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.

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks Jan. 27-Feb. 10

Root 246's Creekstone Ranch Burger is one of the specials on the menu at Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks, taking place Jan 27 to Feb 10. Courtesy photo.

Root 246’s Creekstone Ranch Burger is one of the specials on the menu at Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks, taking place Jan 27 to Feb 10. Courtesy photo.

The Santa Ynez Valley has so many great restaurants, and the upcoming annual foodie celebration is the perfect time to check out a new one or revisit and old favorite.

Part of Visit California’s California Restaurant Month, this year’s Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks feature three-course meal deals—all $20.19—at a record 32 restaurants in the six Santa Ynez Valley towns of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, and Solvang.

Why is it two weeks long?

“We continually heard from local restaurants and from diners that the only way to improve Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks is to offer more of it,” says Shelby Sim, President/CEO of Visit the Santa Ynez Valley. “The event has been successful from year one, expanding well beyond what can be fit into just one week. It is exciting to continue to see it grow.”

Representing each of the Santa Ynez Valley’s six distinct communities, 32 restaurants will participate in Restaurant Weeks in 2019. In addition to the offerings of the Valley’s restaurants, many Santa Ynez Valley wineries will offer wine and small bite pairings in their tasting rooms for $20.19. And special lodging deals are available at hotels throughout the Valley.

“Santa Ynez Valley’s food scene is rapidly evolving in terms of both quality and quantity; it’s even challenging the region’s reputation for world-class wines. Our restaurants these days—rule,” says Sim. 

The Courtyard at S.Y. Kitchen | Photo Credit Rob Stark

The Courtyard at S.Y. Kitchen | Photo Credit Rob Stark

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks menus shine with farm-fresh examples of wine country’s seasonal bounty, with tasting menus crafted by celebrated chefs. Exemplary, and locavore, Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks dishes include S.Y. Kitchen executive chef Luca Crestanelli’s “Bird’s Nest Lasagna” (with fontina cheese, roasted butternut squash, chanterelle mushrooms), his “Fried Sous Vide Organic Egg” (with cheese fondue and chicory), and his “Saffron Gnocchetti (with butter and sage, optional bone marrow, raspadura cheese). At The Bear and Star in Los Olivos, chef/partner John Cox’s Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks menus include the likes of his “Wagyu Empanada” (with black beans and Cotija cheese), utilizing proteins pulled from nearby Fess Parker Ranch.

In Solvang, new chef de cuisine at Root 246, Crystal “Chef Pink” DeLongpré, puts her locally- and sustainably-sourced, TV chef touches on an “American Lamb Burger” (Bellwether Farms Jersey ricotta, house-pickled mustard seed, smoky tomato jam, served with fries or Chef Pink’s famous Brussels sprouts), which is destined for the eatery and lounge’s Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks menu.

Norman, courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Norman, courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

The food-centric hotspot of Los Alamos will boast chef and restaurant participants like the town’s culinary founders, chef Jesper Johansson of Plenty on Bell and chef Clark Staub at his Full of Life Flatbread enterprise; chef Drew Terp of PICO fame; chef Conrad Gonzales’ Valle Fresh; and Norman restaurant and bar, the dining and drinking component at mid-century motor lodge marvel, Skyview Los Alamos.

At Buellton’s pioneering Santa Ynez Valley food-scape player, Industrial Eats, chef/owners Jeff and Janet Olsson will celebrate the foods of—with 100% of proceeds benefitting—the People of Yemen. Yemeni dishes will comprise the bistro’s Restaurant Weeks menu, with specialties like Shourba Bilsen (lamb broth lentil soup with coriander), Hor’ee (braised beef shank with basmati rice), and Bint Al-Sahn (dough cake with honey).

