Taking a week for a wine tour of California. Flew into Los Angeles, picked up my rent a car and spent a couple of hours on highway 101 heading north to the town of Los Olivos for a wine crawl. Los Olivos is a very small town, about five blocks long and three blocks wide with the usual small shops and restaurants. What it also has are a lot of tasting rooms, about 40 in fact. Many of the local small producers don’t have tasting facilities at their vineyards so they have them in town so there are lots of options for a day of wine sampling.
+ Sons First tasting room of the day.
2013 “Daddy’s Girl”. 100% Sauvignon Blanc, yellow with a greenish tint with melon and kiwi notes on the nose, nutmeg on the moderate fruit with nice acidity.
2014 “Matriarch”. Estate Grenache Blanc, light yellow, bubble gum and cinnamon on the nose with vanilla spice on the finish.
2014 “Extended Family”. Pinot Noir, only 85 cases produced, brick in color with smoky, toasty nose with black licorice on the moderate fruit.
2013 “High Hill”. Syrah from the estate in Ballard Canyon, medium red with smoky, dark fruits and some funky earth on the nose, moderate fruit with some mint and black licorice notes on the fruit, good balance.
2013 Pinot Noir “Riverbench Vineyard”. Medium cloudy red, smoky black cherry on the nose with tart, red cherry fruit.
2012 Grenache Noir Santa Ynez Valley. Floral perfume of Asian spices, moderate-light fruit with a dusty, long licorice finish.
2013 Sangiovese Estate Santa Ynez Valley. Medium red with some toasty tar on the nose, tight with bitter cherry fruit notes.
2012 Mourvedre Curtiss Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley. Only 220 cases produce about 3 miles from the tasting room, dried red fruit on the nose with crushed black fruit notes on the finish.
2012 Estate Merlot Carhatt Vineyard. Dark purple in color, some green fruit notes on the nose, licorice, crushed black cherry on the fruit with a hit of tannin at the end.
2013 “Rebel Roan”. Rhone blend, medium purple, cigar box on the nose, tight red tarry fruit on the firm finish.
Kaena Winery launched by Mikael, the “Grenache King”
2013 Grenache Larner Vineyard Ballard Canyon. Medium brick, red licorice on the nose, bright fruit with red licorice flavors.
2011 Hapa Red Santa Ynez Valley. Red blend, dark red with sweet violet on the nose, bright fruit with dusty, cigar notes on the finish.
2013 Ronin Santa Ynez Valley. A blend of Malbec and Tempranillo, dark red with red licorice on the nose, tight, a bit unbalanced, high tannin.
Larner Vineyards Closet sized tasting room
2014 Malvasia Bianca. Yellow with a big, spicy nose, tight but big spicy fruit with a moderate tart finish. 25 cases made.
2011 “Elemental”. GSM blend, dark red, crushed red fruit on the nose, bright black fruit, firm acids.
2010 Syrah Estate Ballard Canyon. Dark red to black with a nice perfume of smoky violets, tight, smoky fruit with silky tannin at the end.
2010 Syrah Reserve Ballard Canyon. Bottle was opened yesterday, dark red to black, juicy, black fruit, tight with lip-smacking tannin at the end.