Tag Archive for 'tasting'

Dragonette Cellars this Afternoon

This afternoon we will be starting a new wine tasting series at the Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro. These events are important to us in bringing the local wine and food community together as well as educating our guests about wines from around the world. These Sunday series differ from our Passport to the World of Wine tastings because they focus on local winemakers and highlight a single winery, not a selection of five wines from around the world.

Today Dragonette Cellars will be pouring in our dining area from 3-5pm.

From their website:


Brothers John and Steve Dragonette and close friend Brandon Sparks-Gillis formed Dragonette Cellars in order to pursue a mutual, long held dream to make wine in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley. However, before embarking on this journey, we did our homework; seeking out and obtaining a wealth of knowledge of wine tasting, wine sales and winemaking at the feet of some of the finest retailers and winemakers in the world. Then, having established that this winery was exactly the project to which we could devote our working lives, we moved our families (a combined three spouses, three children, three dogs, and a cat) to the Valley, so we could be close to the land and its bounty. 2005 was our first commercial vintage, and we have been expanding since.

We are 100% hands-on in our venture. We have no employees, and each of us contributes our time, effort and hard physical labor to the end product, our wines. In fact, we would not have it any other way, for we all feel that a day working with our wines or the vines is the best kind of day. We are passionate and committed to crafting the finest possible wines from this very special Valley, one of the handful of great appellations in the world.

Dragonette Cellars is located in the Sta. Rita Hills

Sunday with the Vintner
Sunday, January 17
15.00 includes wine tasting and a selection of artisan cheeses

Wine Flights

One of our favorite ways to taste new wines is by lining them up in a Wine Flight. Most of the fun of drinking wine comes from comparing it to others and talking about it. Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro has a menu full of Wine Flights to enjoy in house over Bistro fare and good company.

Our unique flights include 3 ounces of each wine listed and are intended
to give you the opportunity to experience wines from outstanding
growing areas in the world and different winemaking styles.

Bold 15.00
08 Layer Cake Malbec Mendoza
06 Murphy-Goode Liar’s Dice Zinfandel
08 Mollydooker The Boxer Barossa Shiraz

Cabernet Sauvignon 13.00
06 Rutherford Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
05 Freemark Abbey Napa Valley
06 Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley

South America 12.00
05 Andeluna Mendoza Malbec
08 Calina Reserve Chile Merlot
06 Marraso Argentina Malbec

Sauvignon Blanc 15.00

07 Santa Barbara Winery Sauvignon Blanc Santa Ynez Valley
08 Ernst & Co. Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosch
08 Brancott Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand

Chardonnay 13.00
07 Cuvaison ChardonnayCarneros Napa Valley
05 Vergelegen Chardonnay Stellenbosch
07 Leese-Fitch Chardonnay California

Ménage a? 11.00
Soligo Prosecco NV Italy
Cristalino Cava NV Spain
Fresita Rose NV Chile & Patagonia

Make up your own flight of three wines from the list above
or any of the wines we serve by the glass. 15.00

Passport to the World of Wine Bordeaux Blends, January 6

Although 2010 is only a little over a week away it feels like an eternity with all of the ongoings wrapping up 2009. The Wine Bistro’s next Passport to the World of Wine will be held on January 6, and will focus on Bordeaux blends from all over the world (wines that have their origins in the Bordeaux region of France). Santa Barbara recently announced a new appellation in the county that is focused around growing Bordeaux varietals. Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara is a warmer inland appellation in the Santa Ynez Valley than, for example, the Sta. Rita Hills where Lafond Vineyard is located. Because of its location, varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc flourish, while in the Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (Burgundian varietals) are king.

Passport to the World of Wine
Bordeaux blends
Wednesday, January 6

Taste five outstanding Bordeaux Blends from exceptional growing areas paried with a delicious culinary selection.

03 Chelsea Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma CA

06 Santa Barbara Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Grassini Vineyard Santa Ynez CA

06 ONYX Cabernet Sauvignon Darling South Africa

06 Bell Claret Napa Valley CA

04 Chateau Le Pape Pessac-Leognan Bordeaux

Grilled Cheese Nights and Private Wine Tastings

Santa Barbara’s oldest winery, Santa Barbara Winery, now offers Private Wine Tasting in the Barrel Room. A senior staff member will guide tasters through a flight of six wines, including a library or estate vineyard designated wine, and describe the winery’s history and current focus. The Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro also provides an artisan cheese plate to accompany the tasting. Private tastings are 25.00 a person and are available everyday from 11am-4pm with 24 hours notice. Reservations are required.

