October 15, 2012 |
Vermont-based Country Walkers offers a tour of Argentina that explores on foot the wine country of Mendoza as well as the lakes of Patagonia. Add on three extra days in Buenos Aires for free by booking selected spring tours. The walks on this eight-day trip are considered easy to moderate (the tour operator doesn't call it hiking) and usually last a half day. Near the start point in Mendoza, the group visits such places as Bodega Norton, a winery that dates to 1883, and the Horcones Valley at the base of Mt. Aconcagua, almost 23,000 feet above sea level. From there, it's a short flight to northern Patagonia near the border with Chile and the country's lake district.
October 14, 2012
Regarding "It's Ripening on the Vine," by Christopher Reynolds, Oct. 7: As a visitor to the Santa Ynez Valley before the days of Indian gambling, before Neverland Ranch and before vineyards and wineries, I always thought of Solvang as the Danish Tijuana. The original Hitching Post in Casmalia is a true gem. But it takes time and effort to get there. Your readers should be warned that just showing up without prior arrangements [especially on weekends] is a recipe for disappointment.
October 14, 2012 |
Like a fine wine, Paso Robles, Calif., gets better with age. I was delighted to find new downtown restaurants, wine bars and shops since last visiting five years ago. And there are now more than 200 eclectic wineries dotting the region's oak-shaded country roads. Fall is a great time to visit, especially during Harvest Wine Weekend (Oct. 19-21 this year). There's a crush of activities to celebrate the crushing of the grapes: Jump in and try your hand, oops, feet, at grape stomping, get a vino-therapy massage or go to an elegant winemaker dinner or casual barbecue.
October 7, 2012
El Capitan Canyon, 11560 Calle Real, Santa Barbara; (805) 685-3887, http://www.elcapitancanyon.com . This 300-acre refuge, 20 miles north of Santa Barbara, is outfitted with cedar cabins and canvas safari tents. There's also a restaurant and store. From April through November, most cabins are $225-$355 a night, safari tents $155. Rates drop $10-$40 December-March. Ocean Mesa at El Capitan, 100 El Capitan Terrace Lane, Santa Barbara; (805) 879-5751, http://www.oceanmesa.com . Bring your own tent or RV; it supplies the heated swimming pool and laundry room.
October 7, 2012 |
About 20 miles beyond the red-tile roofs of downtown Santa Barbara, it begins: the rolling blond hills that go indecently green in spring, the massive estates and miniature horses, the sprawling vineyards and "Sideways" scenery, the dude ranch with 10,000 acres, the old stagecoach stop with boar on the menu and bikers in the parking lot .... Santa Barbara County's wine country has a lot to offer. The nine micro-itineraries that follow are a quick introduction for newcomers, part of our ongoing series of Southern California Close-Ups.
October 5, 2012
Your next getaway is just two hours up the coast from Los Angeles in the Santa Ynez Valley, the heart of Santa Barbara County's wine country. Make plans to visit the Santa Ynez Valley communities of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang now - when winter daytime highs are in the 60s and 70s and plenty of sunshine beckons you outdoors to go golfing, hiking and cycling. Amid thousands of twinkling lights and holiday trees, during the month of December experience Solvang's Julefest (winter festival)
September 8, 2012 |
2010 Stephan Vineyards "Stephan Ridge by L'Aventure" The Stephan in the name of this Paso Robles blend is none other than Stephan Asseo of the cult estate "L'Aventure. " This beauteous blend of Syrah with 20% Cabernet and 10% Petit Verdot, however, is not in the same elevated price range as L'Aventure bottlings. Made from wines Asseo opted not to use in his estate blend, at $25, the Stephan Ridge is quite the bargain. It's got a beautiful nose of black cherries and red plums, a smooth velvety texture, firm tannins and sweet sweet fruit, making it just the wine for barbecue.
August 18, 2012 |
2011 Ameztoi Rosé Getariako Txakolina "Rubentis" This rosé from the Spanish Basque country is something different. Grown on the hillside vineyards above the small fishing town of Getaria, the Ameztoi "Rubentis" is essentially a pink Txakolina made with a blend of white and red grapes. Ever so slightly pétillant , it has the minerality and a bright citrusy quality that makes it ideal with spicy foods. Open a bottle with fiery Thai or Indian dishes. I love it with ceviche, anything with anchovies or sardines.
August 11, 2012
So now that he's gotten used to drinking down, what is Kyle Meyer drinking at home? Spanish wines. The best values, he says, are in smaller, less-known regions - Jumilla and Campo de Borja, Calatayud or Montsant. "You dig out these little satellite areas to find a progressive guy who maybe didn't put it in too much new wood, so you get this pure expression of the grape. " One example is the 2010 Bodegas Borsao red from Campo di Borja region in Spain, which sells for about $8 to $10 (widely available)
August 10, 2012 |
Itching to escape the heat and head north to wine country? On Saturday afternoon Monterey Wine Country celebrates the festival's 20th anniversary in Carmel. Tickets are $35 in advance, $45 at the door on the day of the event. And get this, designated drivers pay just $15, presumably because they will not be imbibing - or at least as much What's happening? Tastings of Monterey wines, food from local restaurants, music from the Red Beans & Rice jazz band - and of course, an auction.