The Wandering Wino Blog


This is a phrase many of us in the US have heard and used; so please anyone outside the US that might be reading this I am not a cross dresser. I have visted over 100 tasting rooms so far in 2011 from Washington State down to Temecula CA, and had the pleasure of venturing out to nearly a dozen wine festivals. This does not make me any kind of expert, other than I'll have to have a glass surgically removed at some point. This is a simple title to let you know these are some of the wines I've had in the past eight months inside of a tasting room or festival/event that I really dig, and suggest getting a hold of while you can. No cellar selections to tease you with what you can't have or find. So I can't include the amazing bottle of Gaja or the Chateau d'yquem I had with the warm butter cake at Mastros.Most of these wines are available around $20-$35. This is not about tasting notes, oak, naked, fruit forward, low/high alcohal, or old world vs new world, this is just simple fantastic wine of all styles. 

Winery names and tasting room locations, not all vintages avaiable. Bold denotes highest regards, or my top 9. I'm hoping for 1 more before the year is out.

  • Alma Rosa (Sta Rita Hills, CA) - Pinot Noirs all of them
  • Andrew Murray Vineyards (Los Olivos, CA) - '08 Esperance, a Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre blend 
  • Andrew Murray Vineyards (Los Olivos, CA) - '08 Watch Hill Syrah '08 Tera Bella Syrah
  • Ampelos (Lompoc, CA) - Syrah Rose
  • Alexandria Nicole Cellars (Woodinville, WA) - '07 Quarry Butte (Meritage varietal blend)
  • Au Bon Climate (Santa Barbara, CA) '03 Hildegarde (Pinot Gris/Pinot Blanc/Aligote)

  • Brian Carter (Woodinville, WA) '08 Oriana (Viognier/Roussanne) 
  • Carr Vineyards & Winery (Santa Barbara, CA) - '08 Cabernet Franc
  • Chamisal (Edna Valley, CA) - '08 Califa Pinot Noir $60
  • Eberle (Paso Robles, CA) - '07 Cabernet Sauvignon (Love and Kisses, $125)
  • Foxen (Santa Maria Valley, CA) Sea Smoke Pinot Noir 

  • Goose Ridge (Woodinville, WA) - '06 Merlot
  • Goose Ridge (Woodinville, WA) - '07 Cabernet
  • Ken Brown (Buelton, CA) - '08 Chardonay 
  • Keswick (Monticello, VA) - '10 Viognier (sent from tasting room, thanks to Dezel, AKA @myvinespot)
  • Liquid Farm (Los Olivos, CA) - '09 Chardonnay produced by Dragonette Cellars
  • Municipal (Santa Barbara, CA) - '09 Rose
  • Riverbench (Santa Maria Valley, CA) - Reserve Chardonnay (sold out)

Wine Bottles

  • Saarloos & Sons (Los Olivos, CA) - Syrah
  • Sea Smoke (Sta Rita Hills, CA) - Chardonnay
  • Stuart Cellars Vineyard & Winery (Temecula, CA) - '06 Tatria (Meritage)
  • Storm (Santa Barbara, CA) '08 Pinot Noir 
  • Tercero (Los Olivos, CA) - '07 Petite Sirah
  • Valley Vineyards (OH) - '09 Cabernet Franc Rose (sent from tasting room)
  • Zenaida (Paso Robles, CA) - Wanderlust Grenache/ Syrah/Mourvedre 
  • Zin Alley (Paso Robles, CA) - Red Zinfandel
  • Zotovitch (Lompoc, CA) - Pinot Noir

There are so many great wines out there and I want to share some really exceptional ones. These are some great wineries and tasting rooms to investigate and make your personal tasting notes. I wish I could have hit every tasting room in the US this year, but we know that can't happen. What wine have you tasted this year that blew up your skirt?


  • Linda Mauck
    Posted Tuesday 11 October 2011 19:57
    Love all the Santa Ynez Valley area wines, especially the ones you noted!
  • Shawn Burgert
    Posted Wednesday 12 October 2011 02:07
    Thanks for reading. You have excellent taste Linda! :-)

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