Sunshine and Wine

Starting the day with serious intentions of tasting some wine. We drive from the ocean through the mountain pass, into dry and arid country so different from the lush, green Appalachian mountains I'm used to. I do feel like I have gone back in time to old California. So it is especially nice to have our first wine tasting in the oldest winery and vineyard, Rancho Sisquoc. Sisquoc is a Chumash Indian word meaning “gathering place” and the Santa Maria Valley is surely a gathering place for wine lovers. The tasting rooms are small and intimate, without the pretentions of the big labels in Napa.

The tiny towns of Santa Inez and Los Olivios are charming and relaxing (that is water in the cup!) and people watching in the warm sun is just as fun as wine tasting.
This was my favorite winery, Blair Fox. We decided to join the tasters club and have wine sent from vintages throughout the year. It is difficult to ship wine to Pennsylvania because, along with Utah and New Hampshire, the liquor laws are very restrictive. We don't have the convenience of being able to purchase beer, wine or spirits in retail outlets. We have to go to “state stores” for wine and different, separate stores to purchase beer. I wonder when these antiquated laws will change.
We ended our tasting trip in Solvang, feeling like we were transported to Denmark. This town was founded by Danes wanting to establish a school for Danish culture. I think the number of Danish bakeries rival the wineries!
It has to be The Hitching Post for dinner tonight. We did watch the movie, Sideways, filmed here before we came. Not such a great movie in my opinion but the restaurant looks exactly the same and the steaks and wine are good but the standout is the barbecued artichoke. Fantastic! You know I am going to google that recipe. Darn, I wish I had bought the “Magic Dust” the restaurant sells.


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