Santa Ynez Valley News


The finest food and wine pairing opportunities in Santa Ynez

30 Apr 2014 5:00 PM
Santa Ynez residents prepare for 22nd annual Taste of Solvang

California has traditionally been known for the high quality wines produced by vineyards throughout the state, thanks to the diverse topography, optimal weather patterns and comfortable temperatures that provide favorable conditions for grape cultivation and fermentation. Accordingly, the Golden State is home to a considerable community of oenophiles, who enjoy experiencing the finer things in life.

Increasingly, areas across the state that are known for wine production - such as Santa Ynez - have been receiving attention from these individuals, as many of the most upscale establishments offer expertly curated pairing menus, which serve to highlight both exquisite varietals and gourmet culinary creations.

If you're interested in tasting exclusive wines and gastronomic delicacies within luxurious settings throughout the Santa Ynez Valley, you can benefit from making a reservation at any of the following local institutions, as they are among the best in the region. 

Roblar Winery and Vineyards
Located in a bucolic portion of Santa Barbara County, this 40-acre vineyard is peppered with historic oak trees and anchored by a grand-lodge style estate designed by renowned architect Bob Easton. Aside from the high-end wines crafted here, visitors can enjoy sampling epicurean dishes in the breathtaking tasting room, stunning patio or sophisticated potting shed and barrel room. 

Those seeking the vineyard's finest pairings can enjoy tasting a delicious peach and pistachio salad with a vanilla bean vinaigrette combined with Roblar's 2011 meule rouge, as well as grilled lamb with a basil mint pesto and arugula salad served with the winery's 2010 Block One Reserve sauvignon blanc. Equally as popular is the maple sage pork sausage with port wine caramelized shallots and apples that is paired with the vineyard's 2010 Estate Merlot, in addition to the savory spiced pumpkin cake with a maple buttercream frosting that is presented alongside the unique Roblar 2010 syrah. 

Wine Cask Restaurant
Owned and operated by Doug Margerum and Mitchell Sjerven, this stylish eatery has grown into a regional landmark over the years for its dedication to fine wines and intricate dishes. Offering myriad dining and tasting rooms, patrons can choose the environment in which they wish to dine, and the expert staff on hand are well versed in the restaurants different menus. If they so desire, private dining options are also available, allowing for a more intimate, exclusive experience. 

Largely, the dishes that are most commonly ordered include the lobster and leek terrine with a saffron geleé, watercress and chive emulsion, as well as the buffalo tartare with root vegetables, mizuna greens, olive oil croutons, goat cheese and a smoked tomato vinaigrette. Often, these meals are paired with local selections from the establishment's extensive wine list, such as the 2013 Storm sauvignon blanc, 2012 Curran rosé of grenache and the 2012 Margerum M5 rhone blend.

?Although its moniker may not draw a lot of attention, the gourmet dishes and rare wines served at this restaurant sure do. While it is located in the nearby city of Santa Barbara, the eatery has long been a favorite haunt of Santa Ynez oenophiles. The kitchen, helmed by chef Greg Murphy, consistently combines unique ingredients to produce complex flavor profiles and visually pleasing dishes. 

The menu changes along with the season, but some of the most beloved meals at bouchon include confit of pork belly that is served with smokey Christmas lima beans, braised collard greens and a sherry maple glaze, and paired with a Palmina barbera, as well as fennel-braised pork shank with potato rösti, braised red cabbage and pan jus that is presented with Costa de Oro chardonnay. This eclectic restaurant has a reputation for attention to detail, which is evident in every offering.