Waiting for Wine

Rideau Winery Tasting Room, Solvang. April 2013

We bought a Groupon for this winery that included a special tour, tasting and a bottle of wine to take home. Solvang is a little “Danish” hamlet north and inland of Santa Barbara in the Santa Ynez Valley – the region made famous by the movie “Sideways”. The exit off the highway, US 101, is Buellton, home of Pea Soup Anderson’s, a requisite stop for travelers from LA to San Francisco. It is a nice day trip from LA, and we had taken Jake there on a few occasions, notably to check out the Solvang bakeries (they have great Danish there) and to eat at the Hitchin’ Post restaurant, featured in the movie. This time, it was just T and I making the journey.  To spend the time before our afternoon appointment we visited a new distillery, checked out another winery, and sampled some of the noteworthy baked goods in town.

Once at the winery, we sat in this room with other wine aficionados awaiting our tour time, the last of the day. Our guide led us through the pressing and aging room, filled with oak barrels, and finally into the tasting room. He was very funny, sharing bits of wine lore, anecdotes about the winery, and the do’s and don’t’s of tasting. Do hold the glass by the stem, never by the bowl, and serve it at the proper temperature to name two. The wine was passable, the company was lively, and the afternoon mostly enjoyable.

We dined at the Hitchin’ Post which, due to its massive popularity fueled by exposure in Sideways, had lost much of the original intimate feel. It seemed more touristy, less local and the food just wasn’t quite as good as I remembered it. Still, all in all, it was a pretty good steak and a very pleasant day.