Empty wine glasses just waiting to have fun!The Museum of Natural History bills their Santa Barbara Wine Festival event as a must-do summertime favorite and the wine festival that you cannot miss. I agree! The setting along Mission Creek behind the museum is a very relaxing one with a mellow crowd and a very good representation of California wine and food.
Valeria Velasco, PR Coordinator at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, did a great job checking in the media.
Everyone got the message on the way in... "Keep things from getting GRIZZLY."
The weather in Santa Barbara was a little warm while the rest of the southwest sweltered in an extreme heat wave.
Luckily, the waiting area to enter the festival is in the shade of the museum.
WINEAs I did last year, I started off with some Transcendence wine. The 2012 Chardonnay, Zotovich Vineyard was poured by Steve Schuler-Jones. This “unoaked,” non-malolactic Chardonnay was excellent and it went very well with The Willows' Tuna Tartare that was nearby. Later in the day I went back and I had the 2011 Pinot Noir, Parea Lafond Vineyard, also good.
Jason Haas of Tablas Creek (and fellow wine blogger) was pouring a 2011 Côtes de Tablas Blanc (27% Viognier, 26% Grenache Blanc, 25% Marsanne, 22% Roussanne). I like many of the Tablas Creek wines, but this style isn't a favorite.
The 2010 Dierberg Chardonnay was lightly oaked, with less than 10% of the wine going through malolactic fermentation, and I thought it was fantastic!Brewer-Clifton poured some interesting Chardonnay and Pinot Noir comparisons. Each wine included a blend from the Santa Rita Hills and a Mount Carmel single vineyard.
The Chardonnays were both 2010 and the Pinot Noir was a 2011 Santa Rita Hills and a 2010 Mount Carmel.
Interestingly, the ones I liked best were the 2010 Chardonnay blend from the Santa Rita Hills and the Pinot Noir from the 2010 Mount Carmel single vineyard.
Coghlan Vineyard & Jewelers poured their 2010 Grenache Blanc, Camp 4 Vineyard and 2010 Pinot Noir 115, Santa Rita Hills, Vista Vineyards. I had never heard of Coghlan Vineyard before, but both wines were very good.
Kenneth Volk Vineyards recommended I try their Malvasia Bianca before tasting the Chardonnay. The 2011 Malvasia Bianca, San Bernabe Vineyard, Monterey was too sweet for me. The 2011 Jaybird, Unoaked Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley and the 2010 Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley, Bien Nacido Vineyards were both very good though.At Gioia Wine Teri Love and friend Karen Haas poured a 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley and the 2009 DAX Ryder Red. Both wines are very good!
Town & Country Event Rentals poured some wines from Byron and Cambria.
Mosby Wines poured their La Seduzione and Sangiovese wines.
Melville Vineyards and Winery poured a 2011 Estate Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills and a 2011 Estate Syrah, Verna's Vineyard; both were very good!
Brander Vineyard poured their 2010 Merlot, Santa Ynez Valley. It was very good.
Au Bon Climat Owner/Winemaker Jim Clendenen kept busy all day pouring his popular wines. I tasted the Clendenen Family Vineyards 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Stallion Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley, the Au Bon Climat 2011 Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County, Los Alamos Vineyard, and the Au Bon Climat 2009 Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley. All of them were excellent!
Next to ABC was Qupé Wines and they had a very good 2010 Syrah, Bien Nacido Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley.
Wine temperature management was challenging in the hot weather.
Toucan Wines hired Batman to pour their fine reds. Batman was busy pouring for a few others so Terrie poured a comprehensive selection of their wines for me. I tasted the 2010 Carignane, 2010 Petite Sirah, 2007 Zinfandel (with 10% Petite Sirah), 2008 Zinfandel (with 14% Petite Sirah), 2009 Zinfandel (with 10% Petite Sirah), and the 2009 Toucanet (with 10% Petite Sirah and 19% grape brandy). All were very delicious as usual.
At Cargasacchi Wines I tasted their 2009 Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills, Cargasacchi Vineyard and 2010 Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County, Cargasacchi-Jalama Vineyard (375 ml). Both were very good.
Sagebrush Annie's poured their 2006 Stone Pine Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2008 Zinfandel. I enjoyed them all.
FOODThe Willows served a Tuna Tartare with mango, avocado, grapefruit, Sriracha, and Wonton in a gold colored cone.
State & Fig served Pesto Garbanzo Bean Salad (above) with Grana Podano, one of the most popular cheeses of Italy, and their Roasted Beet Salad with Wild Baby Arugula, Pickled Peaches, Shallots, Burrata Cheese, and California Pistachios (below).
c'est cheese of Santa Barbara served House Made Roasted Tomato Feta Spread.
Santa Barbara City College, School of Culinary Arts served Lengua on Tortilla Chips. Yes, that's Beef Tongue.
Pacific Pickle Works served some of their spicy samples in their mini Bloody Mary shots. A nice spicy taste!
Brophy Bros. Clambar & Restaurant served oysters and clams.
Finch & Fork served Seared Ahi Tuna.
Omni Catering served a Creamy Polenta with Italian Style Pork. It was a real winner--tasty and filling!
Country Catering Co. served Pulled Pork and Sausages. Both dishes were excellent.
Marmalade Café served Salmon Tartar with fresh cilantro & lime on wonton crisps.
Casitas Valley Creamery served Feta aged in Organic Olive Oil and Smoked Herb Brie.
Coveted Cakery served cupcakes for red and white wine pairing.
|Photography by Richard Salzberg|
The Berry Man put on one of the best food displays there.
Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro served their strawberries like a smoothie.
La Mousse must mean "lotsa sweet stuff" because they served amazing brownies and cakes.
Freezer Monkeys--I still like the Raspeberry Thai Chili and they're good with red wine.
It was a very busy day and I didn't even get to all of the wineries on my "must visit" list. Some of the additional labels I missed are in Richard Salzberg's shots below.
|Photography by Richard Salzberg|
And we made it home without things getting GRIZZLY!
This really is a festival that you cannot miss.
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