Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide 2019

 

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Uptown Santa Barbara, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Uptown Santa Barbara, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Downtown Santa Barbara, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Downtown Santa Barbara, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Downtown Santa Barbara, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Downtown Santa Barbara, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Santa Barbara Waterfront, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Santa Barbara Waterfront, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Montecito, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Montecito, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Goleta, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Goleta, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Santa Ynez Valley, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Best of Santa Barbara

SB Independent Best of

From the Santa Barbara Independent, October 17, 2019.

So, I had the honor of writing up the Santa Barbara Independent‘s Best of Santa winners this year. It was a huge, fun project. People were so happy to hear from me and so excited to have won! You can read the whole thing (203 winners at last count) by clicking here, or on the PDF below.

Santa Barbara Independent Best Of Oct. 17 2019_Part1

Santa Barbara Independent Best Of Oct. 17 2019_Part2

Santa Barbara Independent Best Of Oct. 17 2019_Part3

Best of Independent Cover

Sommelier Q & A Wine Wisdom

Originally appeared in 805 Living Magazine, https://www.805living.com/archive.html.

Local experts share their insider knowledge.

By LESLIE DINABERG

Wine has become synonymous with the Central Coast—but that doesn’t necessarily
mean it’s easy to navigate the plethora of local producers, not to mention the
bottles that find their way here from distant vineyards. Luckily, there’s never a shortage
of skilled vino veterans, like those here, ready to offer some purchasing pointers.

Originally appeared in 805 Living Magazine, https://www.805living.com/archive.html

Paolo Barbieri, owner, winemaker, Barbieri Wine Company, Los Olivos, barbieriwines.com, Master Sommelier

Paolo Barbieri was born in Parma, Italy, and spent more than 30 years working in the restaurant business, managing numerous world-class wine lists in Europe and later in the United States. With the help of longtime friend and winemaker Joey Tensley, Barbieri started Barbieri Wine Company, producing 375 cases in 2005 from Colson Canyon Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley. Co-owner and assistant winemaker Erin Kempe joined the business in 2007, and today the couple, now married, produce single vineyard wines and some blends under the Barbieri and Kempe wine labels.

What are some of the best local wine buys for people on a budget?

Some of the local rosés together with European whites like albarino, vermentino. Also gamay and grenache represent good values.

If money were no object, which wines from this area would you recommend?

Even though Santa Rita Hills gets the most attention for the pinot noirs and chardonnays, I think Rhône varietals, especially syrah and grenache, are very high-quality options.

What’s the most surprisingly good wine and food combination you’ve tried recently?

Saumur-Champigny, which is a cabernet franc from [France’s] Loire Valley, paired with foie gras and roasted potatoes, black truffles, and pancetta.

Originally appeared in 805 Living Magazine, https://www.805living.com/archive.html

Koen Masschelein, director of food and beverage, certified sommelier Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, fourseasons.com/westlakevillage

Koen Masschelein previously held the position of director of food and beverage at Four Seasons Sydney, Australia. His career in the international hospitality industry has also taken him to Manila, Singapore, Beijing, Abu Dhabi, New York, and Paris.

Who are some of your local wine heroes?

The pioneers, people that set out to discover and do the hard work so a lot of others could step in the path they created. Everyone knows the big names of the Northern California areas but some time from now, there’ll be a lot to say about our local pioneers as well. A hundred years ago, there was wine that was grown here but only recently modern viticulture kicked in, and I tip my hat to everyone doing their thing now as it is not the glamorous career aspiration a lot of us think it is. It’s hard work!

What local chefs are using wine in interesting ways?

Not enough. I feel like the focus in the area is more on the rise of craft breweries and beers than on wine, but it is growing. With the increasing number of good eateries, more wine comes into play as well. There remains a lot to be said about the local Malibu wine scene—which does not get enough attention—growing year after year, and they definitely deserve it. Our own chefs here at Coin & Candor, Jose Fernandez and Jesus Medina, really do appreciate a good wine pairing, so we’re off to a good start.

What local wines or winemakers are you most excited about right now?

Villa Creek is one out of Paso Robles. I also came across an Aja Vineyards 2012 Shiraz recently and was blown away by the quality of that wine. We’ll have it on pour by the glass very soon here at the hotel.

What are people from Old World wine regions most surprised to learn about wines from the Central Coast?

The fact that there are so many wineries here. Very little of it makes it out, practically none overseas, so you get to see, taste, and try very little of it until you are in the 805 area. But as always, it’s the people that make the wine and we have a bunch of really passionate and energetic people here, so when you get to try some of the individual growers, people are convinced of the quality and potential.

Originally appeared in 805 Living Magazine, https://www.805living.com/archive.html

Ali Rush Carscaden, owner, certified advanced sommelier, 15c Wine Shop and Bar, Templeton, 15degreescwines.com

Ali Rush Carscaden got her start with a job in the tasting room at Castoro Cellars in Paso Robles and later, armed with a master’s degree in agriculture, worked in sales for Eberle Winery, also in Paso, and as a fine wine specialist for the Henry Wine Group. She founded 15c Wine Shop and Bar in 2007 and enjoys leading special trips to France and Spain to enjoy the fruits of her passion’s labor.

Who are some of your local wine heroes?

