customized Private Winemaker Tastings with Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini for $60 per guest (by appointment only).

A sign welcomes visitors to the new Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room.

A sign welcomes visitors to the new Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room.

The other beauty of this location is easy access to Hitching Post 2’s Santa Maria Style BBQ food pairings. Classics from the restaurant include HP Burgers, Triple-Fried French Fries, Santa Maria BBQ Artichokes and Grilled Corn Quesadillas. Coming soon, the public will experience an expanded lunch menu served from a refurbished 1970s Vintage Airstream trailer, relocated from Seaside, Florida, and converted into a first-class Santa Maria BBQ kitchen on wheels.

In the coming months, look for the phase two restoration of the rear building into a public wine bar with an enclosed patio overlooking the river with mountain views and a natural stage, ideal for live performances. The classic Airstream trailer and Hitching Post Santa Maria grills will offer a broader menu, cooked onsite surrounding by casual seating. Also planned is a phase three restoration and remodel of the original barn that oversees the Santa Ynez Mountains specifically for private Hitching Post events.

Inside the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Inside the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Hitching Post Wines is open Sunday – Thursday from  11 a.m. – 5  p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.  Food service from The Hitching Post 2 is available from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. daily, with limited cheese and charcuterie available for purchase in the tasting room. Hitching Post Wines is located at 420 E. Hwy. 246, Buellton. 

Cheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on August 31, 2018.