Santa Barbara

Located two or so hours north of Los Angeles, this wine region makes some really fantastic wines.  The cooler climate lends itself to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Rhone varietals such as Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier and Marsanne.  The movie Sideways had a considerable impact on wine in this region.  While the Pinot Noir wines are great as the main character Miles in that film implies, there is much more to this area in terms of wine.

The region includes quite a few smaller AVAs such as the Santa Maria Valley, Los Alamos Valley, Santa Ynez Valley and Sta. Rita Hills.  The newest AVA in this region is Happy Canyon, however there are no tasting rooms yet there.  The adorable town of Los Olivos has 35 tasting rooms from wineries in the area which allows wine lovers to sample a wide variety without having the drive all over the county.  The region, however, is stunning so I recommend vistiing some of the wineries in addition to Los Olivos to appreciate the beauty of the area.

The town of Lompoq also has a fun tasting room area called the Lompoq ghetto but I have not been there yet.


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