I am a huge fan and supporter of females in the industry, including Jordan Fiorentini, an amazing winemaker for Epoch Estate Wines. She is sweet and humble with an amazing energy and charisma. Amy Butler, affectionately known as Calamity Jane, is a winemaker for her own label, Ranchero Cellars, and is also a very sought-after consulting winemaker for many labels. Stephanie Terrizzi, a mother of twins and viticulturist, also has an incredible fresh pasta shop called Etto Pastificio in Tin City. All these women are very driven, successful, and manage to balance life including families, work, and health.

What are some unique wine-education or wine-pairing experiences you would recommend to people in this area?

I teach a six-week wine-university wine-education course that goes over all the major wine regions of the world and includes blind tastings and food pairings. Ian Adamo at Somm’s Kitchen does a great job, as well as my friend Jenna Congdon, who does pop-up wine school classes at SLO Provisions on Sundays. Also, by appointment only, L’Aventure Winery does a great food pairing and tasting.

How is wine being used with food in interesting ways locally?

At 15c we do some pretty fun pizza and wine pairings as well as our drunken mushroom dish cooked in a wine reduction. Also, we do a frosé—a frozen rosé slushy.

If money were no object, which wines from this area would you recommend?

Ledge reds, Scar of the Sea single vineyard varieties, El Lugar Pinot Noir, Tablas Creek Esprit, and The Farm Cardinal.

What’s the most surprisingly good wine and food combination you’ve tried recently?

I was in Málaga and tasted a dry muscatel paired with the freshest seafood ever: cuttlefish and fried baby shrimp that look like french fries with eyes.

What are people from Old World wine regions most surprised to learn about the wines of the Central Coast?

I think that the alcohol in some of our wines gives us a bad rap in the Old World, but once they taste the wines and see how well balanced some of them are, they are blown away.

Jill Tweedie

Originally appeared in 805 Living Magazine, https://www.805living.com/archive.html

Jill Tweedie, owner, Breakaway Tours and Event Planning, Central Coast, breakaway-tours.com

When Jill Tweedie founded her company in 1995, it was long before the Central Coast was popular as a wine region. She’s a Level 1 Sommelier and WSET [Wine & Spirit Education Trust] Level II in Wine & Spirits.

Who are some of your local wine heroes?

Women winemakers. Women sommeliers for that matter, too. When I began my career in wine 24 years ago, women were primarily in the hospitality side, not production, vineyard management, owners, nor somms. Now, 10 percent of the more than 4,000 wineries in California are led by women. They inspire me with their finesse, passion, talent, dedication, and persistence.

Cheers to a few of my faves, in no particular order: Jordan Fiorentini, Epoch Estate Wines; Amy Butler, Ranchero Cellars, LXV, and Pelletiere Estates; Janell Dusi, J Dusi Wines; Hilary Graves, Mighty Nimble; Kamee Knutson, Edna Valley Vineyard; Jill DelaRiva Russell, Cambria Winery; Karen Steinwachs, Buttonwood Winery & Vineyard; Kat Gaffney, Spear Vineyards & Winery; Lane Tanner, Lumen; and Kathy Joseph, Fiddlehead Cellars.

What are some unique wine-education or wine-pairing experiences that you would recommend to people in this area?

A few standouts are Steinbeck Wines in Paso Robles with a Crash Course Jeep tour of its 500-acre family vineyard, mostly with owner Cindy Steinbeck herself.

Also in Paso, LXV offers the unique experience of pairing to exotic spices and seasoning blends, inspired by various regions, traditions, and stories.

At Autry Cellars in San Luis Obispo, winemaker Steve Autry personally conducts barrel tastings of not only his big wines but of his brandy as well.

The Coastline Tour at Presqu’ile in Santa Maria includes seasonal culinary pairings, an estate and cave tour, and finishes with a side-by-side tasting of single-vineyard pinot noirs.

If money were no object, which wines from this area would you recommend?

Jonata, located in Ballard Canyon AVA, Santa Ynez Valley, a sister winery to Screaming Eagle. Matt Dees, a natural-born winemaker, along with Drew Pickering, makes exceptional wine. I’m a fool for cool climate syrah and blends. The Ballard Canyon AVA is so interesting to me not only for its distinct terroir but also because it’s America’s only syrah-focused appellation.

What local wines or winemakers are you most excited about right now?

I’m a big fan of Carhartt Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley. Brooke Carhartt, a self-made winemaker, with her first vintage in 1998, is not only talented but the loveliest of people. I find their wines extremely balanced with great structure. Coupled with Old World alcohol levels, they hit my all my markers. For collectors, visiting the ranch (by appointment only) is an experience not to be missed. Its hospitality is as top-shelf as its wines, which are soldexclusively through the tasting room and online.

What’s the most surprisingly good wine and food combination you’ve tried recently?

Claiborne & Churchill of San Luis Obispo is one of my favorite producers for my go-to summer wines. I repeatedly vacillate between its riesling and gewürztraminer, both dry, complex, and refreshing. We recently enjoyed its Estate 2016 Riesling with a beautiful chilled peach soup. Perhaps not a surprising pairing but on a warm evening at Lake San Antonio, nothing is finer.

Kristen Shubert

Originally appeared in 805 Living Magazine, https://www.805living.com/archive.html

Kristen Shubert, owner, sommelier, founder of Wine Wars, 2018 Wine Tasting U.S. Open champion, VinTura Tasting Room & Wine Rack, Ventura, vinturatastingroom.com

Kristen Shubert was a member of the U.S. team that placed third at the World Wine Tasting Championship in Provence, France, in October 2016, and she was the first woman on the team. As the owner of VinTura Tasting Room, she currently presides over 72 types of wine served by the taste, glass, flight, or bottle.

