Did you know there are over 50 sparkling wine producers in Santa Barbara County? 12 of those are located in the charming, historic town of Los Olivos, with many businesses open on New Year’s Day.
Not all of these local champagnes are available all the time (with some going to club members only), so we’ve compiled a list of those you can taste or buy now.
This is Fess Parker’s all bubbly, all the time tasting room with 3 sparklers on their tasting menu and a special holiday deal on 3-packs. 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 Rosé: “The 2015 Fesstivity Brut Rosé makes an impression with generous aromas of pink grapefruit, raspberry, passion fruit and a hint of orange zest. Bright flavors of citrus/grapefruit, vanilla, raspberry and cranberry are present on the pleasantly tangy palate and the finish lingers with a nice, quenching acidity.”
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!”
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!”
Community Craft doesn’t make its own sparkling wine, but it carries local cult favorites Flying Goat (Goat Bubbles), Solminer and Combe Pét’Nat (from the Trousseau grape, a join project between Rajat Parr and Pete Stolpman). They also have a special bubble flight for the holidays and are open on New Year’s Day!
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 and often unfiltered.
In addition to still wine and hard cider, this effort from Brittany Zotovich also includes bubbles: “Desert Flower” Sparkling Verdejo 32 (another Pét-Nat sparkling wine).
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.”
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.
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.”
This sparkling wine is for wine club members only, and is enough reason to join!
From Keith Saarloos: “If this wine actually did exist, it would have been crafted in 2008. It would be a blanc de noir and laid to rest until disgorged in 2013. It would make you weep.”
Tessa Marie makes 2 sparklers: Sparkling Blush rosé of Sangiovese and Sparkling Vermentino. Both are pretty, crisp and pleasing to the palate. Try their sparkling tasting flight or a glass of each – they make great gifts.
From Tessa: “In honor of one of bubbly’s greatest historical figures, we refer to our fermentation beads as Lilly pearls. If you hold our sparkling wine to the light, you’ll see a bed of Lilly pearls lying on the bottom of the bottle. These fermentation pearls allow for secondary fermentation to occur in the bottle, thereby allowing for bubbles to emerge. Our Méthode Traditionnelle is best enjoyed served chilled, or in an ice bucket. The curve of the bottle at the shoulders allows for the pearls to stay in the bottle once it has been emptied. Though they’re safe to ingest, it’s recommended that you leave them in the bottle; hopefully they will serve as remnants of a pleasurable, fun moment in time.”
Solminer only does private-tastings in the home of the winemaker overlooking the gorgeous vineyard, right in Los Olivos. It is one of the greatest pleasures in wine tasting in this town, and you must be a club member or make an appointment.
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. Vincent is also open on New Year’s Day.
Desserts in Los Olivos
What better to eat with sparkling wine than desserts? Here are the best desserts in Los Olivos:
- Stafford’s Chocolates – These chocolates and confections are handmade daily and blend in nuts and flavors grown locally in the San Joaquin and Santa Ynez Valleys. Try their mouth-watering truffles, caramels, English toffees, creams, and countless delectable, and adorable, chocolates.
- Enjoy Cupcakes – these cupcakes are made daily, some with wine right in the frosting! Buy a 6-pack sampler of mini cupcakes at Saarloos & Sons to try them all! Flavor examples are Chocolate Blackberry Syrah, Lemon Lime Chardonnay, Black Bottom, Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee, S’mores and Candied Pecan Toffee Banana Fosters.
- Sorbet from Sides Hardware & Shoes – all the desserts at Sides are really good, but the sorbet is truly amazing, especially the dark chocolate sorbet that you may have to ask for by name.