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

CALM Celebrity Authors’ Luncheon

The Annual CALM Celebrity Authors’ Luncheon is always a lovely event to support a great cause.

On March 16, more than 600 book lovers will gather for a day of appearances and book signings from a variety of authors, both big-name and local, with all proceeds going to benefit the good work of Child Abuse Listening Mediation (CALM) and raise awareness and funds for its programs and services to prevent and treat child abuse and to promote healing.

Headline authors will be interviewed at the event, including Mindy Johnson (Ink & Paint – The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation), Luis Alberto Urrea (The Hummingbird’s Daughter, The House of Broken Angels), and Kate Quinn (The Alice Network, The Huntress).

There will also be book signings and the opportunity to meet dozens of local authors:

Sheila Aron – I’m Glad I’m Me, Weaving the Thread of Love From Generation to Generation

Julia Bricklin – Polly Pry: The Woman Who Wrote the West

Jane Sherron De Hart – Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life

Jeff Doubét – Creating Spanish Style Homes

Jo Giese – Never Sit If You Can Dance: Lessons From My Mother: Babe

Elizabeth Gould – Your Best Health by Friday

Romy Greenwald – Micken the Chicken

Rich Grimes – Cat Speak

Jo Haldeman – In the Shadow of the White House

Catharine Riggs – What She Gave Away

The event begins with book signings and sales at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 16, followed by a luncheon and author interviews, all taking place at at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit calm4kids.org/events/celebrity-authors-luncheon/ .

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 4, 2019.

Joffrey Ballet

Joffrey Ballet, "Mammatus, photo by Cheryl Mann.

Joffrey Ballet, “Mammatus, photo by Cheryl Mann.

The world-renowned Joffrey Ballet comes to the Granada Theatre for two nights of incredible dance performances of works by George Balanchine and other acclaimed choreographers, presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures on Tuesday, March 5 and Wednesday, March 6 at 8 p.m.

“The Joffrey dancers, costumed and lit and shockingly talented, are like a rock concert for the eyes,” reports Huffington Post.  

Among the repertoire included in on the Santa Barbara stage is one of Balanchine’s earliest experimental works, two pieces by modern ballet master Nicolas Blanc, the unique cinematic vision of Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman, contemporary ballet darling Justin Peck with a work set to a score by Philip Glass and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa‘s stunning depiction of a turbulent cloud formation. These wide-ranging programs display the inestimable skill of the Joffrey Ballet’s dancers, classically trained to the highest standards, and the company’s unique, inclusive perspective on dance. 

Tue, Mar 5 (Program A)

George Balanchine: The Four Temperaments
Nicolas Blanc: Beyond the Shore
Alexander Ekman: Joy

Wed, Mar 6 (Program B)

Justin Peck: In Creases
Nicolas Blanc: Encounter
Alexander Ekman: Joy
Annabelle Lopez Ochoa: Mammatus 

The Joffrey is a world-class, Chicago-based ballet company and dance education organization committed to artistic excellence and innovation. Classically trained to the highest standards, the Joffrey Ballet expresses a unique, inclusive perspective on dance, proudly reflecting the diversity of America with its company, audiences and repertoire, which includes major story ballets, reconstructions of masterpieces and contemporary works.

Founded by visionary teacher Robert Joffrey in 1956, guided by celebrated choreographer Gerald Arpino from 1988 until 2007, The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under internationally renowned Artistic Director Ashley Wheater and Executive Director Greg Cameron.

Joffrey Ballet, Beyond the Shore, photo by Cheryl Mann.

Joffrey Ballet, Beyond the Shore, photo by Cheryl Mann.

RELATED EVENT

Community Dance Class with The Joffrey Ballet 

Mon., Mar. 4, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Gustafson Dance, 2285 Las Positas Rd., Santa Barbara

Reservations: 805/563-3262 ext. 1

Co-presented by Gustafson Dance

For tickets or more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805/893-3535 or purchase online at ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.eduTickets are also available through The Granada Theatre at  805/899-2222 or granadasb.org.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 2, 2019.

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.

Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz, courtesy photo.

Annie Leibovitz, courtesy photo.

Legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz is coming to Santa Barbara on February 28, in what’s sure to be a fascinating evening presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures.

Annie Leibovitz delivers an hour-long illustrated lecture followed by a Q&A with Pico Iyer. A “Library of Congress Living Legend,” Leibovitz’s body of work encompasses some of the most well-known portraits of our time, with subjects including actors, directors, writers, musicians, athletes and political and business figures, as well as fashion photographs and more.

Brooke Shields "Got Milk" campaign photo by Annie Leibovitz.

Brooke Shields “Got Milk” campaign photo by Annie Leibovitz.

“Whether she’s photographing the famous and powerful—or simply the woman next door—Annie always captures something unexpected and deeply personal,” says Oprah Winfrey.  

This event takes place on Thurs., Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Arlington Theatre, 1317 State St. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 26, 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.

Local Dish: Santa Barbara Restaurant Week

Courtesy Santa Barbara Restaurant Week.

Courtesy Santa Barbara Restaurant Week.