Who are some of your local wine heroes?

Matt and Elissa Lester, owners of Lester Family Cellars, and Eddie and Stephanie Schwartz from Labyrinth Winery are my heroes because they are mom-and-pop start-up wineries. They knew they wanted to create their own wines and found a way to make that happen in Ventura. They are all the most incredibly down-to-earth people who will talk wine with anyone who walks into their tasting room. Matt Lester is also very knowledgeable about winemaking and sponsors a small group of home winemakers in the L.A. area.

Richard Sanford is a legend in the Central Coast area. We call him the Grape Whisperer. He was the first to plant pinot noir in 1971, realizing the weather patterns of the CentralCoast were ideal for the grape. He was instrumental in creating AVAs in the area.

What are some unique wine-education and wine-pairing experiences that you would recommend to people in this area?

Karen Stuart at Four Brix has created wine and cheese–pairing events with local cheesemonger Fritz Leon. They create custom pairings with the Four Brix wines and cheeses from around the world. At these events, Fritz lectures about the origins, history, and traits of the cheeses.

As far as educational experiences, Labyrinth Winery has a class each month that features wine pairings or wines from selected countries accompanied by tasting and a brief lecture by sommelier Greg Leon.

What local chefs are using wine in interesting ways?

Café Zack offers wine dinners that are limited in attendance, so everyone receives attention. They have excellent pairings from favorite wineries like Justin. Their next wine dinner features the wines from Laetitia, a real treat!

If money were no object, which wines from this area would you recommend?

There is a great sparkler at Laetitia. The grenache or any of the Rhône varietals from Tablas Creek are true to the varietal. Older Justin vintages of Isosceles, Daou Reserve Cabernet for big reds, Alma Rosa and Sea Smoke for a beautiful pinot noir, or Stolpman Ruben’s Block Syrah.

What local wines or winemakers are you most excited about right now?

McKinney Family Vineyards. Matt McKinney was a world-class volleyball player who attended UCLA but fell in love with wine when he sampled wines from around the world while competing. He has a Bordeaux style blend, Napoleon’s Secret, which is a stunner from the Santa Ynez Valley.

What’s the most surprisingly good wine and food combination you’ve tried recently?

I read about Dom Perigean Champagne and pepperoni pizza. It was actually a great combo.

Robin Puricelli

Originally appeared in 805 Living Magazine, https://www.805living.com/archive.html

Robin Puricelli, assistant director of food and beverage, sommelier, Lido at Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa, Pismo Beach, thedolphinbay.com/lido

Robin Puricelli oversees Lido at Dolphin Bay’s wine cellar of more than 900 local and international wines, each expertly selected to pair with the restaurant’s coastal cuisine.

Who are some of your local wine heroes?

Brian Talley of Talley Vineyards, Mike Sinor of Sinor-LaVallee, James Ontiveros of Rancho de Ontiveros, Ryan Deovlet of Deovlet Wines, and Coby Parker-Garcia of Claiborne & Churchill Winery, to name a few. Not only are they responsible for the success of the SLO County wine region—along with several more producers—they are the nicest people, and so humble and supporting of each other and everyone in the community. And the best part is their wines are delicious. Angela Osborne of A Tribute to Grace is also my inspiration for making beautiful, expressive grenache from several different single vineyards. Her wines are so pure and truly showcase the site. Not to mention she is a badass!

What are some unique wine-pairing experiences that you would recommend?

I’ve been challenged lately to pair red wine with fish, especially for our chef’s tasting menu, which has several seafood choices. The progression of the dishes did not match my ideas for wine progression, so I had to get creative. One would automatically think pinot noir, but I like to go farther. I paired the Field Recordings Cabernet Franc with the crab-stuffed sole in red-pepper cream sauce—that was just perfect. The dish was a heartier style, which matched well with the herbaceous cab franc.

What local chefs are using wine in interesting ways?

I love what we are doing here at Lido restaurant with our chef, Richard Pfaff. It’s inspiring to work with a chef who incorporates wine in many of his dishes and uses it to highlight the main component as well as harmonize with the featured wine pairings we offer. We are planning a Beaujolais dinner in the fall in which he will use the featured wine to make vin chaud to poach seasonal pears and accompany the warm, spiced wine drink with the dish. Our Baked Brie en Croute with a blackberry-syrah reduction can be an appetizer or a savory dessert. It pairs beautifully with the spicy Stolpman syrah blend or a port dessert wine.

If money were no object, which wines from this area would you recommend?

Alban Pandora Grenache is magical. The aromatics are wild and exotic with long-lasting flavors and pure, dense, and rich fruit. It’s a serious stunner. Saxum is a staple showstopper and the James Berry Vineyard put Paso Robles Rhône blends in the spotlight. Intensely perfumed and richly concentrated, they are always a winner.

What local wines or winemakers are you most excited about right now? We’d love to hear about some up-and-comers.

Monochrome, Hubba wines, Lady of the Sunshine, El Lugar, and Ann Albert.

What’s the most surprisingly good wine and food combination you’ve tried recently?

Our elegant and light-bodied local grenache from Locura Wine pairs beautifully with fish. The local halibut with Mediterranean couscous and stone fruit was complemented by the wine’s juicy acidity and highlighted the exotic spices and savory edge of the wine, which never overpowered the delicacy of the fish.

