"We specialize in Syrah, Grenache, Viognier and other artisan Rhône-style wines from Santa Barbara County's Santa Ynez Valley. Here, we put down roots as one of California’s first wineries dedicated exclusively to Rhône-style wines. Since then, nothing has changed. We still live for Rhônes." - Curtis website
I liked everything I tried! Since this was my first stop, I had to be conservative in my purchases. I ended buying the 2005 Mouvedre from grapes grown in the Santa Ynez Valley.
"If you don’t know FOXEN,
you don’t know Dick . . . or Bill." - Foxen Vineyard website
Haha! I just love that quote above. I love it as much as I love the wines coming out of this winery! This winery actually has two locations. One location is the new solar-powered winery and tasting room. Here, Burgundian-style wines are featured such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The other location is located up the road and is now called Foxen 7200 (because the address is 7200 Foxen Canyon Road). This is where the famous Foxen "shack" is located. I remember seeing the tasting bar in "Sideways". I can't believe that I was there! It really is a shack! This location has wine for tasting that focuses more on their "Bordeaux and Cal-Ital-style" wines. We were given some snazzy anchor temporary tattoos too. :)
Located in the Santa Maria Valley, this winery is creating some lovely Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. I purchased the 2007 Estate Chardonnay. I preferred the Estate to the Reserve. A week later, I was enjoying the bottle with a few friends and it was a great success.
"Riverbench Vineyard was established in 1973, when its first Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes were planted on the property. For years since then, some of the most renowned wineries in Santa Barbara County have purchased our fruit for their own wines. Over time Riverbench has become a prominent name for high quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the Santa Maria Valley." - Riverbench Winery website
"At Kenneth Volk Vineyards, our main focus is on vineyard designate wines from Santa Barbara. We understand the importance of terroir, unique soil, and the sea influence in this region, which is gaining renown for its cool climate and ideal growing conditions.
Our second focus is on Bordeaux varietals from Paso Robles. These quality wines boast ripe fruit flavors and are suitable with a variety of cuisine." - Kenneth Volk website
I purchased the Kennth Volk 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon made from some of their vineyards in the Paso Robles region. What was interesting about this winery is that they had a wine made from the Tempranillo grape variety which is normally seen only in Spanish wines. It was delicious.
"You are on the eastern edge of the Santa Maria Valley in Santa Barbara County. The temperature is mild, the wind is steady and the terrain is gentle and rounded. In the winter these hills are tinted gold and raw sienna. In the summer they are all shades of green. Our wines are a reflection of their surroundings. Every time you taste one of Byron’s wines you are surrounded by the flavors, textures and scents that can only come from here the Santa Maria Valley." - Byron Wines website
We ended our day back in Los Olivos at the Byron tasting room. Wines from another winery called IO were also available here for sampling and purchase. I believe that the founder of Byron started IO. We ended up buying the IO Nielson Vineyard Viognier 2007. It was delicious! I'm really into Viognier right now. My wine rack is seeing an increase in the number of bottles filled with this yummy grape.
I think 5 wineries in one day is a great effort! I am definitely planning another trip out to this region. It was visually breathtaking and mouthwatering delicious. These are the wineries that I hope to visit on that next trip:
Also, the town of Solvang, a cute Danish-inspired town. It's a must!
Visit the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail:
For more information about the Santa Barbara Wine Region:
I just had to throw this in:
Yes that's right! You can tour every location from the film "Sideways". I have to do that next time I'm in the area.
In my honest opinion, I found the geography of the Santa Barbara wine country to be more beautiful than both Sonoma and Napa. Maybe I'm just a more rustic-kind-of-gal. Sure, you don't see the grand estates like you do in Napa but this region is breathtaking in a different way with fantastic wines to back it up. Sadly, I didn't run into Miles...maybe next time! I also drank some wonderful Merlot. Shhh.