Monday, October 31, 2005

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Santa Ynez Wine Country

We spent two nights this past week in the Santa Ynez Valley just North of the city of Santa Barbara, and the short trip was definitely an eye opener.

I had known that the Central Coast of California grew a lot of grapes but I had thought them to be mostly for bulk wine and the like. No such thing!

We based ourselves at the Ballard Inn ( ) in Ballard CA and started with a wine tasting at the Inn featuring local Syrah and Pinot Noir wines. Dinner followed at the Hitching Post 2 in Buellton, a restaurant/bar made famous in the movie "Sideways." Below is the Ballard dining room with the "ladies is red scarves" on display:

We got smart and used a driver on Wednesday to visit a very few of the many wineries in the neighborhood. These included Cottonwood Canyon (, Bridalwood (, Firestone (, Firestone's neighbor, Curtis ( (the Curtis daughter married into the Firestone family, quite some time ago) and Bedford/Thompson ( Below is a bit of the Bridlewood Winery.

A superb dinner at the Ballard Inn followed. Their chef is famous and the food was really special. Please see their web site for the dining room menu.

And we closed with a picnic lunch under the oaks on the lawn of Fess Parker's sumptuous winery on Zaca Mesa Road.

All this is not merely to drop names and demonstrate that I'm learning (slowly) how to make Blogger work for me.

It's much more to say that winery watching in California these days is much more than a tour of the Napa Valley. Now there's the Sonoma Valley, the Gold Country, and Santa Ynez!


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Cool Dancing

Sort of reminds me of ballroom dancing class at the Orinda Community Center. Thanks to

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Greve is the center of Chianti Country

The symbol for true Chianti Wine is the black rooster. There is a statue of the rooster in the village of Greve, just northeast of Siena, if you're into maps. Behold the statue!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal

He writes today on "Best of the Web" as follows:

An item yesterday on Unicef's Smurf snuff film stated that Belgians speak Belch. While this is the language of the French-speaking parts of Belgium, large parts of the country speak a variant of Dutch known as Phlegm. We regret the omission.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Lunch at Fattoria Montagliari

Nothing more need be said, except that the tartufo, although out of season, was magnificent.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Royal Worcester

Flowers in September, inside the tourist side of the factory.

Italian Sunshine

Just a simple vision of a lovely lady gazing down to the patio in full Tuscan sun. Nice, no?