Hayden Felice

Originally appeared in 805 Living Magazine, https://www.805living.com/archive.html

Hayden Felice, wine director, Acme Hospitality, Santa Barbara, acmehospitality.com

As the wine director for Acme Restaurant Properties—which include The Lark, Lucky Penny, Santa Barbara Wine Collective, Loquita, and Tyger Tyger—Hayden Felice offers a knowledgeable view into the depth and breadth of the 805 wine scene.

Who are some of your local wine heroes?

Richard Sanford is a local legend. Talk about ahead of his time: He planted pinot noir in Santa Rita Hills in 1971. The vineyard is still one of the top vineyard sources in the county. He’s also one of the most patient, knowledgeable, humble, and kind people I’ve met inthe wine industry and an incredible human.

Rajat Parr and Sashi Moorman, partners in the Sandhi and Domaine de la Côte wine labels, are part of the vanguard. Raj, a brilliant but humble force of nature, brings his epic tasting ability and entrée into the greatest domaines in the world to bear on Santa Barbara County and Oregon’s Willamette Valley. He is always looking to help people in the wine community move the ball forward. He is generous with both his considerable knowledge and extremely limited time. Sashi is a passionate, reflective, sharp, and searching winemaker who executes their shared vision, focusing on biodynamic vineyard care and high-density planting.

What local winemakers are you most excited about right now?

Raj and Sashi again. Amy Christine and Peter Hunken of Joy Fantastic, Kyle Knapp at Stolpman, Justin Willett of Tyler, Wenzlau, and soon-to-be other projects, Matt Brady of Samsara, and Drake Whitcraft of Whitcraft.

What’s the most surprisingly good wine and food combination you’ve tried recently?

Sushi Bar Montecito’s 17-course omakase menu with a 1-liter bottle of Les Vins Pirouettes by Christian Binner, Le Sylvaner Glouglou d’Hubert et Christian.

What are people from Old World wine regions most surprised to learn about the wines from the Central Coast?

Wines here can be very low alcohol, crunchy, and mineral-driven.

Click here to read these stories as they appeared in 805 Living magazine, September 2019. 805 Living Sept 2019 Wine Wisdom 805 sept 2019 cover

Cocktail Corner: Fess Parker Winery’s 30th Anniversary

Rodney's Vineyard at Fess Parker Winery. Photo courtesy of the Parker Family.

Rodney’s Vineyard at Fess Parker Winery. Photo courtesy of the Parker Family.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

Marking the 30th anniversary of Fess Parker Winery, Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort honors the Parker Family-owned winery’s big milestone with an exclusive dinner, the “Fess Parker Wine Journey,” from 6 – 10 p.m. on Friday, March, 22 in the resort’s Reagan Ballroom.

It’s going to be a fun—and delicious—evening, kicking off with a video presentation and a Q&A with the Parker Family, hosted by yours truly. Since their first vineyard planting in 1987, the Fess Parker family has enjoyed a long, successful history in Santa Barbara County, helping to pioneer the region’s reputation as an international destination for wine, hospitality and discovery, as well as developing many of the county’s prestigious vineyards.

Marcy and Fess Parker. Photo courtesy of the Parker family

Marcy and Fess Parker. Photo courtesy of the Parker family

The Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard now owns and farms more than 125 acres and works with more than 700 acres in Santa Barbara County, focusing on the grape varieties best suited to the region’s unique growing conditions—Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Rhone wines—with its vintages consistently earning 90+ point ratings from top critics around the world.

Eli Parker—a founding family member and former head winemaker reflects on the occasion: “Our greatest hope is that people who have enjoyed our wines over the last 30 years will continue to enjoy them as part of their own family traditions and celebrations. Even more so, we hope that people just discovering Fess Parker wines will appreciate them as the finest expression of the beauty and bounty of Santa Barbara wine country. Continuing to work together toward this objective as a family is a real privilege.”

“We mark this anniversary with equal parts pride and gratitude – pride for the quality we have achieved with our wines in national and international markets and gratitude for the opportunity to grow our business while remaining family held. By playing to our strengths and focusing on working with the Rhône and Burgundian varietals that grow so well here, hopefully we have set ourselves up well for the next 30 years. We are fortunate to have a tremendous winemaking team under the direction of Head Winemaker, Blair Fox, who celebrates his 15th anniversary with the winery this year as well,” says winery President Tim Snider.

From coonskin cap to coonskin cap in one decade is the career of Fess Parker, shown in his costume as "Daniel Boone," March 26, 1964. Ten years ago he played Davy Crockett in a series by the same name. (AP Photo)

From coonskin cap to coonskin cap in one decade is the career of Fess Parker, shown in his costume as “Daniel Boone,” March 26, 1964. Ten years ago he played Davy Crockett in a series by the same name. (AP Photo)

Both Eli Parker and Tim Snider will be on hand at the event, along with winery co-owner Ashley Parker Snider and their daughter Greer Shull, who does marketing for the brand, which also includes the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort, as well as the Fess Parker Wine Country Inn in Los Olivos, which also houses The Bear and Star restaurant, featuring refined ranch-to-table cuisine from Chef/Partner John Cox.

“Our team is honored to host a wine and culinary celebration for Fess Parker Winery’s 30-year anniversary,” says Hilton Santa Barbara General Manager Chris Inman. “Our goal is to create a memorable evening that speaks to seasoned Fess Parker Winery fans as well as a new generation of wine lovers.”

