I haven’t forgotten you all.

I’ve been in show mode, but I promise I haven’t forgotten this blog! I actually have a post in draft that just needs photos to be edited. Plus I have some wonderful recipes I think I’m going to share. 

Hopefully we will be back to regular posts soon!

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Sip Malibu Cielo Wine Bar- Agoura Hills, CA

Malibu Family Wines isn’t the only place pouring wine on the west side of the valley. Sip is a bit hard to find, but worth a visit if you’re interested in trying a few more SoCal wines.

About: The wine bar is located right behind a convenience store, which is weird, but it’s actually a very quaint and adorable little room. They pour all of Cielo’s wine there, including a line of Woodstock themed wines, so the whole room has a hippie 60s feels, which is really fun.

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Tasting Cost: They have four different flights ranging from $14 to $18. We ended up doing the $18 flight which was all reds from their Woodstock Collection. All of the wines ran at least $40 a bottle, but it still seemed a bit steep to me given that there were only four wines on the flight list. The guy did give us a pour of a fifth wine though, so that was nice of him.

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Notable Wines: Pricy though the wines may be, these guys at Cielo do know how to make some nice full bodied reds. The zinfandel and petite sirah were both really great and everything a bold red should be. We missed out on trying the Honey Pie blend, which sounded really interesting as its 45% chard, 45% sauv blanc and 10% muscat, but it sounds like a really neat and unique blend.

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Final Thoughts: Sip was a nice little joint to stop by. The short poor lists and high prices might disuade me from visiting again, but they make some quality wines and it’s a nice place to stop by if you’ve got some time to kill and are looking to do some tasting.

Area 5.1- Santa Barbara, CA

Guys, I’ve been waiting for a while to share this one with you. This place is everything a trendy wine bar should be- great concept, hip venue, and of course great wine. We stumbled here on accident back in April. Brad, our friend Megan, and myself were exploring Santa Barbara and happened to pass this place. We decided to stop by before heading home to LA, and I am SO GLAD WE DID.

About: For one, it’s and Area 51 themed tasting room, covered in Cold War propaganda. Pretty unique (and awesome!) concept!

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The tasting room is located in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, right off of State Street and on the Urban Wine Trail. The staff is young and extremely nice, and some are quite knowledgable. It really breaks the mold of the stuffy, fancy wine tasting room most people think about. The tasting room (and most of the tasting rooms in this area) have only been around for about a year. As it turns out, Area 5.1 is the brain child of the owners of Kalyra (which is nearby) and his brother, so there’s some solid winemaking experience in a new package at this place.

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Tasting Cost: Flights run $10 a person and typically include five wines. Because they’re so new, they don’t always have the same wines available, so they swap out what they’re pouring from time to time. Overall, it’s a fair price, and you can also purchase a cheese and meats plate to accompany your wine.

They also have this neato board so you can see who the "captain" of your flight is.

They also have this neato board so you can see who the “captain” of your flight is.

Notable Wines: Here’s what I really love about Area 5.1- they’re not afraid to break from traditional wine making blends. My two favorites were their Equinox (a chardonnay riesling blend) and the Majestic (nebbiolo, sangiovese, barbera, and then some tempranillo to mix it up a little). Both were such unique blends that really stood up well to their more traditional GSM and Bordeaux style blends. They also had a port style dessert wine (the Declassified) which was exciting since you don’t see too much dessert wine happening in the region. Occasionally they’ll bring in some other labels from the owners as well, which are just as good. Honestly, I have yet to have a bad (or even mediocre) wine here.

We got to try the Buscador syrah, one of the owner's other labels.

We got to try the Buscador syrah, one of the owner’s other labels.

End Notes: This might be my favorite tasting room in Santa Barbara at the moment. I have yet to visit their parent winery Kalyra, but on our next trip we’re planning to hit them, in part because they clearly know what they’re doing. But I love Area 5.1 because it seems like they’ve tapped in to the fact 20 somethings like wine too (we do! We like it a lot!) and they have finally made a place just for us. Next time you find your self on State Street, I highly recommend you walk a few blocks and check this spot out.

Oh, and check out the sweet mosaic in the bathroom while you're there.

Oh, and check out the sweet mosaic in the bathroom while you’re there.

New posts on the way!

Hey there fellow winos! I’ve got a TON of posts to get up for you guys soon, but a computer crash slowed me down, and then Fourth of July party time held me up!

But they’re coming! There will be a new one TODAY and I’ve got loads more from our recent trip to Santa Barbara to get written.

Brace yourselves, wine is coming!

Updates coming soon!

Hello beautiful people! I apologize for lack of updates. My laptop has been having some issues, so I need to get that takes care of before I can do any more updates.

BUT Brad and I took a trip to Santa Barbara last weekend, so there’s loads to post about! Here’s some teaser photos from our weekend.

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Hopefully there will be some posts coming you way very soon!

