Deep in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley is the delightful city of Solvang, California. Solvang is located 30 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean and temperatures can average 20 degrees higher in the summer than surrounding Central Coast cities. When visiting you simply must dress in layers. I used to live in Solvang and temperatures can drop or rise 15-20 degrees in a matter of hours. Most who have visited or live in this picturesque Danish village would agree there are fun and exciting things happening every day. Solvang has fantastic hotels, restaurants, places to go wine and beer tasting as well as a host of unusual things to do like galloping through town in a horse-drawn trolley, braving a glider ride over spectacular vineyards or participating in a challenging escape room.
Recently, one of the many fine tasting rooms impressed us while exploring places for Keys 2 the Coast to brag about. Sanger Family of Wines , owned by Bill and Jan Sanger and partner Brett Escalera, is worth visiting for a tasting you won’t want to miss. Their portfolio consists of three fantastic wines known as Consilience, Marianello, and last, but certainly not lease, Tre Anelli. They will all delight the most discriminating taster.
Mediterranean Inspired Wines
Since 1999, which was the year of Consilience’s release, their fine wines have been inspired by the Mediterranean approach to food and life. In order to share the bounty and pleasure of the Central Coast’s wine tradition, Bill and Jan Sanger brought these wineries together and all three evoke an Old-World wine experience.
The Sanger Family of Wines produce wine from twenty, locally grown, grape varieties. They make an Albarino, which is a medium-bodied grape that pairs well with seafood and poultry. Their Barbera is known for its smoothness, enabling it to stand-up well to grilled food or pasta with red sauce. For the ultimate spicy food or steak wine, they have a Cabernet Sauvignon, which is probably the best recognized grape variety in the United States.
Other varietals include a Dolcetto, which goes well with pizza or pasta dishes. Nebbiolo always pairs perfectly with mushrooms and other savory and hearty dishes. Sanger Family of Wines makes an excellent Petite Sirah, perhaps one of my personal favorites. It is scrumptious with lamb, ribs or steak, right off the BBQ. While there is no shortage of great wines on the California’s Central Coast, this family owned winery sets itself apart as a quintessential, American small business. From quality control to customer service, Sanger Family of Wines takes great pride in every aspect of their industrious enterprise. Their charming and modern tasting room in Solvang, is one of the newest in town, but it’s also one of those most attractive. Spacious, clean, well-lit with tastefully punctuated, comfortable furniture, make this room a must visit if you’re going to spend a day wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley.
The Perfect Pairing
To add to this already high-value experience, thanks to their 11-acre olive grove, visitors to the Solvang tasting room can also enjoy a quality olive oil tasting. I’ve taken advantage of this opportunity more than a few times and can confidently say it is some of the best tasting olive oil I’ve ever had. When you dip a piece of freshly baked bread in a dish of their exquisite Marianella Lucca olive oil, your taste buds will be singing. It is also excellent drizzled over grilled chicken and beef. Their delightful staff is happy to suggest their favorites to try before you buy.
Olive Oil Tasting at Sanger Family Wines
Brett Escalera, who is also Sanger’s wine maker, is a friendly host and great conversationalist. He is a consummate professional in his own right. Having grown up on the Central Coast, he graduated from Carpinteria High School and began making wine in 1985, which led to the creation of Consilience and Tre Anelli Wines. Since then, Brett has expanded his wine making portfolio to include an impressive array of locally grown wines from Rhone, Burgundian, Italian and Spanish varieties, all of which are labels under the Sanger Family of Wines.
So, be sure to put them on your list of must-visit tasting rooms. Sanger Family Wines is easy to find at 1584 Mission Drive. The setting is delightful, the staff is awesome, the wines are superb, and you will definitely want to come back.
My guess is that you will head home from Solvang with a few extra bottles of wine and a bag full of delicious pastries or Solvang’s world famous bucket of butter cookies.