Experience and explore the best of Santa Barbara’s food scene at a great price during the second annual Santa Barbara Restaurant Week from February 22-March 3. This ten-day events will showcase the vast culinary world of Santa Barbara with restaurant options ranging from Asian to Farm-to-table to Vegan and more. Prix-fixe menu options include a $25 two-course lunch and a $40 three-course dinner option. In addition, some local wine tasting rooms are offering special tasting experiences.

Sama Sama, courtesy Santa Barbara Restaurant Week.

Sama Sama, courtesy Santa Barbara Restaurant Week.

The list of participants include:

Lunch

Bluewater Grill

Tyger Tyger

Jane Santa Barbara

Jane at the Marketplace

 Helena Avenue Bakery

 Convivo (at Santa Barbara Inn)

 Due Lune Cucina

 Tre Lune Ristorante

 Olio e Limone Ristorante

 Bella Vista at the Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore

The Middle Child

The Monarch (at Montecito Inn)

Lucky's, courtesy Santa Barbara Restaurant Week.

Lucky’s, courtesy Santa Barbara Restaurant Week.

 Dinner

Blackbird (at Hotel Californian)

 Joe’s Cafe

 The Brewhouse

The Monarch (at Montecito Inn)

 Sama Sama

 Jane Santa Barbara

 Jane at the Marketplace

 Roof Top Bistro & Bar

 Smithy Kitchen & Bar

 The Dining Room at Belmond El Encanto

 Les Marchands

 Loquita

 The Little Door

 Bella Vista at the Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore

Tre Lune, courtesy Santa Barbara Restaurant Week.

Tre Lune, courtesy Santa Barbara Restaurant Week.

 Convivo (at Santa Barbara Inn)

 Due Lune Cucina

 Olio e Limone Ristorante

 Toma

 Tre Lune Ristorante

 Cava

 Los Arroyos Montecito

 Los Arroyos Goleta

 Bluewater Grill

Chuck’s Waterfront Grill

 Lucky’s

 Wine Cask

 Corktree Cellars

Santo Mezcal

The Middle Child

Tasting Rooms

Jamie Slone Wines

Grassini Family Vineyards

Cebada

Visit SBRestaurantWeeks.com for more details. 

This year, proceeds from restaurant registration will help support ProStart, a two-year culinary arts and hospitality management program developed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and run by restaurant associations on a state level. Over 127 public high schools in California use this curriculum reaching 9,000 students. Santa Barbara Restaurant Week’s donation will specifically go to the California Restaurant Association Foundation’s ProStart  program.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 20, 2019.

New York Polyphony

New York Polyphony, photo by Chris Owyoung.

New York Polyphony, photo by Chris Owyoung.

The New Yorker calls them, “Singers of superb musicianship and vocal allure.” National Public Radio praises New York Polyphony for a “rich, natural sound that’s larger and more complex than the sum of its parts.”

Hear them for yourself when UCSB Arts & Lectures presents the two-time Grammy Award-nominated vocal chamber ensemble New York Polyphony in its Santa Barbara debut on Wednesday, February 20 at 7 p.m. at Music Academy of the West’s Hahn Hall (1070 Fairway Rd., Santa Barbara).

The provocative program Faith and Reason includes Thomas Tallis’ Mass for Four Voices and Gregory Brown’s Missa Charles Darwin—the inspiration behind his brother Dan Brown’s latest Da Vinci Code novel—which honors the conventions of its musical antecedents but replaces sacred texts with excerpts from Darwin’s writings. Of special note, this performance marks the return of Music Academy of the West alumnus Christopher Dylan Herbert, the group’s baritone, to his alma mater.

For tickets or more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805/893-3535 or purchase online at ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 19, 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.

SBIFF 3rd Weekend: Free Films at the Riviera

Students attend Mike's Field Trip To The Movies during the 34th Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2019 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF).

Students attend Mike’s Field Trip To The Movies during the 34th Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2019 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF).

As a way to thank everyone who supported and made the Film Festival possible, Santa Barbara International Film Festival will once again be showing select award winning films from the 2019 SBIFF during the 3RD WEEKEND!

“As a thank you to our community, films we will be shown for FREE! No tickets necessary, seating will be on a first come first served basis at SBIFF’s Riviera Theatre,” according to the organizers.

Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story

Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story

Friday, February 15 – 7:30 p.m.
Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story – Winner Best Documentary Award sponsored by SEE International

In the world of professional sports, no athlete ever came back from a mental health disorder—until Ron Artest, now known as Metta World Peace.

In Love and War

In Love and War

Saturday, February 16 – 7:30 p.m.
In Love and War (I krig & kærlighed) – Winner Audience Choice Award sponsored by The Santa Barbara Independent

When Esben flees the trenches of WWI after three years at the front, it’s so he can return to his beloved wife Kirstine and son Karl. But everything at home has changed.

Babysplitters

Babysplitters

Sunday, February 17 – 7:30 p.m.
Babysplitters – Winner Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema

When two couples with mixed feelings about having kids hatch a plan to have and share one baby, it seems like the perfect compromise—until things spiral out of control.

The Riviera Theatre is located at 2044 Alameda Padre Serra, Santa Barbara.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 12, 2019.