Los Olivos, Ca
Back when we first got into wine tasting, some of our Santa Barbara wine adventures would bring us to the small and quaint town of Los Olivos, California. A town that has a Mayberry feel to it, small shops, a couple restaurants and at the time, only about eight tasting rooms on the Los Olivos Promenade. Wineries such as Longoria, Daniel Gehrs,Los Olivos Tasting Room, Kahn, Arthur Earl, and Andrew Murray became some of our favorites to visit.
Over the years, we’ve discovered that local wineries started making the Los Olivos Promenade their home and now there are currently around 30 tasting rooms in this tiny town…all within walking distance from one another! Along with some of the original rooms, we’ve really come enjoy the wines of the “newer” rooms as well, such as Alta Maria, Tensley, Consilience and Dragonette. And with a recent visit, we can now add Saarloos & Sons to our new faves list…super fun, hip and alive!
It all started when Keith Saarloos commented on one our photos we posted on Instagram. We had been driving on Ballard Canyon Road and snapped a picture of the gorgeous hillside vineyard in front of us. Well, come to find out, it was the vineyard of Saarloos & Sons with Keith’s house on top of the hill. We had seen Saarloos & Sons tasting room in downtown Los Olivos before, but had never went in. Now seemed to be the perfect time to see what they were all about.
Their tasting room is a nicely remodeled and well decorated small bungalow style house. The walk-up is very inviting and welcoming…adirondack chairs, a fire pit and bistro tables. You can tell by the decor (and on their website) that these guys are very creative and have an artistic edge. This place is just downright cool! Inside you’ll find a photo booth, chandeliers, lots of family photos on the walls and even a slideshow rolling on a TV displaying a colleague of even more family pics. When we walked in, we could feel the energy in the room. Everyone seemed to be really enjoying themselves. We always love it when we have the opportunity to enjoy our tasting outdoors too, especially when you’re in a place like Los Olivos. An added “sweet” bonus to tasting here is you can pair the wines with some mini cupcakes from Enjoy Cupcakes…tasty!
We met with Keith Saarloos and hit it off right away. Keith is a great guy, so passionate for what he does, seemed like someone that we’d be friends with, someone that would be a blast to have a dinner party with! Come to find out we have a lot in common, including that both of our children are the same ages, 5 and 8. They are a family-owned winery who grow, harvest and bottle the grapes from their vineyards. They are proud farmers. They have a very strong compassion for their family heritage and every bottle they produce honors someone in their family. You’ll notice that several bottles they produce boast a photograph on the label of a family member. Their bottle Couragehonors their great uncle John, who died in action in WWII. The powerful impact this has is shown by a framed letter displayed in the tasting room from the offices of President Franklin D. Roosevelt about John’s death. But it’s nice to know everyone who drinks Courage is having a celebratory sip in his honor.
We really enjoy their boutique style wines and one of our favorites was Father & Sons, a blend of Grenach, Syrah and Mourvedre. The story for this one is each grape representing each person. In this case, Keith’s Dad, Keith and his brother. It’s made from the El Camino Real Vineyard…the vineyard in the picture we had taken that made Keith comment to us on Instagram. Funny! Another favorite was 194IX, an estate blend of Cabernet & Syrah that resembled the flavors of great Cabs from the area…very nice!!!
Depending on the day of the week or what time of the year, any tasting room in Los Olivos can be very fun. But Saarloos & Sons has to be one of the most happening in town! After our visit, we realized that Saarloos & Sons has definitely brought a new element to wine tasting in Los Olivos. When planning your next trip to this area, we recommend stopping by Saarloos & Sons for some good wine, a good atmosphere and delicious cupcakes! We look forward to our next visit and hearing some more family stories!