After a brief summertime hiatus, Grilled Cheese night is back at the Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro every Thursday evening starting at 4pm. Chef Nathan offers three cheeses, ranging from Manchego to Smoked Mozzarella to Humboldt Fog. Select one of the three cheeses or choose the sample plate, which includes a taste of each. Tomato Bisque or Bistro Greens accompany the artisan cheese melted fresh bread (12.00 per person). Sandwiches can be paired with the Bistro’s Wine Flights, created to allow diners to experience three-ounce pours of three wines. Choose from Wine Bistro Flight Menu or create your own combination of tastings.

Pierre Lafond Wendy Foster Trip Guide

Santa Barbara wine and fashion pioneers Pierre Lafond and Wendy Foster have spent the past few decades establishing and building an empire with businesses spread out between Montecito’s glitzy upper and lower villages, bustling State Street, and the serene vineyard packed Sta. Rita Hills. An ocean side drive that spans about an hour in length can get you from one end of their trail to the other – shopping, wine and dining along the way.

Trip length: 2 days

Day 1:

Arrive in Montecito’s upper village for lunch at the Pierre Lafond Market and Deli where a cluster of Pierre Lafond and Wendy Foster businesses are located on San Ysidro Road. Enjoy wraps, sandwiches, deli entrees, and salads outside on the foliage-filled patio.

Just next door from the Market, Wendy Foster has laid claim to three of the most talked about boutiques in Santa Barbara – Wendy Foster Dress Shop, Wendy Foster Sportswear, and home décor shop Upstairs. The stores have been fixtures in Montecito since 1964. Pick up an outfit for dinner at Wendy Foster and some colorful table accents for your home Upstairs.

Make your way down to the lower village and walk up Coast Village Rd. to stop at Angel, a more contemporary and trend flaired boutique with labels like Vince, Juicy Couture, and whimsical Rebecca Taylor designs.

From Coast Village Rd., head north into downtown Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone for a wine tasting at Santa Barbara Winery, the oldest post-Prohibition winery in Santa Barbara County. Tasting hours are from 10am-5pm, and wine tasting includes six wines and your crystal logo glass ($5). Sample award winning Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, and lesser-known varietals such as Primitivo.

Walk from wine tasting a few blocks up State Street to the Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro for dinner – bring a bottle from the winery and receive free corkage with your entrees. Seasonal and fresh menu items from Flatbreads to Grilled Duck Breast are wine friendly and masterfully constructed. Huge windows allow the space to be full of light until the sun goes down, and an outdoor patio is perfect for State Street people watching over your meal.

Day 2:

Return to the Pierre Lafond Bistro for breakfast and pick up a picnic lunch to bring up to the Lafond Vineyard for more wine tasting at the estate vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley. Thick Cut French Toast from the Griddle, Omelets, Scrambles, and Santa Maria Grilled Tri Tip with Eggs are among the AM menu.

Hit the road with your box lunches and drive 45 minutes along the coast to Lafond Vineyard to sample the wines from Santa Barbara Winery’s sister winery. The vineyard was planted in 1972 and provides fruit for both labels under the guidance of winemaker Bruce McGuire. Taste through a selection of vineyard and Sta. Rita Hills appellation designated (SRH series) Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah at the vineyard site and enjoy an outdoor picnic over looking the yellowed and vibrant hillsides of the valley.

Joanie Hudson, Director National and International Marketing, Santa Barbara Winery / Lafond Winery & Vineyards

November Passport Tasting – Pinot Noir

Please join us for November’s Passport to the World of Wine at Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro. This month will feature Pinot Noir from five unique growing regions around the world. Often described as romantic and ethereal, Pinot Noir’s inherently lighter body and acidity makes it an extremely versatile food wine.

Pinot Noir is grown around the world in cooler regions, chiefly associated with the Burgundy region of France. By volume, the most Pinot Noir in America is grown in California, followed by Oregon. As any wine lover knows, Santa Barbara County garnered an enormous amount of attention for the varietal since the movie Sideways in 2004.

