SIPPING SATISFACTION IN OJAI
Richard and I had been visiting Ojai for years (and I'd been writing about this magical valley for those same years) when we finally bit the bullet, sold our house in L.A., and moved here permanently. From a sprawling city of 11 million to a charming town of 8 thousand. From driving bumper-to-bumper on freeways to driving alone on country roads through orange groves. From the multi-plex to the local bijou. It took us less than a minute to adjust.
There are music festivals, lavender festivals and movie festivals... There's fine dining and good burgers... tennis tournaments and artist studio tours.... and there's wine tasting. Right in town! And y'all know how I love sipping various wines and telling you about them.
My latest find... and I do mean 'find'... is The Ojai Vineyard tasting room nestle right next door to our lovely art center on So. Montgomery.
The room is small and bright, with bottles on display...
... framed award certificates and photos of the winery hanging on the walls...
...but the winery is in the process of expanding this tasting room into an even lovelier space next door.
It was time to taste winemaker Adam Tomach's creations.
The flight price is $15, though you get one free tasting if you buy two bottles of wine. Jon Long was our barista (Richard was, of course, w/ me).
Jon started us off with the 2012 chardonnay ($28). Aged for ten months in neutral French oak, the wine mellowed to give all the fruit and butter notes one expects from a fine chardonnay.
Next up was the 2011 sauvignon blanc ($26). The juice was fermented for seven months in older French oak barrels, giving this wine more depth of flavor than I usually find in sauvignon blancs.
The 2012 reisling was a surprise ($26). A dry, light wine, this would make a perfect pairing with Thai food (I know, it's of German 'heritage') or sitting out in the backyard w/ some cheese and crackers on one of Ojai's blazing hot days.
The last of the whites was the 2012 viognier ($26). After chardonnay, I'm partial to viognier, as the flavor is more dense with more fruit and candy tastes with each sip. And this wine was no exception.
The first red was a 2012 pinot noir ($45). A cheeky wine, bright red in color, with hints of cherries and plums, cola and even black tea.
Two syrahs followed... the first was the 2012 syrah made from grapes from three vineyards in Santa Barbara county ($30). Aged 26 months partly in new oak and partly in old oak, this was my favorite wine in the flight. It had depth and balance w/ wonderful tastes of berries and spice.
Last, but not least was the 2010 syrah ($41). For me, this wine was less complex, but still had lovely hints of berries and spice.
Sniffing and sipping done, we were happily satisfied and sated. We'll be back as soon as the expanded tasting room is open!!!
(All wines are available for purchase at a discount through the wine club on The Ojai Vineyard website)
THE OJAI VINEYARD
109 S. Montgomery St.
Ojai, CA 93023
Tasting Room: 805-798-3947