Dates of participation vary by establishment, but the list of participating restaurants, wineries, and lodging properties includes:

Ballard

The Ballard Inn & Gathering Table, 2436 Baseline Ave., 800/638-2466

Buellton

Campfire Café at Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground, 180 Avenue of Flags, Buellton, 805/688-3716

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.,45 Industrial Way, 805/694-2252

Firestone Walker Brewing Co., 620 McMurray Rd., 805/697-4777

Hitching Post II, 406 E Hwy 246, 805/688-0676

Industrial Eats, 181 Industrial Way, 805/688-8807

La Tequila Mexican Restaurant, 35 W. Highway 26, 805/697-7776

Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, 555 McMurray Road, 805/688-1000

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks is taking place Jan 27 to Feb 10. Courtesy photo.

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks is taking place Jan 27 to Feb 10. Courtesy photo.

Los Alamos

Full of Life Flatbread, 225 Bell St., 805/344-4400

Norman, 9150 US Highway 101, 805/344-0080

Pico at The Los Alamos General Store, 458 Bell St., 805/344-1122

Plenty on Bell, 508 Bell St., 805/344-3020

Valle Fresh, 380 Bell St., 805/865-2282

Los Olivos

The Bear & Star, 2860 Grand Ave, 805/686-1359

Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café, 2879 Grand Ave., 805/688-7265

Santa Ynez

The Lucky Hen Larder, 1095 Meadowvale Rd., 805/691-9448

S.Y. Kitchen, 1110 Faraday St., 805/691-9794

Trattoria Grappolo, 3687 Sagunto St., 805/688-6899

Willows Restaurant & Bar, 3400 E. Highway 246, 805/686-0855

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks is taking place Jan 27 to Feb 10. Courtesy photo.

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks is taking place Jan 27 to Feb 10. Courtesy photo.

Solvang

Cecco Ristorante, 475 1st St., 805/688-8880

First & Oak, 409 1st St., 805/688-1703

Fresco Valley Café, 442 Atterdag Rd., 805/688-8857

Hill Haven Provisions, 448 Atterdag Rd., 805/691-9025

Hummingbird Restaurant, 453 Atterdag Rd., 805/403-7100

Leonardo’s Ristorante, 632 Alamo Pintado Rd., 805/686-0846

Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant & Take Out, 1992 Old Mission Dr., 805/693-2994

Mad & Vin at The Landsby, 1576 Mission Dr., 805/688-3121

River Grill at The Alisal, 150 Alisal Rd., 805/688-7784

Root 246, 420 Alisal Rd., 805/686-8681

Solvang Brewing Co., 1547 Mission Dr., 805/688-2337

Succulent Café Wine Charcuterie, 1555 Mission Dr., 805/691-9444

Toscana Pizzeria, 485 Alisal Road #163, 805/697-7445

Alma Rosa’s eco-chic tasting room in Buellton, built by Allen Construction, incorporates a 15-foot olive tree, local river stone and recycled Douglas Fir. Photo by Patrick Price.

Alma Rosa’s eco-chic tasting room in Buellton, built by Allen Construction, incorporates a 15-foot olive tree, local river stone and recycled Douglas Fir. Photo by Patrick Price.

Wineries

Alma Rosa Winery, 181-C Industrial Way, Buellton, 805/691-9395

Hitching Post Wines, 420 E. Highway 246, Buellton, 805/688-0676

Kalyra Winery, 343 N Refugio Rd., Santa Ynez, 805/693-8864

Loring Wine Company, 201-B Industrial Way, Buellton, 805/691-1300

Pence Vineyards & Winery, 1909 W. Highway 246, Buellton, 805/735-7000

Roblar Winery & Vineyards, 3010 Roblar Ave., Santa Ynez, 805/686-2603

Sunstone Winery, 125 N. Refugio Rd., Santa Ynez, 805/688-9463

 

Lodging

Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground, 180 Avenue of Flags, Buellton, 805/688-3716

Hampton Inn & Suites Buellton/Santa Ynez Valley, 600 McMurray Rd., Buellton, 805/686-1555

King Frederik Inn, 1617 Copenhagen Dr., Solvang, 805/688-5515

The Landsby, 1576 Mission Dr., 805/688-3121

New Haven Inn, 271 Alisal Rd., Solvang, 805/618-8541

Pea Soup Andersen’s Inn, 51 E. Highway 246, Buellton, 800/732-7687

Santa Ynez Inn, 3627 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez, 805/688-5588

Sideways Inn, 114 E. Highway 246, Buellton, 805/688-8448

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Week menus do not include tax, tip, or beverages, and reservations are strongly encouraged. For the latest updates, including menus and dining hours, visit www.DineSYV.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 24, 2019.

