Choose two flights, consisting of three to five 1-ounce pours, which can be selfishly indulged or reluctantly shared among multiple sippers in Malibu Wines' outdoor tasting room. The Saddlerock Ranch Flight ($10) includes wines sourced from multiple vineyards throughout the central coast of California, expertly coalesced for complex varieties disguised as chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot, and old vine tawny. The Semler Estate Flight ($12) consists of wine from Malibu Wines' very own vineyard just steps from the tasting room, and includes a sauvignon blanc and three cabernet sauvignon swishables that gracefully lube up a locavore's gullet. Bring along a good friend, a romantic partner, or a sentient Muppet, and discover a new and indulgent way to relax.
The vino aficionados at Bernard’s Wine Gallery stock their cellars with a multifarious collection of wines from around the world, including a broad selection of local Santa Barbara County vintages. Currently, the gallery inundates taste buds with a mélange of locally produced Coquelicot beverages cultivated using organic farming principles, such as zero chemical pesticides, regular composting practices, and hemp-woven tuxedos for every employee. Samples of Coquelicot Vineyard’s fermented delights—including chardonnay, sangiovese, and cabernet franc—dart across tongues to invoke an array of tones and flavors. Additionally, free plates brim with rich cheeses that help support the rich, sugary notes of the wines by spontaneously animating and leading a pep rally.
Brittany Rice is a Renaissance woman: a poet, photographer, and culinary expert, she has managed to combine her love for artistic expression in Millésimé Cellars Winery & Tasting Room. After learning the wine business first from her family’s winery and then from a culinary academy, Brittany decided to honor the tradition of libations by making her own Old-World–style wines. In that vein, she ages her vinos longer than most contemporary wineries or families who simply forget about the bottle of merlot stashed behind their washing machine.
Made from organic grapes from surrounding Santa Barbara vineyards, Brittany’s wines are smooth and full of flavor. Her cache includes a 2006 Bleu Saphir comprised of 60% cabernet sauvignon, 25% merlot, and 15% cabernet franc, as well as a 2007 Scoprire made from 48% syrah, 29% mourvèdre, 13% cabernet franc, and 10% cabernet sauvignon. Brittany complements her artful flavor bouquets and makes her wares truly unique by placing her own photography on the labels and describing the winery's creations with poetic tasting notes.
When Vince Pantess was growing up in New Jersey, he and his cousins would enjoy a taste of homemade wine—diluted on account of their age—while dining with their Italian family during Sunday dinner. After his Italian forebears immigrated to the United States, they made wine in their cellars for years, laying the foundation for a tradition that pervaded Vince's childhood.
In 2005, after 20 years in the chemical and biopharmaceutical industries, Vince decided to act on his inherited passion for wine. His background in the sciences collided with classes and home experiments in horticulture—as well as an influential experience working a commercial harvest in the Santa Maria Valley—to cultivate the skill and artistry Vince needed for artisanal winemaking.
Every grape that ends up in San Vicente Cellars’ barrels comes from vineyards along the central coast—specifically Paso Robles and Santa Barbara County—that hand-farm their grapes and practice sustainable agriculture techniques. The careful collection results in a complex wine list that includes bottles of late-harvested viognier and two different syrahs that highlight the versatility of the grape: the 2009 Thompson is driven by spice, whereas a San Stefano blend takes Syrah from three vineyards for an earthy, smooth vintage with hints of raspberry.
Telegraph Brewing Co. uses locally grown ingredients to handcraft artisan American ales that reflect the regional brewing traditions of California's early pilsner pioneers. Set forth on a journey of sud discovery in the tasting area, an impressive collection of 18-foot fermentation tanks housing an array of award-winning drafts. The brewers themselves will pour you pints of white ale, a classic, unfiltered Belgian-style blend of coriander, orange peel, and chamomile flowers that Wine Enthusiast Magazine named one of the top 25 beers of 2010, allowing you to ply the experts with questions such as, “Why are they called hops if they’ve got no feet?” Sample the intricacies of the California ale, Telegraph’s signature medium-bodied brew featuring an earthy aroma and a good head on its shoulders. Or, tipple the Gypsy ale, a blend of rye, unmalted wheat, and local plums, before requesting a 10 oz. glass of your favorite. Sourdough pretzels are provided as a palate companion, and ale aficionados are encouraged to bring their own eats to pair with lonely lagers.
On the roof of Bonaventure Brewing Co. sits a verdant, manicured square of lawn and a little copse of trees. Carved into that is the circle of a heated outdoor patio that expands into panoramic views of the downtown Los Angeles skyline. Perched atop the fourth floor pool deck, the patio shares the restaurant's 9,000 total square feet with a wood-paneled dining room and an in-house brewery. Here, head brewer David Blackwell creates a trio of award winning beers: pale ale, strawberry blonde, and the Marathon.
Blackwell's ales and a handful of guest beers complement the kitchen's approach to pub food, which ranges from classic bar bites to more upscale, steakhouse-style entrees. The traditional end of the spectrum includes calamari tempura-battered in the brewery's blonde ale, as well as Angus burgers coated in blackened spices and topped with bleu cheese and chipotle aioli. The brewery end features dishes such as macadamia-crusted Mahi-Mahi and bacon-wrapped filet mignon.