Hilton Santa Barbara Executive Chef Mossin Sugich and his culinary team will prepare a fresh and delicious culinary adventure paired with the Fess Parker’s signature wines. The five-course wine pairing dinner menu includes:

Cocktail Hour Canapes

Poached fingerling potato, caviar and crème fraiche

Foie Gras, Brioche, Fig Jam

Beef Tartare, crostini

Amuse bouche

Black Mission Fig, Mascarpone, jamon de Parma, Sicilian pistachio

Fess Parker Rodney’s Dry Riesling 2016 and Epiphany Grenache Blanc 2017

To Begin

Spring Bounty Dégustation

Spring Onion Flan, pickled ramp, English pea puree, green garlic chips, pea tendril, black olive dirt

lemon oil

Viogner, Rodney’s Vineyard 2017

To Appreciate

Channel Islands Treasures

Spot Prawns & sea urchins, morel mushroom crème, crispy cauliflower, lemon, Tarragon

Chardonnay, Ashley’s 2016

To Continue

State Bird Roulade

Mushroom stuffed Quail, celeriac puree, celery and apple salad, almond oil

Sour Port reduction

Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills 2017

To Indulge

California Spring Lamb

Grilled fat on lamb loin, Pine nut coulis, minted & pickled green strawberries

morel mushroom, fava beans, lamb jus

Syrah, Santa Barbara County

To Conclude

Harrys Berries Strawberry Panna Cotta

Meyer lemon granita, fresh Harry’s Berries

Late Harvest Semillon 2009

All menu items are locally sourced and subject to change based on seasonal quality and product availability.

I hope some of you will join us on March 22 for this very special night honoring the Parker Family and Fess Parker’s legacy.

“Knowing that a career in Hollywood wasn’t necessarily a long-term proposition, creating a family business that all of us could participate in for generations was important to my dad,” says Ashley Parker Snider. “Before he passed in 2010, he was incredibly proud of how far we had come.”

Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort is located at 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara. For more information or to purchase a ticket, please call 805/884-8518 or email SBAFP_SpecialEvents@hilton.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!

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 1, 2019.

Cocktail Corner: Third Annual Women Winemakers Dinner

Patrons enjoy the 2018 Women Winemakers Dinner. Photo by Deborah Chadsey, In Paradise Photography.

Patrons enjoy the 2018 Women Winemakers Dinner. Photo by Deborah Chadsey, In Paradise Photography.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

International Women’s Day is coming up soon, and I can’t think of a better way to toast the occasion than by attending the third annual Santa Barbara County Women Winemakers Dinner.

I’ve been to the event every year and it’s a really delicious, heartwarming and fun evening—and it just keeps getting better and better! This year’s festivities benefit the Women’s Fund of Northern Santa Barbara County and bring together a great team of female winemakers, chefs, bakers and gourmet food purveyors. 

Taking place at K’Syrah Catering & Events (478 4th Place, Solvang, kscateringandevents.comon March 8, more than 20 female winemakers will be joined by some of the Santa Ynez Valley’s leading culinary luminaries, who are collaborating to create a four-course, sit-down dinner to pair with the wines.

In addition to the seated dinner portion of the night, this year’s event will once again feature more than 20 women winemakers at pre-dinner tasting reception, which includes passed appetizers and a cheese table.

Karen Steinwachs, Buttonwood Farm & Winery winemaker and co-founder of the annual Women Winemakers Dinner, stands back row, center, among Santa Barbara County women winemakers participating Winemakers at the 2018 event. Photo by Deborah Chadsey, In Paradise Photography.

Karen Steinwachs, Buttonwood Farm & Winery winemaker and co-founder of the annual Women Winemakers Dinner, stands back row, center, among Santa Barbara County women winemakers participating Winemakers at the 2018 event. Photo by Deborah Chadsey, In Paradise Photography.

Participating winemakers and wineries pouring in the tent for the reception are:

Marisa Matela Beverly, Bevela Wines

Karen Steinwachs, Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard

Anna Clifford and Jill DelaRiva Russell, Cambria Winery

Brooke Carhartt, Carhartt Vineyard and Winery

Sonja Magdevski, Casa Dumetz / Clementine Carter / The Feminist Party

Sandra Newman, Cebada Wine

Annie Smith, CNAGY WINES

Brit Zotovich, Dreamcôte Wine Co.

Dana Volk, D.Volk Wines

McKenna Giardine, E11even Wine

Helen Falcone, Falcone Family Vineyards

Kimberly Smith, LaMontagne Winery

Alison Thomson, Lepiane Wines

Laura Roach, Loubud Wines

Megan McGrath Gates, Lucas & Lewellen / Toccata

Lane Tanner, Lumen Wines

Gretchen Voelcker, Luna Hart Wines

Sarah Holt Mullins, Rancho Sisquoc Winery

Adrienne St. John, Rideau Vineyard

Kat Gaffney, Spear Vineyards & Winery

Angela Soleno, Turiya Wines

VIP-level tickets for this year’s event include both the tasting tent and the seated dinner, where guests will be treated to wine pairings by, and conversation with, an exclusive selection of some of Santa Barbara County’s female winemakers. A dessert reception will follow the seated dinner, where guests may continue to mingle with the winemakers.

