101 sign in Santa Barbara

March 9, 2019

Saturday morning we hopped on the 101 and headed up to the Santa Ynez Valley for another day of wine tasting. With the dogs along for the ride, we were driving to Gainey Vineyard for an 11am appointment in the members’ tasting lounge. 

Gainey Vineyard

Gainey Vineyard
Gainey Vineyard

Upon arrival we encountered many more cars on the property than we’re used to. We soon learned that the crowd was there for an event, “An Education in Mushroom Foraging.” Thirty fungi lovers had gathered for four hours adventure including mushroom foraging techniques and a mushroom and wine pairing with a mycologist (fungi scientist), Gainey’s winemaker and the chef from Industrial Eats in Beullton.

We headed on in for our appointment and tasted these excellent wines:

  • 2017 Gainey Limited Selection Sauvignon Blanc ($24)
  • 2016 Evan’s Ranch Las Brisas Chardonnay ($36)
  • 2016 Gainey Limited Selection Chardonnay ($38)
  • 2016 Evan’s Ranch Morgan’s Las Brisas Pinot Noir ($58)
  • 2016 Gainey Limited Selection Pinot Noir ($60)
  • 2016 Evan’s Ranch Lone Oak Syrah ($45)

Learn more about Gainey Vineyard here.

Andrew Murray Winery on Foxen Canyon
Andrew Murray Winery on Foxen Canyon

Andrew Murray Vineyards

After a stop at Los Olivos Market to purchase our picnic lunch, we drove on to Andrew Murray Vineyards north of Los Olivos. Along the way we encountered bicyclists participating in a bike race along Foxen Canyon Road. Their energy and determination was evident. I was glad I was in a car. When we arrived at Andrew Murray we set out our picnic lunch in one of the winery’s outdoor areas. Our Gaviota sandwich and potato salad were delicious!

When Andrew Murray took over the old Curtis winery, he undertook an extensive remodeling of the tasting areas. Both the public and members tasting rooms are elegant yet comfortable. We always enjoy the staff who are pouring, and this day was no different. Krystal is always pleasant and well-informed. She poured these delicious wines:

  • 2017 Grenache Blanc ($25)
  • 2016 Enchanté White Blend (Grenache Blanc/Roussanne) ($28)
  • 2016 Espérance GSM Blend
  • 2016 Watch Hill Syrah ($50)
  • 2015 Slide Hill Syrah ($55)

Learn more about Andrew Murray Vineyards here.

E11even by Andrew Murray

E11even message board
E11even’s whimsical message board

In addition to Andrew Murray’s location on Foxen Canyon Road, Murray has a sister label, E11even, on Grand Avenue in Los Olivos. All estate grown, E11even’s wines are Murray’s “very personal project.” We planted ourselves and the pups on the comfortable couches on the front patio (the tasting room is pet-friendly, but my two pups are not always people-friendly!), our first pour was called “Fruit Salad.” It was bright, fruit forward with a slightly sweet finish. Not yet bottled, I’m looking forward to it being available for purchase! We also tasted these delicious wines, including E11evn’s Cab Franc, on of my favorite reds:

  • Unplugged Sauvignon Blanc ($25)
  • 2016 Sta Rita Hills Pinot Noir ($36)
  • 2016 Cabernet Franc ($33)
  • 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon ($36)

Learn more about E11even here.

Dragonette Cellars

Dragonette Cellars
Dragonette Cellars Tasting Room

Our final stop was Dragonette Cellars, a short walk from E11even. It had been quite busy when we walked by earlier, but by the time we arrived, the crowd had thinned and we found a spot at the tasting bar. The staff at Dragonette is small but well-informed and very personable. 

  • 2016 Grassini Sauvignon Blanc (Members’ Exclusive)
  • 2016 Duvarita Vineyards Chardonnay ($60)
  • 2016 Radian Vineyards Pinot Noir ($75)

As it was our fourth tasting stop of the day and the fact that I was driving home, I chose to limit myself to the Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Both of these tasting delicious and the Chardonnay is one of my favorite Chardonnays of the region.

Learn more about Dragonette Cellars here.

These are but a few of the wineries we enjoy in the area. We’ll share more with you in future blog posts.

by Scott Pfeiffer

* All prices listed are retail bottle.