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HEY LOOK WE DID SOMETHING WE WANT YOU TO SEE : The Road To What Matters - Featuring Los Olivos on Day 2 by Keith Saarloos

So Much Flannel.

So Much Flannel.

My son loves to show me what he made at school... Our blog is the Digital Version of That. 

At the breathtaking Saarloos & Sons Vineyards, Chef Jessica Roy has an unforgettable wine tasting session with owner Keith Saarloos. Next, she visits Mattei's Tavern to experience Chef Robbie Wilson's culinary creations. Follow Jessica's journey at

Chef Jessica Roy leaves the coast behind for a breathtaking cruise through the golden Santa Ynez Valley in her V60 Cross Country. Her first stop is Saarloos & Sons for an unforgettable wine tasting experience.The things that matter most to premier winemaker Keith Saarloos are family and five-star wine making. The next stop is an historic landmark, Mattei’s Tavern, where Chef Robbie Wilson is on a neverending quest to find new flavors to satiate the discerning tastes of his guests. 

Saarlos & Sons Family Wine Company
Mattei’s Tavern, Santa Barbara Wine Country

This thing we did that was nice. by Keith Saarloos


The Garagiste Festival (Santa Ynez Southern Exposure)continues to shed light on smaller production winemakers. Many of these wine producers cannot be found on a wine map. In some cases, the wines poured cannot even be found in any bar, restaurant, or wine shop. The discoveries can be fun, interesting, and even stellar. 

Preceeding the grand tasting, a panel of winemakers met to discuss the Great Alcohol Debate, The Elephant In The Bottle. This just might be a more inside or industry debate, but it can be a very hot topic in some circles. 

Neither the topic discussed, nor the wines, showed heat. However, the dialog was very entertaining. Attendees had the opportunity to taste through the wines from the panel, while attempting to guess the alcohol content.

The wines poured included: (My alcohol guess is in ()

  • 2013 Zeppelin Winery Pinot Noir (SLO County)15.4% (14.7)
  • 2010 Flying Goat Pinot Noir, Salisbury Vineyard 14.7% (15.2)
  • 2011 Flying Goat Pinot Noir, Dierberg Vineyard 13.9% (13.9)
  • 2013 Cuilleron Syrah, Rhone Valley, France 13.2% (14.5)
  • 2012 Saarloos & Sons "Family Tree" GSM 14.5% (15.0)
  • 2011 Michael Gill Cellars Tuxedo Syrah, Paso Robles 16.5% (13.8) No salt or lime required, it was delicious.  

Moderator Stewart McLennan opened up and addressed the crowd:


"Salesmen that are biased say they don't want something over a certain amount of alcohol. I personally feel that is completely ridiculous. Who is driving it? I don't know. Is it France?" 

"Because they can't get their grapes ripe, and they can only make 13% alcohol wines?"

"Is it because the tax on a wine below 14% is less than it is above 14%? Is because you want to make a wine called skinny girl?" 



Write h hoto above - Right, Keith Saarloos. Left, Stillman Brown's palate. - 

Write hhoto above - Right, Keith Saarloos. Left, Stillman Brown's palate. - 

Keith Saarloos Saarloos & Sons (Los Olivos):  


"A farmer is pregnant every single year."


"That pregnancy of bringing a vine from bud to fruit set, all the way to dehydration, to the day we are actually going to pick this thing." 


"Our job in the winery now is not to screw up in one day what it took the 364 days of work in the vineyard."


"Getting just to that right point, where you can sit it (grape) in your mouth, and you are sitting across the picking bin from your dad or cousin, and you are like: 'This is it, this is going to be amazing!' We've never had to water back. Why would we work so hard in the vineyard?" 


"So when we come to this low alcohol thing...this dogmatic decision about what we should be doing previous to harvest...coming up with this alcohol question before harvest is like telling my wife what day she is going to give birth to my child."


"It's like, good luck. Who is really calling for these low alcohol wines? It's sommeliers, it's people who are inserting an importance. All of the sudden it's like I want ,to tell you how loud you should play your music."


"That's kind of like what we are doing with this low alcohol non-sense."


"The people who are telling you to have low alcohol wines always seem to be people who wish a customer would buy two bottles of wine, rather than one." 


"I can understand why it's important to them, but I can also understand - 'Who gives a $h!%?'."


"There is a certain sadness I have for someone who buys wines based on scores. They never will know what they really like. If you think of wine as a beverage, you are missing out." 


"Having the conversation about old world/new world, I think one of the most exciting things we have going for us now, like let's say you go to Texas or you go to Chicago, there is regionally specific cuisine. You go there, you get it, and you are really excited to get Creole, or Omaha steaks or whatever, but you are going there and you are excited about it. I find it interesting that the opposite is happening in wine now. We are trying to homogenize down to you need to do this and fit within this box, rather than lets celebrate these different regions."