Cocktail Corner: Constellation Pop-Up at Hotel Californian

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Looking for something fun to do to chase those winter blues away. Why not check out the first-ever foodie, wine, mixology & indie music weekend at Hotel Californian (36 State St., Santa Barbara) from January 25-27.

“This is the first of a new quarterly weekend series that will bring inspiring culinary, musical and cultural experiences to Santa Barbara’s hip Funk Zone neighborhood,” says Niki Jenson, who represents Hotel Californian.  

Featuring chefs, indie musicians, vibey DJ beats and community vintners, this sounds like something that shouldn’t be missed. Highlights include Friday night’s “meet the makers” opening night reception with a vibey beats from Boom Forest, along with Bittercube Cocktails, Potek Wine and light bites.

There will be a Bittercube mixology class—the Seven Pillars of Classic Cocktails—on Saturday in Hotel Californian’s sexy new Djinn lobby bar. Bittercube is a Wisconsin-based line of densely flavored cocktail bitters that are created by hand with real botanicals, taking as long as 25 days to complete the process. 

As part of Hotel Californian's Constellation Pop Up Weekend, Bittercube co-founder Ira Koplowitz will host a mixology class, complete with cocktail tasting and curated snacks. Courtesy photo.

As part of Hotel Californian’s Constellation Pop Up Weekend, Bittercube co-founder Ira Koplowitz will host a mixology class, complete with cocktail tasting and curated snacks. Courtesy photo.

Saturday evening features a chef & winemaker reception and six-course dinner from Guest Chefs Justin Carlisle & Chris Mangless, featuring wines by Russel From of Herman Story (Paso Robles), Vailia Esh of Desparada (Paso Robles), and Dave Potter (who we just featured in the winter issue of Santa Barbara Seasons) of Municipal Winemakers (22 Anacapa St., Santa Barbara).

 

Later that night (Jan. 26) is an indie pop-up concert with Langhorne Slim, Stelth Ulvang of The Lumineers and Chris Porterfield of Field Report.

Stelth Ulvang – Clocktower (live at Scandinavia) from The Sights Of Sounds on Vimeo.

And if that’s not enough excitement, Sunday features a winemaker brunch featuring wines from Dave Potter of Municipal Winemakers.

Tickets are still available, click here to access them (choose among individual event tickets or two VIP Packages). This should be a really fun weekend. I 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 21, 2019.

 

 

Cocktail Corner: Sipping for Good

BELMOND EL ENCANTO & SUNSTONE WINERY CRAFT CUSTOM BLENDS TO BENEFIT YOUTH INTERACTIVE

Belmond El Encanto has partnered with Sunstone Winery to craft two custom blends in support of the local youth organization Youth Interactive. Photo courtesy Belmond El Encanto.

Belmond El Encanto has partnered with Sunstone Winery to craft two custom blends in support of the local youth organization Youth Interactive. Photo courtesy Belmond El Encanto.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

I’m always excited to hear about partnerships between local wineries, local businesses and local nonprofits. After all, when good wine benefits a good cause … well, it’s all good!

Most recently, Belmond El Encanto  collaborated with the beautiful, family-owned Santa Ynez Valley winery Sunstone Winery to craft two custom blends in partnership with GO Campaign to support Youth Interactive, one of my favorite local organizations that works to create youth-led businesses to help participants explore their creative and entrepreneurial talents. 

Belmond El Encanto worked directly with winemaker Bion Rice and the Sunstone team to craft each wine.

