Saturday, April 23, 2011

Back to Santa Ynez for Wine Tasting

We travel to Napa and Paso Robles, somewhat regularly, but more and more, I enjoy the Santa Ynez area. First, it's only an hour's drive from Ventura and only two hours from Los Angeles.  The area is really attractive, restaurants are very good, and the wineries seem to be improving.  The Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, and Grenache wines are particularly wonderful.

Thanks to our new friend at the Santa Ynez Inn, Hospitality Coordinator, Christina Papalexis, we were able to visit two wineries that required appointments.  The first was entirely new to us and the second was a revisit.

(1)  Tantara Winery specializes in Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Chardonnay.  It was unusual fun because we were able to barrel taste about a dozen Pinots, mostly 2008 vintage.  The grapes, sourced from different regions in the Valley, offered different tastes from soft and fruity to very complex with heavier overtones and light to medium tannins.  But all were very, very good!  All the Pinots were one week from bottling so our visit was timely.

The owner/winemaker, Jeff Fink was not at the winery during our visit, but we had a great time with Kevin Law, the Asst. Wine Maker.  On average, the Winery produces about 6000 cases annually.  I highly recommend this Winery and their wines on your next visit to the area, but call for an appointment.

Phone 805-938-5051.  Address:  2900 Rancho Tepusquet Rd, Santa Maria, CA  93454.

(2) Demetria Estate.  Again Christina made an appointment for us to revisit Demetria Estate.  This family-owned winery is is quickly becoming a favorite of ours.  It offers rustic elegance, yes, I said "rustic elegance."  We brought a lunch and sat outside eating while tasting the wines that Alexis, one of the owners and the winemaker, brought us.

We tasted 12 different wines, all were excellent.  Alexis' style is more Old World, with drier Chardonnay's (which I love) and earthy Syrah and Pinots, and a wonderful Viognier, on the drier side.  We also enjoyed a refreshing Grenache Rose'.

I highly recommend this winery for a relaxing and enjoyable visit.  The view from the garden where we ate lunch, was again, "rustic elegance."  And Alexis knows his wines and offers as much information as you want with each wine that you taste.

Call the winery at 805-686-2345 to arrange an appointment.  You'll be happy that you included a visit to Demetria on your itinerary.

Tom da Wine Guy


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