Cheers!

Malibu Family Wines- Malibu, CA

My friend from high school Allison was in town recently while on tour with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat so naturally I had to show her the best LA had to offer. She mentioned she liked wine, so, wino that I am, I offered to take her out to some tasting rooms. A day trip to Santa Barbara was out of the question, but LA county has so many awesome, sort of secret wineries we didn’t have to go far. We ended up spending the afternoon in Malibu, and Malibu Family Wines was easily the highlight of the day.

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Brad came along as well, good little somm in training that he is.

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Touring life sure is hard.

About: First, can we talk about how freaking GORGEOUS the tasting grounds are? It is very possibly the prettiest winery I’ve been to- pretty sure if I was planning a wedding or event I would book them right now. The whole area is outdoors, and it’s HUGE. There are all sorts lawn chairs set up at wine barrel tables, there are huge, wonderful bar areas you stand at.  And it was such a fabulous day outside the guy pouring for us told us to just go lounge in the sun and come back whenever we were ready for our next pour. They also had fliers for special events- food truck and movie nights, mimosa tastings, casino events. Brad and I are already making plans to visit again for one of those events.

The beautiful patio seating area.

The beautiful patio seating area.

There's a whole lawn of lawn chairs and barrel tables.

There’s a huge expanse of lawn chairs and barrel tables.

Tasting Cost: Malibu family wines carries two different labels. Semler, which is their Malibu estate line, and Saddlerock where they source grapes from various regions on the central coast.  The Semler label feels and tastes like the higher end line while the Saddlerock was pretty much all solid everyday drinking wines. The Semler flight will run you $14 and the Saddlerock $12. They also had a “light flight” ($14) that was all whites and sparklings, which was ideal since it was a beautiful June day.

Obviously I'm making one of these for my house now.

Obviously I’m making one of these for my house now.

Notable wines: Both the Semler and Saddlerock cabernets were great. They had a really nice petite sirah and a merlot that I actually enjoyed (since merlots are not my thing). Their chardonnay was definitely unusual, as it had some residual sugar and tasted more like a riesling. Really, the only wine I felt disappointed with was the 2010 syrah, which really just needs another year to mellow out (it made me fully understand what “chewy tannins” are). Everything else was really wonderful though. Also, just a heads up the alcohol content on their wines is CRAZY. The chardonnay was nearly 15% and one of their cabs was over 16%! They certainly didn’t taste that way, but your certainly get your money’s worth if you’re looking for a nice buzz.

Now I can fully express my love of wine.

Now I can fully express my love of wine.

End notes: Overall I loved this place. Good wine, amazing grounds, a beautiful view. What more can you ask for? It’s still a bit of a hike for me to get out there, so I don’t think it will be my weekly hangout spot anytime soon, but we will for sure be back. If you find yourself in Malibu, definitely pay these guys a visit.

Meritage Resort- Napa, CA

So recently I was asked to work a wedding in Napa as a day of assistant coordinator. This was awesome because it meant a free trip to Napa, even though I knew I’d be working pretty much the whole time. But I was excited to just visit one of the most prestigious wine production regions in the world and see what there was to see.

The wedding was hosted at the Meritage Resort outside of downtown Napa. Honestly, if you’re looking to get married in Napa, this is a really, really fabulous venue. Not only is it beautiful, the staff was amazing! They were so accommodating to everything we needed and ran a super tight ship.

Their front desk also features the biggest bottle of wine I've ever seen.

Their front desk also features the biggest bottle of wine I’ve ever seen.

But overall, the grounds are amazing. Even if you can’t afford a room there, I recommend taking a walk around the grounds. Trinitas Cellars also has their wine tasting room located on the grounds (in a cave!!) directly underneath all of the vines on the property. The vineyard is open daily with paths around all the vines, and a map showing what grape is being grown where. There’s also a beautiful deck and gazebo in the vineyard, which is where the wedding ceremony was.

The gazebo, all dressed up for the ceremony.

The gazebo, all dressed up for the ceremony.

Sadly I missed visiting the tasting room as it closed before we were done with the wedding, but the cave also houses the resort’s spa, so you know, treat yo self.

I did get to spend some time exploring the vines though. This is all malbec according to the map.

I did get to spend some time exploring the vines though. This is all malbec according to the map.

The resort also features the beautiful Carneros Ballroom as well as other smaller rooms (all featuring names like the Merlot and Cabernet). There is also a coffee shop, gym, severals bars and lounges, and a beautiful swimming pool. Honestly, you don’t even need to leave the resort to have a good time.

About an hour after I arrived I text Brad and said “We have to come stay here some time” (I mean you get a bottle of wine in your room when you check in!) That’s probably not in the cards for a while, given the price, but if you’re looking for luxury in Napa, this is the place.

Also, there are plenty of vineyard ground to frolic through.

Also, there are plenty of cab franc vines to frolic through.