Lucas and Lewellen: 40th Birthday Road Trip

Lucas and Lewellen Vineyards
1645 Copenhagen Drive, Solvang, California 93463 (map)

From Mandolina, we walked straight down the block to Lucas and Lewellen. The tasting room is beautiful and elegant, with an extremely long bar that can handle many people.

Tommy and Judy, the friendly, lively tasting staffers, are more than up to the task. They kept the conversation going and gently joked with everyone in the tasting room, creating a very enjoyable atmosphere. It was like being at your friendly, charming friends’ home, if your friend had a 30-foot dark wood tasting bar and an endless supply of amazing wine.

2011-02-21 17.09.24

2006 Sparkling Wine: I’m not normally a huge fan of sparkling wines, but this is one I would be glad to give a good home to. In my belly! The smell had notes of toffee and caramel and the taste was warm, a little tangy, with a hint of savory caramel at the end.

2008 Rosé of Pinot Noir: This smelled more like a white than a red, with a hint of honeyed tangerines. It tasted of lemons, underlined with caramel and blackberries.

2009 Riesling: Mmmmm. This smelled like strawberries and perfume. It tasted like strawberries and cream with a hint of cucumber on the finish.

2009 Viognier: This was surprisingly syrupy, with flavors of peaches and pears.

2005 Sommeil en Barrique: This Sauvignon Blanc smelled tart, but there was no tartness in the flavor; it tasted of caramel and pears.

Silver King port: They served this port in a dark chocolate tumbler, just a little smaller than a shot glass. It smelled yummy, savory and deep, like a really great flan. It tasted sweet and savory at the same time, and had notes of tobacco as well.

2011-02-21 17.23.32

Me, tasting room staffers Tommy and Judy and Mike, whose halo is showing.

Mandolina: 40th Birthday Road Trip

We told the folks at Presidio that we especially like trying wines from wineries that are offering wine in non-French styles. The folks at Presidio immediately told us to head down to Mandolina for our next tasting.

2011-02-21 16.03.31

While the interior decorating style of Mandolina may lean toward country French, the wines themselves are Italian through and through. The tasting room staff is friendly but not overbearing. They’re also very helpful; they recommended that we visit their sister winery Lucas and Lewellen and told us that if we dropped the Mandolina name, we’d get half-off our tasting. Awesome!

2008 Pinot Grigio: Surprisingly, this smelled like jasmine and tea. On the palate it was very well-balanced, with hints of citrus and a slight acid bite that was never overwhelming.

2009 Malvasia Bianca: I tasted melon, honey and sweet overripe kiwi.

2009 Moscato: The smell of this reminded me of soda pop. It tasted like pears and nectarines.

2009 Muscat Canelli: As I smelled this, I detected hints of cola, pear and lychee. It had a thick, almost oily mouth feel, with a bright pear taste at the finish.

2005 Bianco di Bianco: When I smelled this, I was immediately reminded of one of my favorite dishes back when I wasn’t a vegetarian — chicken picatta. The scent reminded me of the best possible rendition of picatta sauce. This wine was very dry, but had a savory note on the finish.

2011-02-21 16.17.56

Mandolina’s tasting room staffer was so warm, friendly and helpful…and I never took down her name! If you’re reading this, please let me know so I can remedy my error!