Eighty-one-thousand vines grow across Malibu Family Wines' 90-acre vineyard, producing eight varietals in total, including cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, and malbec. Once bottled and corked, many of the vineyard's Semler and Saddlerock wines end up at the tasting room in Los Olivos, a homey space with indoor and outdoor seating, occasional live music, and a large wooden tasting bar where customers are free to smell, sample, and swirl away. Those who enjoy the wines can rejoice knowing there's more where that came from—the vineyard expects to increase its vine total to 100,000 in the near future.
Bernard's Wine Gallery, a wine store with thousands of old and rare fine wines for sale, welcomes both wine neophytes and grizzled oenophiles to sip from its fine vat of liquefied vinefruits. Bernard Rosenson, who owns Bernard's Wine Gallery with his wife Cynthia, also owns Coquelicot Estate Vineyard, the organically farmed vineyard featured in this tasting. Six Coquelicot wines preside in the elegant tasting room, including the 2006 Bordeaux Blend, which won a gold medal at the 2010 San Francisco Chronicle wine competition for its dark, complex taste. Guests will swirl and sip in luxury, blissfully whisking away memories of Twilight Zone episodes where clubs of giant wine bottles attended a human tasting. Tastings run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
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.
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.