The Amtrak is not so bad. Actually, it’s very nice except when it’s delayed, which is a matter for Part Three. At the time, however, I knew nothing about flooded tracks and two-hour delays; I only knew how nice it was to be riding a train up the coast as the rain fell around me.
My destination was Santa Barbara, where my former roommate (and current Princeton grad student) Alex would pick me up. That first day and evening, including a wonderful dinner at Bouchon, will be the subject of Part Two of this series.
I’d like to talk about Stolpman Vineyards, a winery located in the Ballard Canyon area of the Santa Ynez Valley. If you might recall, my friend Billy had brought a bottle of Stolpman, the excellent 2007 L’Avion, to a tasting at Mission Wines we attended two weeks ago. Alex had planned a late morning of tasting, so we went to Los Olivos to look around. You might recall, if you were in Southern California, that the weekend of December 18 was rainy as heck. This made driving a bit precarious but also had the unexpected benefit of clearing Los Olivos of nearly every other tourist and taster. Alex and I basically had the town to ourselves.
We started with a light repast at Corner House Coffee, where freshly-brewed Peet’s awaited us and we could play a few rounds of Hive while we dried off.