There are few things that I love more than a day of wine tasting. Since I'm fortunate to have nothing but fabulous people in my life, I have never found myself wine tasting with less than desirable company. A few weeks ago, I went up to Santa Barbara County with my sister, my mother, my mother's cousin and his wife who were visiting from Germany, and Oma's second cousin's son (I'm not quite sure about that one).
While the weather couldn't really make up its mind as to what it wanted to do on our drive up, as soon as we got into Santa Ynez, the clouds cleared up and it was a beautiful, clear warm day. And at the first sight of vines, there was no doubt that it was a good day for a Weinprobe (German for wine tasting - my blog is totally educational!)
My mother is a member of a Gainey, a fantastic winery in Santa Ynez, so our motley crew (no umlauts) started our day there.
Gainey is a fantastic place with fantastic glasses!
The tasting is held is one of their barrel rooms which is pretty rare and makes for such a wonderful experience! The stand outs here were the Syrah and the Merlot - simply delicious!
And right outside the barrel room is an absolutely lovely room which is lined floor to ceiling with bottles - the best kind of rooms in my opinon.
If you find yourself in Santa Ynez, definitely check this place out. Such a great winery with a great philosophy (and a fabulous gift shop to boot)!
|I love this candid little moment between my sister and my mom. I'm sure Sylvi was relaying something good!|
While a great time was had by all at Gainey, it was time to head to the next winery. CURTIS!!! Curtis is my favorite winery in Santa Barbara County. Not that the others don't have fantastic things to offer, but my heart lies with Curtis. When I visited for the first time in March, I fell instantly in love.
So, Curtis...there are not enough good things that I can say about this place. But I'm going to try.
While the grounds are beautiful (this area is chalked full of these fantastically large trees), and the tasting room is small while remaining airy, bright, and incredibly inviting, one of my favorite things about visiting here is my best friend, Jason. He and I have sort of a thing going - it's alright to be jealous.
I'd only been here once before and he not only recognized me, but took incredibly good care of our entire party of 6, imparting very important wine knowledge to the group. For example, did you know that Viognier is French for 'Melinda'? Now you do.
Whenever we found ourselves getting sad because our wine glasses were empty (which for the record RARELY happened - this was a totally staged photo), Jason came to our rescue!
|What a beautiful man.|
Yes, the wine and Jason are the highlights of Curtis' tasting room, but there are some other gems that you can find here.
And what takes this place over the top is the fact that I've only ever come here with my sister and I feel like it's one of our special places...perhaps the high alcohol content of their wines have helped formed that opinion?
|Our signature pose - which is easy since Sylvi's a head taller than I am.|
Curtis really is FANTASTIC! It just seems to make everyone happy. Especially me!!!!
I'm not the biggest fan of this winery, but I definitely wouldn't pass this one up if someone suggested we visit.
There was a wedding being set up which explained all the flowers that we passed in the barrel room on the way to the members tasting area. They were just beautiful.
While I mentioned them before, here are my mother's cousin and his wife who were visiting from Germany. Manfred and Petra are such wonderful people!
Then after our tasting, we headed south into Santa Barbara proper to have dinner at the Enterprise Fish Company. This is becoming tradition as my sister and I ate there after we went wine tasting last time.
Though some items were in need of additional pepper.
Also, if you visit, be aware that it's normal to feel like you're being watched...
After a fabulous dinner, we were back on our way. After a brief photo-op next to some beautiful flowers.
After a very long day, it was nice to have some remembrances of the fabulous time that was had.
Like I've said before, if you are not familiar with this wine region, I highly suggest you remedy that as soon as possible, preferably with an international group!