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© Jen Murphy
Hippes use the back door at Foxen's new tasting room.
Last week I blogged about my best food finds in Santa Barbara. Here, my hit list from wine country:
*The uber-modern new Terravant Wine Co. in Buellton is shared by 30 local wineries. Its tapas and wine bar, Avant, overlooks the tanks and serves pizzas, duck confit-and-spinach salad and snacks like marcona almonds and albacore-and-artichoke bruschetta. A cuvinet dispenses wines from the more than 30 producers that use the facility for production. Don’t miss live music Friday nights.
*After barrel tasting at Terravant with Frank Ostini, we joined him for dinner at his restaurant The Hitching Post 2. The place still gets a ton of Sideways fans, but locals go Monday through Wednesday for killer burgers and Wednesdays for the smoked pulled BBQ pork sandwich (both served only at the Sidebar). Wine to try: The Hitching Post Highliner.
*Before exploring wine country we stocked up on snacks in Los Olivos at the Saturday farmers' market and picked up some beautiful olive oils at Global Gardens. The cute little shop, located at the end of town in a converted shed, sells extra-virgin first cold pressing olive oils as well as fruit-infused vinegars, spice blends and gorgeous tabletop pieces from around the world. Blair Fox Cellars, an ultra-boutique 500-case label, recently opened a tasting room next door.
*A long windy driveway leads up to dreamy Demetria Estate, where I fell in love with the Cuvée Papou while listening to live music on a terrace overlooking the vineyards. The winery recently started hosting movie nights in the vineyards.
*Foxen Vineyard’s new solar-powered winery and tasting room is Pinot heaven. We tasted the Julia’s Vineyard, Bien Nacido Vineyard-Block 8 and Sea Smoke bottlings.