In Local Eats + Drinks, local.drinks, local.eats, local.events

You Had Me at Syrah {A Local Wine-Paired Tasting Event}

You had me at Syrah.

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but Ballard Canyon (also known as ‘Home to the Syrah’) is now recognized as it’s own AVA! ::cheers, clapping, clinking of glasses::

What does that mean you ask? Well, AVA means American Viticulture Area (try saying that three times fast) – but more importantly, it puts Santa Barbara on the map next to some of the most renowned vineyards and wineries in the state – think Napa Valley, Temecula, Sonoma Coast, etc.LocalLove805 - local wine - syrah - Ballard Canyon AVA - Tasting Room - Four Seasons Westlake Village

Because of the quality produced in Ballard Canyon, their reputation is continuing to grow within the world of boutique wine. Their dedication to Syrah, niche varietal in the global market, and their small scale removes Ballard Canyon from the world of mass-produced wine [and supports the 805 community even further!].

We were fortunate enough to attend another lovely event at Four Season Westlake Village’s Tasting Room. The evening featured three of the most highly regarded vineyards in Santa Barbara County (yay 805!) and we got the chance to spend time with the owners & winemakers, as well as some fellow 805-ers!LocalLove805 - local wine - syrah - Ballard Canyon AVA - Tasting Room - Four Seasons Westlake VillageThe event began at The Tasting Room {which BTW, if you haven’t been yet, you need to STAT}. Look at how adorable the room is! Plus, they have a great outdoor patio and happy hour!LocalLove805 - local wine - wine tasting - Ballard Canyon AVA - Tasting Room - Four Seasons Westlake VillageLocalLove805 - Ballard Canyon AVA - Tasting Room - Four Seasons Westlake VillageLocalLove805 - Ballard Canyon AVA - Tasting Room - Four Seasons Westlake VillageLocalLove805  - Ballard Canyon AVA - Tasting Room - Four Seasons Westlake VillageWe visited with the representatives and winemakers from Stolpman Vineyards, Larner Vineyards, and Rusack Vineyards, who shared their stories of how they started making wine, as well as the obstacles they overcame to make their own delicious and unique takes on Syrah.

Some highlights include:

The Larner Family also own Los Olivos General Store, which we love and have mentioned numerous times – so I hope you’re familiar with them!:)

Stolpman Vineyards has an amazing family story behind it and is led by Peter, the son of founder Tom Stolpman, and his lovely wife, Jessica (who was born just down the street in the 805!).

Rusack was also started by a husband and wife duo, Geoff Rusack and Alison Wrigley Rusack, who met on a blind date and made their dream a reality. In addition to the amazing Syrah, they make an incredible Sauvignon Blanc which we got to try!

[We’re already planning our next trip out to visit the wineries in person and you should too! They’re all located in the 805 – check out Tanisha’s post from her visit to Los Olivos here and here]

Next was the 4-course wine paired tasting menu, created by Executive Chef, Jesse Hansen (whom we’ve mentioned here).  As per usual, he did a freaking FANTASTIC job of incorporating ingredients from The Four Season’s own organic garden [talk about local]!LocalLove805 - Ballard Canyon AVA - Tasting Room - Four Seasons Westlake VillageLocalLove805 - local wine - syrah - Ballard Canyon AVA - Tasting Room - Four Seasons Westlake VillageLocalLove805 - local eats - Ballard Canyon AVA - Tasting Room - Four Seasons Westlake VillageLocalLove805 - local wine - syrah - Ballard Canyon AVA - Tasting Room - Four Seasons Westlake Village

During the main course, we got to taste a Syrah from each of the three featured winemakers, side-by-side, paired with some seared venison — YUM!  It was a friendly Battle of the Grapes, if you will, and it taught us so much about how a single grape varietal from the same region can taste so different, simply based on how it is cultivated and prepared during the wine making process.

It was so hard to decide which one we liked the best, and it seemed like each sip tasted a little different than the one before [or maybe that was just the wine taking its toll? 😉 ]

LocalLove805 - local wine - syrah - Ballard Canyon AVA - Tasting Room - Four Seasons Westlake Village

The Stumptown coffee was the perfect way to cap off the evening — they also serve it at their newly opened coffee bar, STIR. Check it out here!

We are obviously looking forward to visiting each of these vineyards and tasting rooms in the near future, and you should visit them, too!

Stolpman Vineyards [Los Olivos + Lompoc]

Rusack [Solvang]

Larner Wine [Los Olivos — check out their sister property, Los Olivos General Store!]

 

Bottoms up!

xx, your team {LL805}

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