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So much has happened since I last posted.  Nope, I am not part of the witness protection program – I’ve just been really, really busy.  Let me try to condense the last month into a few words and some photos.  First and foremost I moved from Santa Barbara to a lovely house out in wine country with a view of the edge of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Moving is never easy or fun, but in this case the massive effort was worthwhile.  I’m reminded daily about what makes Pinot Noir so good, when I wake up to a view of the Santa Rita Hills.  Often times the hills are shrouded in fog that burns off by mid-morning.  The east-west coastal valleys combined with fog, wind and rocky soil stress the vines and reduce crop yield.  This results in incredibly complex and layered Pinot Noir.  If you want to taste what I am referring to, check out Ampelos Cellars’ 2005 Rho Pinot Noir.  You’ll be happy you did!

Though I’ve only been in my new place about a month and a half, so much has happened!  In the few weeks I:

  1. unpacked a seemingly infinite number of boxes, many of which were full of wine or books…I wonder if I really need all these books?
  2. enjoyed some of my favorite fabulous local wines (De Su Propia Cosecha, Brander, Tre Anelli, Stolpman, McPrice Myers) while unpacking boxes – no wonder it took so long!
  3. poured Consilience wines at an event at Blush in Santa Barbara
  4. ate amazing woodfired pizza at Full of Life Flatbread (and oysters – WOW!) – if you’re into woodfired pizza come to Los Alamos to eat at Flatbread
  5. wrote the tasting notes for a couple of fabulous soon to be released wines from Tre Anelli (2007 Pinot Grigio, 2007 Sangiovese, 2008 Diavolessa)
  6. went wine tasting at Brander (Thank you Fabian and Louise for the tour and barrel tasting!) – I *love* the Purisima Sauvignon Blanc and the reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
  7. encountered all sorts of wildlife out here in the country – deer (see photo below), red tailed hawks, turkey vultures, mice, moles, skunks (unfortunately one of my dogs got too close to the skunk, sigh) a myriad of songbirds, mice, horses and a tree frog (oddly enough the frog was in my shower…go figure)
  8. visited chef Paul Kulik at the Boiler Room restaurant and La Buvette in Omaha – my two favorite places to eat and drink in the Old Market district

So much has happened and so many wonderful things are on the horizon!  First and foremost, there is lots of great news from one of my local favorites, Dragonette Cellars.  Very soon you won’t have to go out to the wine ghetto in Lompoc to visit Dragonette, because they are opening up a tasting room in Los Olivos, right across the street from Stolpman.  Also, any day now, Dragonette will release a wine that consists mostly of the co-fermented Syrah/Viognier that I fell in love with while barrel tasting last year (there are a few photos from this below).  The wine is a reserve release and is called MJM.  John Dragonette, Steve Dragonette and Brandon Sparks-Gillis dedicated this wine to their wives (Mitchi, Jen and Michelle), hence the name MJM.  Smart husbands.  🙂 Recently I visited Dragonette and tasted the 2007 MJM with winemaker Brandon Sparks-Gillis.  He was quite proud (and rightly so) of the almost released blend of 96% Syrah, 3% Grenache and 1% Viognier.   This is a gorgeous wine with layers of flavors – definitely one to save for a special occasion!  It wasn’t officially for sale yet (the bottles had not yet been hand dipped in wax) however I was able to convince him to let me go home with a couple of bottles.  Thanks Brandon!   Last but not least, Dragonette now has a wine club – you can join online too!

On Saturday May 15th, the Wine Hound Santa Barbara County Wine Futures event is happening.  Last year was an amazing opportunity to taste incredibly fabulous local wines.  Check out my post with details from last year’s event. This year I promise to charge my camera battery.   There will be around 130 different wines available for tasting from local producers.  Old favorites, including Au Bon Climat, Jaffurs, Qupé and Stolpman will be there and also some newer producers like Rey, Kaena and Shai.  I am really looking forward to this event!

Last but not least, my wine tasting group is collecting bottles for a special Colson Canyon Vineyard themed tasting.  So far we have collected red wines made from Colson Canyon fruit produced by Cleb, Tensley and Brander.  If you know of any other wineries that make a Colson Canyon vineyard designate wine please drop me an email.

Here are some random snapshots of food, wine and other miscellany.  Cheers!

Dragonette winemaker Brandon Sparks-Gillis

Dragonette winemaker Brandon Sparks-Gillis with a bottle of MJM

De Su Propia Cosecha

De Su Propia Cosecha red (Grenache/Mourvedre/Syrah)

Pouring Consilience wines at Blush in Santa Barbara

Me pouring Consilience wines at Blush in Santa Barbara

lunch at Terravant

Lunch at Terravant (a fun place to taste wine - ask for a tour)

first meal at the new house

This is the first meal at the new house -we hadn't unpacked much yet

Dragonette 2008 Sauvignon Blanc

Dragonette 2008 Sauvignon Blanc - it makes unpacking boxes better

McPrice Myers L'Ange Rouge

McPrice Myers 2007 L'Ange Rouge at Side Street Cafe (we were too tired to cook)

Tre Anelli 2008 Diavolessa

Tre Anelli 2008 Diavolessa - red blend of Dolcetto, Barbera, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel

first course of salad and oysters at Flatbread

First course of salad and oysters at Flatbread

Blissed out at Flatbread

Happiness is eating at Flatbread

deer

What a fun surprise - a deer in my yard

2007 Duckhorn Decoy

2007 Duckhorn Decoy at Urban Wine Company in Omaha's Old Market district

La Buvette

La Buvette - you'll think you're in France, but it is really Omaha's Old Market district

wall of wine at La Buvette

One of the walls of wine at La Buvette

Foggy morning

The view from the patio - cool foggy mornings help make good Pinot Noir

no more fog

Foggy mornings turn into warm, clear days

Barrel tasting at Dragonette
Barrel tasting at Dragonette (photo courtesy of pixillusion.com)
Dragonette with the wine thief

Dragonette extracting wine with a wine thief (photo courtesy of pixillusion.com)

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