Sunday, May 20 , 2018, 3:06 am | Fair 53º

 
 
 
 

Laurie Jervis: Five Wine Tastings Worth Your Time and Travel

This column, my first of 2015, is all about me urging you, gentle readers, to step outside of your comfort zone and taste new wines.

Drink mostly chardonnay? Try some chenin blanc or viognier. Favor syrah? There's mourvedre, grenache and malbec waiting for you. Or cabernet franc. And while you're at it, sip wines from a new-to-you label, be it a large winery or a small producer.

And take good notes, for at year's end, when someone asks you to name your top 10 wines of 2015, you'll be glad you have a record of what you tried.

I scribbled enough notes throughout 2014 to create a record of the wines I liked the best of all those I tasted. You can view my efforts via my blog by clicking here.

The single easiest and time-saving method by which to taste (and spit) multiple wines is to attend a festival-style tasting. A couple of the selections on my blog list of favorites came from a tasting last March (Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure).

Following are five public tastings I recommend: Three are local (Lompoc, Goleta and Solvang) and two are in San Francisco. While I've not personally attended either of the San Francisco tastings, both are legitimate events, and I've written stories about both in the past.

Listed in order of occurrence are the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition's Public Tasting, the Lompoc Rotary Wine Tasting, the World of Pinot Noir, In Pursuit of Balance (San Francisco version) and the Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure.

San Francsico Chronicle Wine Competition's Public Tasting — Saturday, Feb. 14

This event is the public version of the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the world's largest competition of American wines. The private judging of 5,800 entries took place in December, and the Chronicle published the results Jan. 9.

The tasting will take place from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Feb. 14 in the Festival Pavilion at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. Tickets are $65 and are available until midnight Feb. 12; day-of tickets, if available, will be $80.

Lompoc Rotary Wine Tasting — Sunday, Feb. 22

This year will be the Lompoc Rotarians' 26th annual wine tasting, with both a live and silent auction, and proceeds will support community projects. Because of Lompoc's proximity to the cool-climate Sta. Rita Hills AVA, this always-popular tasting features most — if not all — of the winemakers who comprise the Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers' Alliance.

Tickets are $50. The tasting will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Lompoc Veterans Memorial Building at Locust Avenue at H Street.

World of Pinot Noir — Friday and Saturday, March 6-7

This is the second year that WOPN will be held at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara, having relocated in 2014 from its roots in Shell Beach. The event, a bonanza for lovers of pinot noir, features two days of in-depth tasting seminars, excursions, grand tastings, a Burgundy seminar, and lunches and dinners that will showcase local chefs and a panel of sommeliers coming to Santa Barbara from across the United States.

Click here for the schedule details, and if you're inclined to attend, buy tickets ASAP for this event sells out.

In Pursuit of Balance — Monday, March 16

In Pursuit of Balance, or IPOB, is a nonprofit organization that strives to promote dialogue about "balance" in California pinot noir and chardonnay. The organization was formed by Rajat Parr of Santa Barbara County's Domaine de la Côte and Sandhi, and Jasmine Hirsch of Hirsch Vineyards. The inaugural tasting took place in San Francisco in 2011; tastings have expanded to include events in Houston, New York and in Osaka and Tokyo, Japan.

A handful of local winemakers, among them Au Bon Climat, Chanin Wine Company, Liquid Farm and Native 9, are member wineries and will pour during the upcoming California event, according to the website. Tickets are available beginning Feb. 23.

Click here for the day's complete schedule. Note that the public tasting takes place in the evening.

Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure — Friday, March 27 through Sunday, March 29

This event is my all-time favorite opportunity to taste new wines produced by the smallest of the small winemakers. Most of those participating do not have tasting rooms, and all of them make less than 1,500 cases per year. You're most likely to meet the winemaker behind the wines at one of the nonprofit Garagiste Festivals.

Tickets for the event, held at the Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall, will go on sale next month. Keep an eye on the website for the weekend's schedule, which will likely include a seminar and special tastings along with the grand tasting, held Saturday afternoon.

Proceeds from all of the Garagiste Festivals benefit the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Program.

About that name: Garagistes ("garage-east") is a term originally used in the Bordeaux region of France to poke fun at small-lot winemakers who more than likely produced wines right in their garages. The first Garagiste Festival took place in Paso Robles in 2011, and organizers since have expanded to Solvang and, for the first time in 2014, to Los Angeles.

— Laurie Jervis blogs about wine at www.centralcoastwinepress.com, tweets at @lauriejervis and can be reached via [email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Cimme Eordanidis
Cimme Eordanidis
"Since I truly enjoy doing what I do, interacting with people and representing them during one of life's most exciting events is very rewarding."

Full Profile >