Rose' has become an overwhelming choice for summer sipping over the last few years. In California, with the temperate climate, we drink it year-round. But the fly-over country between the two coasts is finally catching on to how refreshing a delicious rose' can be. It would seem that the popularity of rose' has reached critical mass. I mean, you know that when Apothic, Kendall-Jackson, Menage a Trois, Noble Vines and Dark Horse jump on the rose' bandwagon, the bloom just might be off the rose, so to speak. I'm not saying any of these bottlings are bad; several of them are quite tasty. But in the great scheme of things, many of them are mass produced, marketed to appeal to a certain customer profile and price point.
Wouldn't you rather indulge yourself with a rose' from a Santa Barbara County producer who makes rose' in a style that the winemaker simply likes to drink? No corporate committees or targeted ads; just the best darn rose' that he or she can make every year. Here are some from this year's crop that I enjoyed.
Up on the 71st floor of the US Bank in Los Angeles, I enjoyed an informative luncheon at the elegant 71Above restaurant overlooking the city to the mountains and sea. At my table sat Michael Lewellen, the son of Royce Lewellen from Lucas & Lewellen Winery. Michael shared with me a little bit about himself and the history of his father’s winery with Louie Lucas.
What do you need for a great girls’ getaway? First you need at least two good friends who like traveling together and have the same love of good times. What else would make the trip ideal? How about comfy accommodations, boutique shopping, relaxing salon treatments, outstanding wine, and exceptional cuisine, including decadent chocolate? The charming Scandinavian town of Solvang, California, has it all.
The long-lasting effects of "Sideways" on the Santa Barbara wine industry are well-documented. The Oscar-winning comedy from 2004 romanced Pinot Noir while delivering a blow to Merlot. Pioneer vintner Louis Lucas, who’s been growing wine grapes for close to five decades, saw it happen firsthand.
Marketing pro Liz Dodder gets a sparkle in her eye when she talks about the Central California wineries that make bubbly. “Bubbles are my favorite,” she says with enthusiasm, “and I was always keeping a personal list of who was making it.” That led her, in 2014, to produce a Central Coast sparkling wine map for her popular blog, Cali Coast Wine Country. There were 45 stops on that map, already a testament to a burgeoning industry.
A Sparkling Industry: New Maps Showcase Quick Growth of Central Coast Bubbly
Gabe Saglie, Senior Editor Travelzoo
In Santa Barbara County -- where pinot and chardonnay, Champagne's main ingredients, flourish -- many of the top tier producers sell their bubbles from about $20 to $50 a bottle, with a few commanding prices above $60. Many of them, like Lucas & Lewellen, produce the still wine locally and then truck the juice to an outside facility – a place called Rack & Riddle in Napa, mostly – to be further fermented into bubbly. But a growing number, including Flying Goat Cellars and Fess Parker Winery, produce their sparklers entirely in-house, emulating Champagne’s classic methode tradit