The winemakers and wineries for the seated, VIP pairing dinner portion of the event include:

Dana Volk, D. Volk Wines
Annie Smith, CNAGY WINES
Lane Tanner, Lumen Wines
Brit Zotovich, Dreamcôte Wine Co.
Gretchen Voelcker, Luna Hart Wines
Helen Falcone, Falcone Family Vineyards
Adrienne St. John, Rideau Vineyard
Laura Roach, Loubud Wines

Chef Brooke Stockwell, Executive Chef at K’Syrah Catering & Events, will be joined in the kitchen by Baker Amy Dixon (The Baker’s Table, Santa Ynez), Chef Cynthia Miranda (The Lucky Hen Larder, Santa Ynez), Chef Golzar Barrera of the Santa Ynez Valley’s All Purpose Flower, Chef Louise Smith (Louise’s Kitchen Table and To-Go at The Castle, in Solvang), Theo Stephan (Los Olivos’ Global Gardens), Leyla Williams and the team at Solvang’s Good Seed Coffee Boutique, Lompoc’s Sweet Baking Co., Santa Ynez Valley Cheese Company and TV celebrity Chef Pink (Root 246, Solvang).

K'Syrah Catering & Events Executive Chef Brooke Stockwell (second from right), celebrates with collaborating Chefs Pink (aka Crystal DeLongpre, far right), Cynthia Miranda (center) and Alicia Valencia (third from left), after the 2018 Women Winemakers Dinner. Photo by Deborah Chadsey, In Paradise Photography.

K’Syrah Catering & Events Executive Chef Brooke Stockwell (second from right), celebrates with collaborating Chefs Pink (aka Crystal DeLongpre, far right), Cynthia Miranda (center) and Alicia Valencia (third from left), after the 2018 Women Winemakers Dinner. Photo by Deborah Chadsey, In Paradise Photography.

In a working environment that sees about 10% of the global wine industry as female winemakers, Karen Steinwachs, co-founder of the annual Women Winemakers Dinner, says, “Santa Barbara County boasts a much higher percentage of women winemakers than most places in the world, with nearly double the average.”

Tickets are available at womenwinemakersdinner2019.eventbrite.com. Tasting Tent Tickets (5:30 -7:30 p.m.), which include appetizers and wine tastings, are $50. VIP Tickets, which include the tasting tent and the seated, four-course dinner with wine pairings, are $125 (VIP level ticket seating is limited, advance ticket purchase is required).

Proceeds benefit the Women’s Fund of Northern Santa Barbara County, a giving circle where individuals combine their money and/or time so that they can have a bigger impact on the causes most important to them, than they would by individually donating. In the past three years, the Women’s Fund of Northern Santa Barbara County distributed $140,000 in grants to organizations serving women, children, the arts and the community.

This is sure to be a wonderful evening, and it’s certainly a great cause. 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 considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 22, 2019.

Cocktail Corner: Wine Country Weekend

Courtesy Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Association.

Courtesy Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Association.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

President’s Day Weekend is also Wine Country Weekend from February 15-18 in Santa Ynez Valley.

Put on by the Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Association, this four-day event is a great way to spend your long weekend.

The 13 participating tasting rooms include:

Solvang

Buttonwood Farm Winery (also celebrating the release of their NEW 2018 Grenache Rosé and Syrah Rosé)

Casa Cassara 

Carivintâs

 

Lincourt Vineyards

Courtesy Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Association.

Courtesy Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Association.

Los Olivos

Alexander & Wayne

Arthur Earl

Ca’ Del Grevino

Dreamcôte Wine Company

Santa Ynez

Kalyra Winery

Courtesy Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Association.

Courtesy Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Association.

Buellton

Alma Rosa

Buscador

Imagine Wine

tierra y vino

For the past 15 years, Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Association has put on this event. “Many Guests return every year to taste and purchase our wines as well as have great food and fun with other fellow wine lovers, ” says Ross Rankin, the association president.

“Our 13 wineries employ many from our community. New and returning guests learn about our boutique wineries and the wonderful and unusual wines we produce from Santa Barbara County. Purchasing passes for this wonderful weekend help to allow our family winery traditions to continue,” he says. 

Tickets are $65 and include tastings at each winery, complimentary small bites, a signature wine glass and wine tote. In addition, Saturday shuttle passes are available for $19 each. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here

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, blog posts and lots and lots of lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes that variety is the spice of life.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 15, 2019.

Cocktail Corner: Santa Barbara Winter Wine Walk

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

This weekend (Sunday Feb. 10, from 3-6 p.m.), is the Santa Barbara Winter Wine Walk, where guests have the opportunity for an exclusive wine and food pairing experience at the fabulous wine tasting rooms of Jamie Slone Wines, Happy Canyon Vineyard, August Ridge Vineyards and Sanford Winery.

This special event is limited to just 50 guests who will check-in and begin their experience at any of the venues, all of which are in walking distance to the others in downtown Santa Barbara.

MaxPixel courtesy photo.

MaxPixel courtesy photo.

Wine and Food Pairing Experiences Include:

Jamie Slone Wines – Enjoy a tasting of two wines, perfectly paired with delicious chocolates from Chocolats Du Calibressan. Delish! 23 E. De la Guerra St.

Happy Canyon Vineyard – Sip on one white Barrack Blanc and one red Piocho Red Blend, paired with chocolate covered strawberries! 30 El Paseo

August Ridge Vineyards – Wine and Cheese! Cheese and Wine! Enjoy two Italian varietal wines paired delightfully with two distinct cheeses. 5 E. Figueroa St.