"Let's see what is different here. Once you find a region you like, then you can find wines you like, and really dig down. That is what appreciation is. That should be our goal, to celebrate these differences, not homogenize and make a pulp orange juice or non pulp orange juice and who cares where you order it from."


Tags : Flying Goat Garagiste Red Zepplin Saarloos and Sons Santa Barbara County Santa Ynez

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WRITE DRUNK, Edit Sober .... If you think Saarloos & sons is about wine... you couldn't be more wrong..... This is what we are about. by Keith Saarloos

Firstly, I want to let you know yet again what a blessing your wines have continued to be around our family dinner table over the last few months. Y’all have been part of some very special occasions with us, so bear with me while I catch you up. 

… For Thanksgiving, Don purchased a couple of those magnums you had on special and they were gone before we even got through the meal! You definitely enhanced the amount of giggles and inappropriate conversation shared over dinner.

… For Christmas, my dad (Smith Tonahill) had purchased several bottles of the special release you did for club members and we introduced Saarloos to our extended family at dinner. They were blown away! Even the non-wine drinkers couldn’t get enough. Even more so when we told them the stories of the wines, with Don, my father, my mother and I all fighting over who got to tell their favorite bottle’s story first! (Mine is always Grey David & Lane Linda. Makes me cry every time!)

… Finally, going a few months back, it was while sharing a bottle of Saarloos one late night that Don and I decided we finally wanted to get married. And make it a surprise for everyone :) Which is exactly what we did! Everyone thought they were coming to our holiday party and we got married under the Texas stars in our backyard with only 25 of our closest friends and family present. We’re saving a bottle of wife, husband and anniversary to celebrate our own. And we have a bottle of Father and Motherhood stored away for when we get to celebrate having our own little wine lover. 

I find myself in tears every time I send you a message because over the last couple of years, your wines have become inextricably linked to some of my most treasured family moments. Thank you.

I told my dad that my bucket list for 2015 includes Don and me making a trip to Saarloos with my parents. Sooooooo, a very long story later, I wanted to ask for your input on the best times of year to visit y’all so that I can start coordinating our calendars and get this settled. I can’t wait to get them out there.

Wishing you and the entire Saarloos family a very happy new year.

With love,
Jess (Tonahill) Hawkins

Pop is WORLD FAMOUS. A little blurry, but still... by Keith Saarloos

a bit ago, North Face, contacted us about being in a commercial. When they told me what they were looking for, I sent them a photo of my dad. Their response was, HE IS PERFECT! 
They wanted to pay him, but Pop just wanted some gear. 
He hasn't let it all go to his head. 
Same Number, Same Hood, All Good. 

He is the shadowy figure at the 1 min mark. 
Oh if you were wondering who beat the shit out of that No Trespassing Sign. 
Yea it was me. ( I HAVE let that go to my head however)

Every now and then. Someone says something Nice about us. by Keith Saarloos

I asked if we could share his email: 

Please do. I'm glad you guys got my message.  I never review anything because it's rare that a product or service exceeds expectation. But, you guys have just been so consistently impressive, that I felt I needed to say something and just hoped someone would read it.


This deal is awesome. You guys rock. Literally everything you send me is delicious.  I have stopped buying other red wine because everything else I end up drinking, regardless of price point, pales in comparison to your juice.  Also, I need to conserve space for my quarterly allotments because my fiance has threatened to kick my ass as I fill our 1 BR in NYC with your wines.  My only hope is that one day I have a cellar where I can store as much S&S as possible.

BTW, I was in Austin a couple of months ago for a fantasy football draft and I was rocking my S&S fitted that I picked up from the tasting room.  A stranger in a bar came up to me and was like "where did you get that hat?" I assumed he was just interested in getting one for himself, but it turns out that he was one of Keith's buddies from minor league ball.  I can't recall his name, but he was amped to see the S&S name getting out there.  Plus, he summed up S&S perfectly: "They're really passionate about that wine."  I'll say....

I visited central CA in July with my fiance and future brother and sister-in-law and your tasting room was the only spot I demanded that we visit (I had bought Son from klwines).  I promptly signed up to be part of the family and bought the aforementioned hat.  Needless to say, you made me look brilliant because everyone in my party unanimously agreed that your wines and the experience at the house were unmatched by the other wineries/rooms we visited.

Your story, family approach and passion for your craft are both moving and refreshing in an industry that is drowning in overpriced fruit punch driven by balance sheets. Keep doing you (and please keep the wine coming).



Steve Balcof