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