On January 18th, we attended the STARS of Santa Barbara Wine tasting event at the Leica Flagship Store & Gallery in Beverly Hills, hosted by Ian Blackburn’s wineLA organization. The weather outside was wet that evening, but the wines were dry and the setting was picture perfect.
We were able to browse around the Leica store on the first floor before climbing the illuminated stairway to the wine tasting in the gallery on the second floor. It was interesting to see the newer and vintage Leica cameras as our youngest son is a serious photographer and Leica is an iconic brand for serious camera collectors like him.
There were a number of great Santa Barbara County wine producers on hand for the tasting—too many to list here, so we’ll just name a few. The best thing about the “STARS” wine tasting series hosted by wineLA is that it brings you face–to–face with some of the greatest and most notable winemakers of our time and gives you the opportunity to ask whatever questions are on your mind. You get to meet pioneers like Bob Lindquist of Qupe Cellars. Bob is a Rhone Rangers Lifetime Achievement Award winner and a genuine Los Angeles Dodgers’ fan (Bob somehow got someone at MLB to go to bat for him and got permission to place a Dodgers logo wine label on some of his amazing red wines). Bob poured us his acclaimed 2011 Bien Nacido Hillside Estate Syrah (Santa Maria Valley)—a real home run. We also got to chat with Brian Loring of Loring Wine Company. Brian is famous for his award winning and diverse lineup of Pinot Noir. We’ve enjoyed Loring Pinot Noir over the years and, many years ago, Brian was noted for producing some “over the top, blow you away” Pinot Noir, at a time when that was a prized talent. Today, his Pinot Noirs, by comparison, are more elegant and nicely balanced, a more mature style enjoyed by today’s wine consumer. We recounted some of his older wines and Brian explained that his vines at that time were younger; now, the same vines are more mature, enabling him to strike just the right fruit flavor profile that he was seeking. That was evident in his 2015 Gary’s Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands).
Food and goodies for the tasting event were provided by a combination of Petrossian Paris of West Hollywood and Chef Robin Goldstein‘s A Taste of Ojai. We particularly enjoyed the Petrossian Paris chocolates and Robin’s delicious variety of dips, salts and spices.
As an homage to our host and hostess and the Leica event setting they so wisely chose, we compiled the photo collage above.
Disclosure: We were granted complimentary media credentials for this event.