Tasting Rooms

Tasting rooms abound in Santa Barbara County, and generally come in two flavors – rooms that are dedicated to one or two specific wineries or labels; and independent rooms that carry a wider selection of labels.The tasting rooms dedicated to one or two labels are generally either outcrops of a winery who has just made a conscious decision that they may be more effective at reaching a larger number of people by being positioned in town, or exist in the absence of having the facilities in place at all to offer a tasting room anywhere else. In any case, they’re often a great way to find some of the best wines from up and coming winemakers.

When tasting at independent rooms, they can often provide wide ranging views (and tastes) of many different wines and wine makers from the area. The ability to taste similar wines, say three Sauvignon Blancs from three different wineries, gives you the opportunity to really notice the difference in styles and flavors, which can be very beneficial in terms of both understanding wine, and also discerning and defining what you like best in a wine.

Los Olivos is a tasting room bonanza, with over a dozen tasting rooms within a few blocks of each other. (WARNING – DON”T try to visit them all in one day). Listed below our some of our favorites, sorted by town, with more in-depth descriptions for many of them a click away.

 

Tastes of the Valleys

Tastes of the Valleys has got to be our favorite tasting room in Solvang. But more than just a tasting room, TOTV is also a full service wine bar, and provides a great atmosphere for taking a break and enjoying a great glass of wine with a light snack. We’ve been here on several occasions, and consistently found the staff to be friendly and very knowledgeable. Unlike other independent tasting rooms where we’ve found a questionable lineup on their flight menus, TOTV carries a deep selection of wines from many of our favorite winemakers – some of  whom do not have a tasting room presence in the area, meaning this is really the place to experience their wines! They generally offer two different flights, but are also flexible with substitutions or additions.

On our latest trip we were pleasantly surprised by the pourings of two wines from 3CV, one of the labels Doug Margerum is making wines under. The ’09 Grassini Family Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc had a powerful pear and melon nose that carried into the tasting as well, fruit forward, but not in an overpowering way. A very nice Sauv Blanc for $18. The ’09 Happy Canyon Volgelzang Vineyard Viognier was also an excellent wine at $18; floral on the nose, crisp minerality in the mouth – a very balanced wine. While we’re on Doug Margerum, another wine on the flight was the ’07 Margerum M5, his flagship Rhone style blend. This wine was a favorite of my wife. with rich dark color, earthy undertones, anise and sage on the nose, with a soft mouthfeel that was nicely balanced with tight tannins.


Tastes of the Valleys
1672 Mission Dr., Solvang

map

(805) 688-7111

tastesofthevalleys.com

Sun – Thurs: Noon to 8:00PM
Fri, Sat: Noon to 10:00PM

Winemakers and labels represented include

  • Jim Clendenen, Au Bon Climat
  • Joe Davis, Arcadian
  • Doug Margerum, Margerum Wine Company,
    Happy Canyon Vineyards, and Cimarone
  • Lane Tanner, Lane Tanner Vineyards
  • Ariki Hill, Labyrinth Cellars
  • Dave Corey, Core Wine Company and Kuyam Wines
  • Felipe Hernandez, Felize Noche
  • Ariel La Vie, La Vie Vineyards
  • Bob Lindquist, Qupe
  • Matt Kowalczyk, Buscador Wines
  • Doug Timewell, Toucan Wines
  • Andrew Murray for Calzada Ridge Viognier and Oak Savanna