Ah, Los Olivos, the epicenter of wine tasting in Santa Barbara County. A place where more tasting rooms are opening up all the time. Some businesses have even opted to open satellite tasting rooms here because they recognize the appeal and charm of a destination lifestyle. One of these tasting rooms is Malibu Family Wines.
Malibu Family Wines (labels Semler, Saddlerock) has been a well established day escape for many Angelinos, since the late 90’s. Set on the seaside vine studded hills of Malibu, overlooking the Pacific, with a glass of wine in hand customers are often enamored with the ‘lifestyle’ wine creates. The instant immersion of a slow-paced country-like setting, with views, relaxation, and happiness. What better way to unwind right? Malibu Family Wines extended the same experience when opening up their second location last year in Los Olivos. This time, the Angelinos have to take a further drive and plan for more than a day to visit this alternative option, but why not? Club Members enjoy the benefits of tasting at a second location, which opens the doors to all the other neighboring Santa Barbara County Wines. I finally meandered in and gave their Los Olivos tasting room a peek and met with Dinelle Schultze the tasting room manager. She guided me through some of the current offerings.
Dinelle is a fantastic host. She is originally from the area (Lompoc) and has a fair amount of wine knowledge having worked previously for Flying Goat Cellars before getting hired with MFW. She will guide you through your tasting seamlessly. She is the face of the place going out of her way to make sure your tasting experience is tailored to you. She gives you that feeling of importance. You know, the warm fuzzy one? We all want that right?
Winemaker is Kevin Law - he also has his own brand Luminescence. And now about the wines. They were lovely. And diverse. Diversity is what California is known for. What wine is known for. Here is what I tried and recommend:
Saddlerock, NV Brut - Pinot/Chard, $37
Light, green tea, lemon zest, easy, clean and fresh. This one was hard to pitch.
Saddlerock, NV Sparkling Rose - Pinot/Chard, $40
Oh gosh, more yummy bubbles, (admission, I am a sucker), clean with nice minerality and light strawberry/cherry tones
Semler, 2010 Merlot, $34
On the nose this wine is like opening a jar of plum-raspberry preserves, and in the mouth much more dark fruit interlaced with a clove finish. Very zinfandel-esque.
Saddlerock, 2012 Orange Muscat, $29
Full of aromatics from orange blossoms to apricots but very light on the palate with almost no residual sugar, makes this a very nice afternoon sipper.
The Los Olivos tasting room is open daily from 11am to 5pm. Tastings are $15 for non-members and waived with a wine purchase. I recommend this spot for groups, sparkling lovers, and merlot fans.