By now, eating and drinking local in Santa Barbara County is easy. With our plethora of local farmers and chefs who embrace local ingredients, along with the more than 200 wineries and over 21,349 acres planted to wine grapes, you can easily find locally grown food, wine and food products to enjoy every day of the year. Now, you can include sparkling wine too!
Sparkling wine is a labor of love for many Santa Barbara County vintners, and the number of local producers has been growing slowly and steadily over the last 10 years. Today, with the popularity of an ancestral method resulting in a sparkling wine called Pét-nat, there are over 50 producers of sparkling wine in the county, making bubbly wine available here year-round.
Pét-nat is short for pétillant naturel, or natural bubbles, and is the oldest (and easiest) way to make sparkling wine. If differs from traditional Champagne production in that the wine is bottled before the fermentation is complete (so only 1 fermentation happens, partially in the bottle), no sugar or yeast is added for a second fermentation, and it’s usually unfiltered, and can be made from a multitude of grape varieties. It also takes a much shorter time than the traditional method, meaning more winemakers can get in on the bubbly action. Pét-nat’s bubbles typically don’t last as long as traditional sparkling wine, and the flavors can be all over the map, instead of the classic style and flavor profile you get from the méthode traditionnelle.
Los Olivos has a high concentration of these fun, fresh bubbles, as well as traditional sparkling wine, so it’s a perfect place to go bubbly tasting this Spring. Pét-nats include Carhartt’s sparkling rosé of Grenache, Dreamcôte’s 3 different pét-nats (Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Verdejo) and Solminer, also with 3 different bubblies (all certified organic and biodynamic: Riesling, rosé of Syrah and Sparkling Syrah). Some of the traditional sparklers in town are Blair Fox (also rosé made from Grenache), Coquelicot’s Sparkling Riesling, Fess Parker’s Fesstivity label (3 different sparkling wines from classic Blanc de Blancs to sparkling red Grenache plus a 30th Anniversary Magnum of sparkling Cuvée, all available at the Bubble Shack), Toretti Blanc de Noirs, and E11even Blanc de Blancs. Plus, you can also get small-lot Loubud Blanc de Noirs & Goat Bubbles from Flying Goat (some of the oldest bubbles in the County) at local wine shop Community Craft.
Find more Santa Barbara County bubbles on our local sparkling wine map, and celebrate Spring in Los Olivos: pop some local bottles!
This is Fess Parker’s all bubbly, all the time tasting room with three different sparklers on their tasting menu (it’s only open Friday – Monday only).
Blanc De Noirs: “The delicate, persistent bubbles and straw color with a hint of salmon are harbingers of great things to come. You will detect hints of brioche, ginger and lemon rind on the nose. The palate offers up gorgeous citrus and tangerine flavors tempered by mineral notes and a delicious yeasty/pastry dough element as a result of extended time laying en tirage.”
Brut Cuvée: “Benefitting from additional time en tirage, this is our most complex sparkling wine to date.”
Sparkling Grenache: “Our 2015 Sibling Bubblery is surprisingly refreshing despite its dark ruby color. Aromas of cranberry, red plum and baking spice are what you will encounter on the nose of this sparkling Grenache. The palate is loaded with juicy flavors of red plum and black raspberry made more delicious due to a hint of cinnamon. While Grenache is an unusual choice of varietal for a sparkling wine we can assure you that you will be better off for having put your preconceived notions aside and trying it. Enjoy!”
2016 Brut Rosé also coming soon!
This rosé of Grenache is crisp and fruity; just ask and they will pour you a taste!
From Blair: “The 2014 Foxy Bubbles were disgorged, capped and labeled the last week of December 2016 of this year after resting in bins on their secondary fermentation lees for over twenty months. The lees add complexity and give the sparkling Grenache rosé a nice biscuity aroma and flavor to go along with the beautiful fruit flavors of strawberry, cranberry and raspberry. Every bottle has been touched at least 10 times from bottling, riddling and disgorging!”
The 2017 is coming out soon, but you can still buy older vintages now.
Carhartt now offers a sparkling rosé of Grenache made in a the méthod ancestral, creating a wine called Pét-Nat, or pétillant naturel. Try it in their new location in town!
Note: Pétillant Naturel, or Pét-Nat, is an even more ancient way to make sparkling wine than the widely-used méthod traditionelle or méthod champenoise originated in Champagne, France. In the méthod ancestral, the wine is bottle before it even finishes its first fermentation, so developing carbon dioxide as it goes. It’s not disgorged, often unfiltered and can be made from any grape variety.
Community Craft doesn’t make its own sparkling wine, but it carries local cult favorites Flying Goat (Goat Bubbles), Loubud Blanc de Blancs, Solminer Pét-Nat and Combe Pét-Nat (from the Trousseau grape, a join project between Rajat Parr and Pete Stolpman).
Sparkling Riesling from Coquelicot is available now! Made in the Méthode-Champenoise by hand, the wine is made from organic grapes in their Solvang vineyard.
In addition to still wine and hard cider, this effort from Brittany Zotovich also includes another Pét-Nat sparkling wine, “Desert Flower” Sparkling Verdejo.
From Brittany: “Passion fruit, white peach, saison, poached pineapple, and melon. This is our second ever Pét-nat! Pétillant Naturel is a wine that is bottled before it has fully finished fermenting and sealed with a screw cap. The wine continues to ferment, building pressure with the conversion of sugar to alcohol and C02 resulting in some pretty awesome BUBBLES.”
Also available are 2 other Pét-Nat sparkling wines: Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, and Sparkling Riesling.
From Andrew: “Our sparkling wine is crafted in the age-old Méthode-Champenoise style. This Blanc de Blanc Bubbly is 100% Chardonnay has aromas of toasty brioche, citrus, and tropical notes, with a balanced, yet bracing, natural acidity and a very fine mousse.”
At Roblar, you can taste both the classic Sparkling Blanc de Blancs (Pinot Blanc) and Sparkling Rosé (Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc), and buy them by the glass or bottle. These wines are sourced and made in Sonoma County.
From Roblar: “Roblar extra dry sparkling wine is crafted from grapes grown at the Michel-Schlumberger Benchland Estate Vineyard in Sonoma County. This sparkling wine was produced by inducing in-bottle secondary fermentation and a minimum of 12 months of aging using the traditional méthode champenoise to create the tiny bubbles and complex flavors. It will continue to develop as it ages.”
Solminer is the newest tasting room in Los Olivos, and is located at the flagpole at the center of town, in the same building at Kanea Wines (just north of the post office).
Solminer makes 3 different Pét-Nats as well. The Sparkling Rosé of Syrah is exceptionally bubbly, and has a lovely earthy and fruity flavor. Their Sparkling Riesling offers something different to bubbly lovers – it is dry and citrusy, also floral with delicate bubbles.
They also make “Nebullite” Sparkling Syrah: “Whether there is a new star forming or simply a family holiday, certainly a champagne glass filled with the swirling, fizzing cosmos of red sparkling Syrah is intriguing and worthy of any celebration, large or small.”
Vincent has a very dry Blanc de Blancs-style Brut bubbly made from 100% Chardonnay. It is available by the glass and if you ask for a taste, you’ll probably get one. These wines are sourced and made in Sonoma County. Vincent is also open on New Year’s Day.
Zinke has a fun sparkler from sister label Friend & Foe. It’s great for a large toast with pals, or even to make some simple sparkling wine cocktails! This wine is sourced and made in Sonoma County.