Sanford Winery – Enjoy a glass of 2014 sparkling wine and a sampling of local artisan popcorn. 1114 State St., Suite 26.

Tickets are $48 and may be purchased on eventbrite at this link.

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, blog posts and lots and lots of lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes that variety is the spice of life.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 8, 2019.

Local Lowdown: Hitching Post Wines Saddles Up to First Tasting Room

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 recently opened its first-ever tasting room, after almost 40 years of winemaking. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

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 recently opened its first-ever tasting room, after almost 40 years of winemaking. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

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 recently opened its first-ever tasting room, after almost 40 years of winemaking.

The spacious, 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. Longtime friends, Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini have been making wines in Santa Barbara County since 1979. With Pinot Noir as their primary focus, the winery produces about 17,000 cases a year.

The other beauty of this location is easy access to Hitching Post 2’s Santa Maria Style BBQ food pairings. Coming soon will be an expanded lunch menu served from a refurbished 1970s Vintage Airstream trailer.

Hitching Post Wines, 420 E. Hwy. 246, Buellton, 805/688-0676, hitchingpost2.com.

Originally published in the Winter 2019 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Cocktail Corner: Cheers to Wine & Spirits at SBIFF

SBIFF 2018, photo courtesy Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation.

SBIFF 2018, photo courtesy Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Guests at the 34th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF)—which runs from Wednesday, January 30 through Saturday, February 9 in downtown Santa Barbara—will get an extra warm welcome from our local winemakers.

Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation is sponsoring the festival and providing wine at nightly Filmmaker’s Happy Hours and post tribute Studio Parties from member wineries, including Au Bon Climat, Brander Vineyard, Brewer-Clifton, Brick Barn Wine Estate, Cambria Estate Vineyards, Folded Hills, Hitching Post Wines, Mail Road Wines, Margerum Wine Company, Nielson Winery, Pence Vineyards & Winery and Temperance Cellars.

“This is the second year the Vintners Foundation has sponsored SBIFF and we are proud to continue our support for this showcase for filmmaking and the community education programs that SBIFF organizes throughout the year for local students,” says Katy Rogers, president of Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation, the charitable umbrella under which Santa Barbara Vintners conducts its philanthropic work.

At the Opening Night Gala on Wednesday, January 30 in Paseo Nuevo, the wines of Brewer-Clifton, Cambria Estate Vineyards and Nielson will be served.  The Gala follows a showing of the film Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike DeGruy at the Arlington Theatre.

Belvedere Vodka bar at SBIFF 2018. Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF.

Belvedere Vodka bar at SBIFF 2018. Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF.

Belvedere Vodka will also be on hand as the sole liquor sponsor of the 34th annual festival, serving signature cocktails like the Belvedere Classic Martini and Belvedere Expresso Martini, among others. Belvedere is the official sponsor of the Cinema Vanguard Award honoring Michael B. Jordan on February 7, where the brand—named “Vodka Producer of the Year” three times in a row by the International Spirits Challenge—will spotlight its “Beautiful to see. Beautiful to experience.” campaign.

Tickets for all festival events and film screenings, are available at sbiff.org. Hope to see you there. Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

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 considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 30, 2019.

Cocktail Corner: Garagiste Wine Festival

Garagiste Festival 2017, courtesy photo.

Garagiste Festival 2017, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Recently named “America’s Best Wine Festival” by USA Today, the Garagiste Wine Festival returns to Solvang February 8 – 10. “Garagistes” (pronounced garage-east) is a term originally used in the Bordeaux region of France to denigrate renegade small-lot wine makers, sometimes working in their “garages” (anything considered not a chateau), who refused to follow the “rules,” and is now a full-fledged movement responsible for making some of the best wine in the world. 

Showcasing the wines of some of California’s best small production winemakers, the seventh anniversary festival has a number of different components, including the popular “‘Original Garagiste” seminar, featuring Central Coast winemaking legend Ken Brown of Ken Brown Wines interviewed by Garagiste Festival Co-founder and KRUSH radio host, Stewart McLennan.

“We are proud to lead off our main event with a one-on-one discussion and tasting with Ken Brown—a true original ‘garagiste’ many years before micro-production winemaking became a movement,’ says McLennan.  “Ken was one of the first to recognize the cool climate potential of this region back in the 70s and to craft delicious wines from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay right here in Santa Barbara. We are looking forward to an informative and inspiring conversation as we taste some of his delicious wines.” 

Brown’s winery, Ken Brown Wines, focuses on very small lots of Pinot Noir from the finest vineyards of Sta. Rita Hills. Recognized as one of Santa Barbara County’s pioneering winemakers and innovators, he was the founding winemaker at Zaca Mesa Winery and spent 20 years at Byron Winery as well. Not only was Ken Brown among the first vintners to realize the tremendous promise for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Santa Barbara County, he was also the first winemaker to introduce the Syrah grape, as well as Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc, to the region. The “Original Garagiste” seminar runs from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 9 and will focus on how he helped shape the Santa Barbara wine scene and why he ultimately returned to small-lot winemaking. 

Winemaker Ken Brown leads off the 2019 Garagiste Festival with a one-on-one discussion and tasting. Photo by Rocco Ceselin, courtesy Garagiste Festival.

Winemaker Ken Brown leads off the 2019 Garagiste Festival with a one-on-one discussion and tasting. Photo by Rocco Ceselin, courtesy Garagiste Festival.