The first custom blend, released in December, is Enchanted Riviera (pictured above). It is a 2017 cuvée consisting of 50% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre. Each of the four lots used to compile this blend originated from the 28-year-old Sunstone Estate Vineyard.

The white blend, Charming Vista, will be available in early 2019. A select panel from Belmond El Encanto and Youth Interactive’s Board developed secret blends for a blind tasting at Sunstone Winery, and a Level 2 Sommelier from the winery chose the winning blend.

Youth Interactive Artist Jack Miles with his artwork that is featured on the "Enchanted Riviera" bottle. Courtesy photo.

Youth Interactive Artist Jack Miles with his artwork that is featured on the “Enchanted Riviera” bottle. Courtesy photo.

The bottle label artwork was created by Youth Interactive participant, 18-year-old La Cuesta Continuation High School student, Jack Miles. A fan of abstract art, Miles was mentored by celebrated local artist James-Paul Brown on the design.

“Youth Interactive means a lot to me. It is a safe place where I know that I can always come to and feel free to be myself and express myself. I am able to meet important people in the community and expand on my skills to become a better person,” says Miles, who hopes to find a job that allows him to utilize his talents and give back to the community.

Founded in 2012, Youth Interactive Santa Barbara  is a grassroots after school Entrepreneurial Arts Academy that bridges opportunity and social divisions by providing creative young adults from all walks of life with the keys to self-sufficiency. Sold exclusively at the hotel, Belmond El Encanto will donate five dollars from each bottle sold to the organization. 

You can also check out some of Youth Interactive’s other products at their new gallery space, the State Gallery @ YI Shop, located at 1219 State St. across from the Granada Theatre in Downtown Santa Barbara.

Sunstone Winery, courtesy photo.

Sunstone Winery, courtesy photo.

“Collaborating with both Sunstone Winery and Youth Interactive is the perfect match for Belmond El Encanto,” says Colleen Huther, General Manager of Belmond El Encanto. “Being a strong advocate for sustainability, we appreciate the environmental preservation and organic growing that is inherent with Sunstone Winery. A majority of our local community outreach efforts focus on youth, the future stewards of our planet. We can’t think of a better youth organization to support than Youth Interactive.”

Cheers to good wine and good causes! 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 18, 2019.

Cocktail Corner: Drink Pink

Both The Sisters and Nocking Point Wines Have Interesting Tales to Tell

Cheers to Rose, photo by Kaboompics.com from Pexels.

Cheers to Rose, photo by Kaboompics.com from Pexels.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

The weather may be cooling down, but the rosé trend is still warming up. I recently tried some new rosés that are worth toasting, both for their delicate sweetness and their fun back stories. 

Actress Emily Bett Rickards worked with Nocking Point Wines to create Pacific Coast Pink sparkling rose. Courtesy photo.

Actress Emily Bett Rickards worked with Nocking Point Wines to create Pacific Coast Pink sparkling rose. Courtesy photos.

Pacific Coast Pink, created by Nocking Point Wines and television actress Emily Bett Rickards (from the CW superhero show Arrow, based on DC Comics’ Green Arrow), is a sparkling rosé made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes. This  wine has delicate floral and red fruit aromas, with zesty acidity and strawberry and cherry flavors.  It was aged for 18 months in tirage and is made in the classic Méthode Champenoise style and is perfect by itself or serve with appetizers.

For Pacific Coast Pink bubbly, Bett Rickards worked on every aspect of the sparkling wine, from selecting the grapes used to inviting artist Josh Malneritch—whose work is often based on floral and skull themes—to design the wine’s logo and label. This design definitely has a lot of personality. The back of the bottle contains the instructions, “For best results, share with your best friend in a bathtub.”

Nocking Point Wines also have an interesting business model. All of them are created in partnership with select celebrities whose fans are super-engaged—think Comic-Con levels of fan-dom. Sold by subscription box only, each vintage is created by respected winemakers in collaboration with a range of celebrities such as Aquaman and Game of Thrones actor Jason Momoa, and multi-hyphenate entertainer and activist Aisha Tyler, among others. Visit nockingpointwines.com for more information about upcoming celebrity wine partners and subscription information.