Passport to the World of Wine
Wednesday, November 4

07 Lafond Pinot Noir ‘SRH’ Sta. Rita Hills CA

06 Richard Grant Wrotham Clone Napa Valley CA

07 Wild Earth, Central Otago New Zealand

05 Bouchard Pere et Fils Burgundy FR

05 Markowitsch Carnuntum Austria

25.00 per person

Appellation America, Sauvignon Blanc

The Appellation America website has some really fun and informative definitions on grape varietals.  Here is a fun one that they have posted about the subtle and interesting differences in Sauvignon Blanc wines (in honor of the upcoming Sauvignon Blanc Passport tasting on July 1).


You are one sexy gal, Sauvignon Blanc, trotting joyously through fields of grass, with your long, blond tresses blowing in the breeze. We envision you with leis of wild flowers and gooseberries bouncing; you absorb all the herbal essences around you. You are young and fresh – crisp even – with taut skin and daring spunk. You have the steely courage to bound up to us bare-naked. Yet when you do don cloths of oak you present yourself in a most exotic way. However, most would agree that you are best au naturel!

Appellations producing the most Sauvignon Blanc wines:
Napa Valley (AVA)
Santa Ynez Valley (AVA)
Columbia Valley (AVA)
Sonoma County (County Appellation)
Russian River Valley (AVA)
Paso Robles (AVA)
Okanagan Valley (DVA)
Dry Creek Valley (AVA)

Sangiovese Notes

Last night’s Sangiovese event was a packed house with regular dinner guests on one half of the restaurant and passport tasters on the other.  The night’s varietal really lent itself to pairings with the Wine Bistro fare, as Chef Nathan is a wizard with his tomato sauce based flatbreads.  

Zach (our Bistro Sommelier) types up really great notes on each of the wines for the tastings, and you can read a few of the highlights below.

2005 Fattoria Le Puille, Morellino di Scansano, Elisabetta Geppetti, Tuscany Italy

In the 1970s, Fattoria Le Pupille was a farmhouse producing red wine from 5 acres of Sangiovese.  In 1978, the Morellino di Scansano DOC was created and the first harvest of this wine was made at Le Pupille.  According to Jancis Robinson, “it is here on the wind swept Tuscan coast that there has been the most dramatic change to the winescape in recent years.”  Robinson says that, “one of the fastest growing regions has been Morellino di Scansano, now DOCG.  Morellino is the local name for Sangiovese, raised here in balmy conditions only just above sea level.  A host of outsiders have invested here in recent years, with dramatic effects on property values.  Florence’s oldest winemaking families such as Antinori and Frescobaldi together with Barbi and Biondi-Santi (more famous for their Brunello di Montalcino), and Chianti producers Badia a Coltibuono, Cecchi, Fonterutoli, and Rocca della Macie, where the resulting wines are much fleshier and more supple than anything made in the hills of Chianti Classico inland.”  The history of Le Pupille really started when Elisabetta Geppetti became personally responsible for the estate in the early 1980s.  She completed her first harvest of Morellino di Scansano in 1985, at the age of 20.  In the 1990s, the quality of the wines began to be rewarded by critics all around the world and Fattorria Le Pupille’s international reputation was established.

Elisabetta Geppetti always believed in the potential of this land she loves, and saw the clear potential for making great wines from the, “red, bitter soil,” when few people thought it possible.  In 1992 she was elected as the first chairperson of the Consortium of Morellino di Scansano, as well as a founding member.  In 2006 Elisabetta was awarded winemaker of the year by top German magazines Der Feinschmecker and Wein Gourmet, making her the first woman to receive this award.

This wine is 85% Sangiovese, with a remaining blend of Alicante and Malvasia Nera.  It has a nose of black cherry and rose petals with accents of leather and smoky minerality.  It is well balanced with harmonious acidity.

Food Pairing: Romesco and Prawn Flatbread with Asparagus and Parmesan

2006 Seghesio Vineyard Sangiovese, Sonoma County, CA

Seghesio is responsible for the oldest planting of Sangiovese in North America.  The Seghesio story begins in 1866 when Eduardo Seghesio departed his family’s vineyards in Piedmonte, Italy for a new life in America.  Like many Italian immigrants he was drawn to Northern Sonoma County and the famous Italian Swiss Colony to follow his passion for winemaking.  The “colony,” as it was known, hired immigrants for three year stints, providing room and board and then, a lump sum at the end of those three years enabling employees to buy land or set up a new business.

