A cool Spring morning in Santa Barbara encouraged us to go exploring and try a new-to-us winery in nearby Solvang where the temperature was a warm 90 degrees. We had long heard of Shoestring Winery and discovered that if you are a red wine lover, this family-owned boutique winery definitely deserves your attention. The Craigs own 60 acres, planted their first vines in 1999 and sold their first wine, a 2002 Sangiovese in 2004. Their reds are aged a minimum of 20 months in oak and they've been medalling in various competitions for years now. We tasted their new releases; the 2010 Pinot Grigio, their only white, crisp and thoroughly chilled, will be a lovely summer wine, and the 2007 Sangiovese, aged in oak for 28 months. We bought a bottle of that; very complex and smooth, we preferred it to the 2007 Merlot which was great in its own right (gold medal winner in San Diego 2011).
The winery is on Highway 246, down a little driveway and physically located in a big, well chilled, insulated barn. As you taste, you're looking at the barrels that will be wonderful wine next year and years to come. Thumbs up!
Deborah Gentry, Innkeeper Bath Street Inn