Dubbed a “tasting nirvana,” “strange and wondrous” and “one not to miss” by the Los Angeles Times, the Garagiste Festival is renowned for its renegade spirit, passionate winemakers, handcrafted wines and rules-breaking, anti-snobby ethos. The wines are poured directly by their makers, and it’s definitely one of the most fun—and accessible—festivals to talk to winemakers about their passion projects. 

In many cases the winemakers are employed by larger wineries but showcase their own, lovingly crafted, small batch concoctions at the Garagiste Festival. For example, Marisa Matela Beverly is Owner/Winemaker of Bevela Wines (which will be showcased at the festival), but has also been working with Au Bon Climat, Qupe and Verdad wineries since 2008.

“Under these two pioneers of Santa Barbara county wine, I try to soak up as much knowledge as I can,” says Beverly. “Over the years, this has helped fine tune my palate and path in winemaking. I am allowed all the freedom I want when it comes to the production of my wines. This helps keep Bevela Wines unique and very boutique.  The best example of influence and yet freedom is my barrel aging regime.  I saw and tasted what extended aging can do for certain Italian varieties, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to use this technique.  It is not the most cost effective—and takes a lot of floor space—but the end results are undeniable, it is worth it!”

Guests can taste those end results on Friday, February 8 at the popular “No Repeats, Rare & Reserve,” tasting, where attendees can get up close and personal with the winemakers as they share limited Club Only, Library and Pre-Release bottles and Barrel samples, and enjoy a BBQ buffet from local favorite Neighbor Tim’s BBQ.

Bevela is pouring a library selection of the Matela Teroldego (the 2010 vintage) as well as the current release (the 2012 vintage).  “We also have a special selection of 2014 Presqu’ile Syrah, only bottled in magnum and only available to our allocation list.  This wine is our silent auction item on Saturday,” says Beverly, who will be pouring her  2017 “Fractured Emergence” Chardonnay, 2012 “Matela” Teroldego, 2015 “Old Fashioned Superstition” Syrah, and 2015 “Unforeseen Alchemy” Red Blend at the Grand Tasting Event on Saturday, February 9.

The Grand Tasting runs from 2-5 p.m. showcasing over 40 winemakers pouring 150+ wines and 20+ unique varieties. Among the winemakers scheduled to pour are: Ascension Cellars, Bevela Wines, Blatty, Bodega de Edgar, Bolshoi Family Wines, Byron, Camlow Cellars, Cholame Vineyard, Cloak & Dagger Wines, Copia Vineyards, Cordon Wines, Corner Cellars, Cutruzzola Vineyards, D.Volk Wines, Dascomb Cellars, DeWit Vineyard, Dracaena Wines, Elwood Wines, Ferguson Family Winery, Golden Triangle, Greyscale Wines, Hoi Polloi Winery, Kaleidos Winery, Kimsey Vineyards, Kings Carey, Lepiane Wines, Luna Hart, Maiden Stoen, Marin’s Vineyard, MCV, Metrick Wines, Montagne Russe, Montemar Winery, Nexo, Pelletiere Estate, RF Fine Wines, Ryan Cochrane Wines, Seagrape, Sycamore Ranch, Temperance Cellars, Tercero Wines, Thomas William Fermentation Company, Torch Cellars, Volatus, and Westerly Wines

All tickets include unlimited tastes, complimentary cheese and charcuterie and a souvenir Stolzle crystal wine glass—plus a Silent Auction full of enticing wine packages which benefits The Garagiste Scholarship at Cal Poly

Dana Volk of D.Volk Wines is pouring at the Garagiste Festival, and offering special discounts to festival attendees at her nearby Solvang tasting room. Photo by Bottle Branding, courtesy D.Volk Wines.

Dana Volk of D.Volk Wines is pouring at the Garagiste Festival, and offering special discounts to festival attendees at her nearby Solvang tasting room. Photo by Bottle Branding, courtesy D.Volk Wines.

Dana Volk, Owner/Winemaker of D.Volk Wines, will be pouring on Friday (her 2016 John Sebastiano Vineyard Syrah, which is usually only available to wine club members) and Saturday. She says, “I have poured wine at many festivals in my 25 years in this business and this is by far my favorite one to show my wine at! The attendees are genuinely interested in getting to know you personally and to learn about the wines and winemaking.”

On Saturday she’ll be pouring and offering special discounts on D.Volk Wines’ 2017 Curtis Vineyard Chardonnay, Santa Ynez Valley; 2017 Grenache Blanc, Dorigo Family Vineyards, Ballard Canyon; 2017 Rosé, Camp 4 Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley; 2015 Pinot Noir, Duvarita Vineyard, Santa Barbara County; and 2016 Hampton Family Vineyard Syrah, Santa Ynez Valley.

“There is a special place in our hearts for Solvang, and for the amazing small production winemakers who pour at this venue. Solvang, and the beautiful Veteran’s Memorial Hall, lend such a charming and intimate setting for attendees to chat and taste with the winemakers and owners who will be pouring their hard-to-find wines. We love the diversity of the wines poured here, with multiple micro-climates, grape varieties and innovative blends represented.” says Garagiste Festival cofounder Doug Minnick

With the exception of the Passport Day tastings, which take place at individual wineries and tasting rooms, all festival weekend events take place at Solvang Veterans’ Memorial Hall, 1745 Mission Dr., Solvang.

Tickets are very limited, so if you want to go, you should act now. To purchase tickets, click here. Hope to see some of 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 January 25, 2019.