Edoardo soon rose through the ranks and became the winemaker.  Yet, he still yearned to return home.  It was his niece and the opportunity to purchase land that convinced Edoardo to remain.  That young girl, Angela Vasconi and Edoardo were married in 1893.  Edoardo remained at the Colony while building his own winery at night.  Upon its completion in 1902, the young couple began Seghesio Winery.  In 1910 they acquired additional acreage surrounding the train station in what was then “Chianti, California.” Edoardo appropriately planted the 10 acres to the Chianti field blend of Sangiovese, Canielao Nero, Trebbiano and Malvasia, creating the oldest continually operating Sangiovese vineyard in North America.  That vineyard they call Chianti Station.  Prohibition brought on hard times, and Edoardo had to bring on partners.  Yet they still survived, in 1934 Edoardo passed away leaving the winery to Angela.  Her three sons took the reins and continued their father’s tradition.  

This Sangiovese from the oldest American plantings, combined with their small-berried clones, produce wines of intense varietal character.  This wine was aged for eighteen months in French Oak barrels, 20% new.  Its bouquet of dried violets and blackberries mingle with a little bit of spicy anise.  The palate exhibits well integrated tannins with clove and oak overtones.

Food Pairing: BBQ Pulled Pork Empanadas

2007 Conalicchio di Sopra, Rosso di Montalcino, Azienda Agricola, Italy

Founded by the Pacenti family in the early 1900s, bottling began at the winery in 1966.  This was the first year of the Brunello Consorzio.  Prior to bottling their own wine, they had sold their grapes to Biondi Santi.  The 2007 Conalicchio Di Sopra Rosso di Montalcino is a great value, because Canalicchio only grows Brunello rated Sangiovese.  Their selection for the rosso often will rival other producers in Brunello.  Their vineyards are located in one of the best exposed parts of Montalcino’s vine growing areas, their vineyards cover 5 acres between Canalicchio and Montosoli.  Although they use the most modern facilities, they still revel in the ancient traditional wine making methods.

This wine spends 7 to 8 months in barrel.  This selection for the Rosso often will rival other producers of Brunello.  It is a limpid, ruby colored wine of great intensity.

Food Pairing: Duck Rillettes on Crostini with Black Fruit Jam

Joanie Hudson, Assistant Tasting Room Manager, Santa Barbara Winery

Notes written by Zach Blair

New Breakfast Menu

Our new Spring Breakfast Menu will be served starting tomorrow, June 2.  Categories of the menu include ‘light breakfast,’ ‘from the griddle,’ ‘omelets and scambles,’ ‘specialties,’ and ‘sides.’ 

Indulge in Eggs Benedict, a Lobster Omelet, or Cheese Blintzes with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote.  On the lighter side of that morning spectrum enjoy Housemade Granola, Slow Cooked Oatmeal, or the Roasted Seasonal Vegetable Omelet

Assemble your own assortment of sides to create your own breakfast.  Choose from fresh fruit, half grapefruit, muffins, bacon, chicken apple sausage, bagels, and whole grain toast.

The focus is on the freshest ingredients available to create these recipes.

Full Breakfast Menu

Joanie Hudson, Assistant Tasting Room Manager, Santa Barbara Winery

Saturday Oysters

I often find myself wanting to be a tourist in my own town and usually wander (if you have a destination is it still wandering?) from tasty local culinary treat to our urban wineries on weekends.  So whether you are an out of town tourist, or a Santa Barbara local, Saturday afternoons at the Wine Bistro can be spent enjoying West Coast Oysters on the half shell with all of their slippery, cold and sea salty goodness.

Like wine grapes, oysters take up much of their flavor from their surroundings (they are known to filter about 25 gallons of sea water through their tiny bodies daily).  So, depending on where the oysters come from, the flavors are distinct.

Try these mollusks alongside the 2007 Santa Barbara Winery Pinot Gris.

Saturday Oysters are served from 4-6pm

2.00 each

11.00 1/2 dozen

22.00 / dozen

Joanie Hudson, Assistant Tasting Room Manager, Santa Barbara Winery