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Seeking Santa Barbara County tips: If I like Au Bon Climat pinot, I'll like...

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Seeking Santa Barbara County tips: If I like Au Bon Climat pinot, I'll like...

daveena | Apr 3, 2008 09:36 AM

Researching a trip for this weekend, and looking to finalize my itinerary. We'll be staying in Los Olivos, and hiring a driver for an afternoon - plan to do most of our tasting Saturday afternoon, so I'd like to narrow it down to 3-4 tasting rooms.

My likes:
1) Pinot - I like lean and acidic, low alcohol, fruit good, jam bad. Minimal (if any) oak. Consistently dislike the pinots that get the big scores. I love Au Bon Climat's bottling for Bay Wolf Restaurant in Oakland, so I'm assuming I'll like other wines they make as well. Grapes don't have to be from Santa Barbara - if they're sourcing from Oregon and bottling in SB County, that's fine.

2) Sauvignon Blanc - I like both new and old world styles but am especially partial to grapefruit-y ones. Open to all suggestions.

3) Rhone varietals (red). Tend to prefer Old World style, but like New World (esp when one of the more obscure varietals is dominant) if the alcohol's not too high.

4) Rhone varietals (white). Tend to prefer New World style (I like super-fragrant, floral and tropical fruit-y ones, as long as there's no banana anywhere on the nose or palate), but again, have had problems with excessively high alcohol in the past.

Most of the recs I've read have just said "such-and-such winery is good", so I'm hoping tighter parameters will help me get more specific recs. My list right now is Beckman, Fiddlehead, Sissy's Uptown Cafe's tasting room, and Tastes of the Valley's tasting room (they carry Au Bon Climat). My last trip was pre-Sideways... so, years ago... I remember going to Sanford, Melville, and Zaca Mesa. I liked the pinot at Melville and the Rhone blends at Zaca Mesa, but their alcohol levels were still a little high for me. Hated the pinots at the Hitching Post - thought they tasted like cherry cough syrup.

Suggestions for wineries that require appointments are welcome - I almost prefer having to make appointments - our group is technically a bachelorette party, and I want to make sure we don't discriminated against just because we're all female and one of us is getting married in the near future.

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