Firestone Vineyard's winery and tasting room. Just a few minutes from Grand Avenue in Los Olivos - jammed with tasting rooms - the visit to Firestone offered a nice wine country experience with a picnic lunch in the front yard.
It was the kind of wine country trip I like - one with minimal planning. We had planned a stop at the Trader Joe's Milpas Street location while coming through Santa Barbara, but that was about it. A few cheeses, some avocados and a baguette later, we were fully equipped for a wine country snack. A group consensus put us on the road to Foxen Canyon, and we ended up at Firestone.
The day was beautiful, the picnic was enjoyable and we were chillin' - some of us more than others. Hey, it was a tough week!
All the wines on the tasting flight - $10 - are estate wines. Firestone also offer a reserve flight for $15.
Sauvignon Blanc SYV 2011
Tropical fruit - pineapple, mainly - great acidity and a citrus finish made this a great choice for the lunch pairing. The Santa Ynez Valley grapes are stainless steel fermented. We bought a bottle and took it outside. $14
Chardonnay SYV 2011
This one is aged 83% in stainless steel and 17% in French oak. Apples and tropical flavors are touched with oak spice, a nice toasty vanilla. It's not a big, buttery Chardonnay, but not steely either. $18
Gewürztraminer SYV 2010
Aromatic is the word here, with floral and herbal notes on the nose and bright fruit on the palate. It's off-dry and as fresh as can be. $15
Riesling SYV 2011
One of several extras our pourer splashed, this Riesling has notes of petrol and sweet flowers on the nose and sweet apples on the palate. 2.25% residual sugar.
Dry Rosé SYV 2011
Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache combine with a dollop of Gewürztraminer. There's a slight funk on the dark cherry nose and savory fruit on the palate.
Merlot SYV 2009
A bright red, spicy nose leads to cherries on the palate and a cinnamon finish. $20
Cabernet Sauvignon SYV 2010
The nose is very light and perfumed with fruit, while palate shows a spicy angle as does the Merlot. It's very tasty, but probably a little lightweight for me if I'm in the mood for a Cab. $22
Syrah SYV 2010
Mostly Syrah, there is a three percent touch of Grenache in the blend. The nose is wonderful, full of smoked meat and dark fruit. The spicy palate is bright, not moody.
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