Ethan, Verdad, Qupé Tasting Room
The town of Los Olivos in the Santa Ynez Valley is full of drunks. Although it is the most charming city in this picturesque valley in Santa Barbara wine country, it’s full of quantity-loving wine tasters. There are no stoplights in town, only one main intersection with an American flag waving above the tasting rooms, cute country shops and small cafés. Visitors can walk from tasting room to tasting room, with only a few steps between them. It’s a wino’s heaven; we try to avoid it at all costs.
However, there are reasons to make the trip to town. One big reason is the Ethan, Qupe Verdad Wines tasting room (other days it’s Andrew Murray, Tre Anelli or Carhartt, and possibly most of all, Enjoy Cupcakes). Well-known winemaker and Rhône Ranger pioneer Bob Lindquist is behind the Qupé label, his son makes the Ethan label, his wife Louisa makes Verdad wines, and his daughter Paige is the tasting room manager (his other son Luke also makes wine at Tres Hermanas Winery). Syrah is running through their veins, or at least was in the kids’ sippy cups.
This is reason enough to try the wines: wine making pervades the family. And it’s apparent. Ethan’s Syrah and Grenache (especially from the newly Demeter Certified Biodynamic Sawyer-Lindquist Vineyard) are superb. Qupé Syrahs are classic and strong, and I love the Qupé Marsanne, a round, full Rhône-style white that’s fragrant yet still crisp.
Right now my favorite wine on the list is the Verdad Rosé, made from 100% Grenache, and from the aforementioned Amazing Sawyer-Lindquist Vineyard. This wine is just so pretty, and perfect for summer (and post-summer) drinking and food-pairing. And made at 12.1% alcohol, this is a European-style-low-alcohol-lover’s dream.
The family also has a wine club you can join, as do most wineries in California, but the Lindquist bunch offers something better: a Magnum club. Ok now, I definitely want to join the family.