The Sisters wines were created for "women who do extraordinary things every day." Courtesy photo.

The Sisters wines were created for “women who do extraordinary things every day.” Courtesy photo.

The pinot rosé from New Zealand based wine company, The Sisters, is also worth noting, both for the delicious wine in the bottle as well as the story behind the brand.

Created by the talented young winemaker from Marlborough, Rebecca Wiffen, The Sisters wines have been made in a style that is fruit-driven and balanced, and they can be enjoyed with or without food. With an innate understanding of women’s hectic lives,

The Sisters is all about celebrating what women achieve and the girlfriends who lift each other up during those times.

The pinot rosé is lovely on its own, and also works well with an antipasto platter, salmon, pizza, pasta, salads and pork.

The Sisters wines support female-oriented charitable organizations such as Dress for Success and The Women’s Collective. With a motto I can certainly get behind, “Wine for women who do extraordinary things, every day,” these wines are perfect to share with a favorite sister or friend.

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 21, 2018.

 

Les Marchands’ “Feast of The Seven Fishes”

Courtesy Les Marchands.

Courtesy Les Marchands.

Chef Weston Richards designs a modern take on an Italian Christmas Eve tradition, served from Friday, December 21 through Christmas Eve, Monday, December 24 at Les Marchands Restaurant & Wine Shop, in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone.

For these four days only, Chef Richards features his contemporary Central Coast feast, adapted with Santa Barbara-sourced seafood. “Feast of The Seven Fishes” first emerged in the United States in the 1900s, when Italian-Americans  celebrated the holidays with a multi-course meal of seven seafood dishes, bringing together family and friends to commemorate Christmas. Expect inspired wine pairings from France, Spain, Germany and Hungary for each course selected by Les Marchands’ Wine Director Hayden Felice, and expertly mixed craft-cocktails from the talented bartenders perfect for guests’ individual tastes.

Here’s the menu for Les Marchands “Feast of The Seven Fishes” 2018 by Chef Weston Richards with recommended wine pairings by Hayden Felice:  

first

Wild American Caviar 

Les Marchands' Chef Weston Richards, photo by Rob Stark.

Les Marchands’ Chef Weston Richards, photo by Rob Stark.

potato chips, crème fraîche, chives

Salt-Roasted Fingerling Potato, House-Smoked Salmon, Egg Yolk

Lassalle Cachet Or Brut 1er Cru NV Champagne

second

Crispy Smelt

blackening spice, saffron aïoli

 Hondarribi Zuri, Getariako Txakolina, Bengoetxe, 2016, Olabarria, Basque Country

 third

(choice of)

Spanish Octopus

charred radicchio, orange, mint, red onion

Grenache Gris/Roussane/Macabeo, Domaine Gardies, Les Glaciaires, 2014, Vingrau, Roussillon

or

Chilled Squid Ink Noodles

dungeness crab, jalapeño, tobiko

Riesling Trocken, Keller, Von der Fels, 2016, Rheinhessen

fourth

(choice of) 

Les Marchands, photo by Kate Winter.

Les Marchands, photo by Kate Winter.

Ridgeback Prawns

strozzapretti, prawn bisque, sherry, fava beans, parsley

Valdespino Fino “Inocente” NV

or

Santa Barbara Fisherman’s Stew

local mussels & halibut, grilled bread, herb aïoli

Kékfrankos, Wetzer, 2016, Sopron, Hungary

Reservations may be booked by phone or online at www.opentable.com and are available from 5 p.m. Space is limited. For information call 805-284-0380 or email Info@Lesmarchandswine.comLes Marchands Restaurant and Wine Shop is located at 131 Anacapa St., Ste. B, Santa Barbara, at the Corner of Yanonali and Anacapa Streets.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 15, 2018.