If you’ve got family in town this holiday and aren’t sure what to do with them, make a dash for Edna Valley’s Biddle Ranch Vineyard tasting room. With plenty of outdoor seating nestled against a scenic chardonnay vineyard (and plenty of top notch wines sourced from their Edna estate as well as vineyard sites across the county), it’s a no-brainer stop that is sure to appease even crabby Aunt Cathy. The newly constructed tasting room serves up delicious chardonnay, vineyard-designate pinot noirs, and more—but you’ll absolutely want to try the new 2014 extra brut sparkling. Made from 100 percent chardonnay grapes and produced in the traditional Champagne method, it is the perfect sparkly end to a festive winter day.
• Biddle Ranch Vineyard’s 2014 Sparkling Wine—Price upon request; 2050 Biddle Ranch Road, San Luis Obispo.
I recently sipped this tempranillo at a local communal hot springs with some very beloved visiting friends, so I’m not sure if this is the wine or the nostalgia talking. With flavors of cinnamon spiced plums, vanilla bean, and bright, fruity, cherry zing, this Spanish sipper is pure joy in a bottle! Do as I did, and share with your most cherished friends for a truly elevated experience.
• Castoro Cellars 2014 Tempranillo—$30 a bottle; 1315 N. Bethel Road, Templeton.
Hayley Thomas Cain loves the smell of wine and sulfur. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.