Following a morning of split pea soup, Danish pancakes, and famished ostriches, The Astronomer and I made one final stop at Saarloos & Sonsbefore departing home. While I love wine tasting, my tolerance is low for vineyards with snooty and intimidating atmospheres. I knew that Saarloos & Sons wouldn’t give me any trouble on that front because they’re well known for their hospitality and warmth, along with their exceptional wines. Plus, I’d heard that cupcake pairings were available with every wine flight. Clearly, this was my kind of tasting room.
Saarloos & Sons is a family-run winery four generations in the making. The tasting room, which is located in a beautifully refurbished home in downtown Los Olivos, had a relaxed and airy feel to it. The lineup for the day included five different pours:
- Mother - Grenache Blanc
- Father - 100% Estate 2008 Syrah
- 194VII - 100% Estate Cab/Syrah
- Family - 2007 Bordeaux Style
- Extended Family – Pinot, Santa Maria Valley
All of Saarloos & Sons’ wines are produced in small batches, with usually less than 400 cases of each. Every wine is given a name befitting its character and reflective of Saarloos family history. Much to our disappointment, the tasting did not include “In-Law” (Whole Cluster Pinot).
Truth be told, I was a teensy bit more excited about the cupcake lineup byEnjoy Cupcakes. Baker and owner Amber Joy Vander Vliet changes the flight every week depending on the wines on offer. This afternoon’s selection included:
- Chocolate Blackberry Syrah (Signature Treat) – Chocolate syrah cake, filled with dark chocolate fudge, topped with blackberry frosting and a syrah soaked blackberry that’s rolled in sugar
- Meyer Lemon Chardonnay – Chardonnay cake, filled with meyer lemon curd, topped with lemon frosting and sugared lemon zest
- Banana Churro – Vanilla cake, with a fried banana filling, topped with cinnamon frosting & homemade churro chip
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Honey – Chocolate cake, filled with honey mousse, topped with peanut butter frosting & creamed honey
- Mud Pie – A buttery chocolate cookie crust under a chocolate cake, filled with whipped chocolate mousse, topped with vanilla Kahlua frosting & chocolate sauce
- White Chocolate Macadamia Nut – Vanilla cake, filled with white chocolate mousse, topped with vanilla frosting, white chocolate & chopped macadamia nuts
Each cupcake was meant to be eaten before sipping a specific wine. After making sure that the wine and cupcake pairings matched up perfectly, I took a bite of cupcake…
…followed by a hearty swig of wine. Then, I savored, smiled, and repeated several more times.
With dainty little cupcakes in the mix, this was definitely one of the more memorable wine tastings I’ve experienced. Thanks for keeping it fun, Saarloos & Sons.