Is anyone else feeling like 2016 flew by faster than ever? It’s really hard to believe we’re just days away from ringing in a new year! While 2016 definitely came with some challenges, one of the best things about having a blog is being able to look back on all the great experiences I’ve been fortunate to have. From honeymoon adventures in Belize to staycationing in Santa Barbara and amazing wine and food experiences, here are some of my favorite blog moments of 2016 in no particular order.
Indian Springs Resort and Spa may be one of the oldest continuously operating resorts in California, but don’t expect it to feel old and dingy. The Bohemian resort, located on the main drag near downtown Calistoga, is charming and casual with a retro vibe. Although I had passed by Indian Springs on numerous occasions over the years, I was excited to experience the resort firsthand during my last trip to Calistoga. It was just as relaxing as I expected!
Last month, my friend and I took an impromptu trip up to Napa Valley for a couple of days of exploring to kickstart the holiday season. Although we spent a little time in Sonoma, the majority of our trip was in the Calistoga area of Napa Valley. Brand new to Calistoga is Davis Estates, a beautiful winery on the Silverado Trail just a few minutes from downtown. Since Davis Estates has only been open for a couple of months, we couldn’t wait to check it out!
Not many people realize that Alsace is one of the few wine regions in the world devoted to mostly white wine. In fact, about 90% of production is dedicated to whites! From Riesling to Pinot Gris, Muscat to Pinot Blanc, those Alsace winemakers know a thing or two about white wine. One of the most well known wines coming out of Alsace is Gewurztraminer, an aromatic white wine known for its fruity, floral and spicy notes. The name may be hard to pronounce, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting to know Gewurztraminer from Alsace!
It’s no lie that Santa Barbara County–specifically the Sta. Rita Hills–is making a name for itself when it comes to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. I may be biased, but I think some of the best Burgundian varietals out of California are coming from the Sta. Rita Hills. It’s been fun to watch this region blossom in recent years, but I can only imagine what it must be like for those who have been in the business for 20+ years. No doubt a lot has changed! One of those wineries established back in the ’90s is Melville Winery, a beautiful winery and vineyard located between the towns of Buellton and Lompoc.
Who doesn’t enjoy a good game night with friends? My friends and I have been known to have some seriously fun game nights. There’s usually wine involved, but we’ve never actually played a game centered around wine. That’s why when I heard about the new wine game Bottle Bracket, my interest was piqued. Especially when I learned that it’s a game/wine club hybrid!
As mentioned in my last post, Paso Robles is a legit wine region with a whopping 614,000 acres of land within the Paso Robles AVA. With over 200 wineries, of course the obvious thing to do in Paso is wine taste. But, a visit here wouldn’t be complete without spending time in the actual town of Paso Robles. It may be quaint, but Paso has a plethora of locally owned shops and farm-to-table restaurants worth checking out. So get ready to pack the bags, because I’m sharing my top picks for where to eat, shop & stay in my Paso Robles Travel Guide for Food & Wine Lovers!
The market of $20 and under wine is a bit saturated these days… just walk into any supermarket and it’s easy to see why. At this price point, there’s a whole bunch of less-than-stellar stuff out there from producers emphasizing quantity over quality. Yes, there are good deals out there, but it can be a bit daunting to find the good stuff. That’s why it’s nice to discover producers like Cameron Hughes Wines. Cameron Hughes produces a wide variety of quality, approachable wines at everyday drinking prices. A $19 blend made with Napa Valley fruit? Yes, you read that right!
Of all the wine regions I’ve visited, I have to say that Paso Robles is one of the most relaxed and most welcoming. The town, with its historic downtown square surrounded by shops and farm-to-table restaurants, is laid back and utterly charming. Yet despite its small town vibe, Paso is a burgeoning wine destination. With over 32,000 acres of grapes and 200+ tasting rooms, there’s no shortage of places to visit. So, to help with your next trip, I’ve put together my Ultimate Guide to Paso Robles Wineries!
As evident from a recent trip up the coast, Paso’s wine scene is booming. Sure, there are plenty of wineries, but Paso Robles has become a bonafide wine destination partly due to the growing number of places to stay in the area. Let’s face it, wine tasting and driving don’t mix. One of my favorite places to stay in Paso is the quaint Hotel Cheval, located just a half block off Paso’s historic town square.