Alta Maria Vineyards

Los Olivos is a cute little town in the Santa Ynez Valley that’s full of winery tasting rooms. It’s the perfect place to explore a variety of wines produced in Santa Barbara County. We stopped in to taste at Alta Maria Vineyards. This was another recommendation from our friends at Liquid Farm and it did not disappoint.

Alta Maria Vineyard in Los Oilivos

Alta Maria’s tasting room is located in a beautiful little building in downtown Los Olivos, which opened in 2011, although the winery has been producing beautiful Burgundian varietal wines since 2005. The owners, long-time friends James Ontiveros and Paul Wilkins, are committed to creating balanced and complex Pinot Noir and Chardonnay sourced from the Santa Maria Valley AVA.

Wines from Alta Maria Vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley

James is a ninth generation California farmer. He traces his California roots back to 1781 when his family, some of the earliest settlers of California, received the Rancho Tepusquet Mexican land grant. Who else can say that?

Jim pours The Taste SF Alta Maria Vineyard wine.

Alta Maria Vineyard's wine in their tasting room

Jim, our host, had amazing food pairing ideas for almost every single one of the wines we tasted. The Sauvignon Blanc was delicious, and would pair ideally with Thai food. We also loved all the Pinot Noir we tasted. They were all so aromatic and complex.

Three wines from Alta Maria Vineyards in their tasting room

One of our favorites wines we tried was the Gold Coast Chardonnay. As we tasted this wine, we discussed potential pairings, and Jim suggested a pasta with anchovies, capers, French butter, and garlic. We ran with it. Get the recipe here.

Cooking Spaghetti and capers to pair with Alta Maria Wines made at Tomales Farmstead Creamery

We always say that when you’re making a simple recipe with very few ingredients, the quality of the ingredients is key. We use these anchovies that are packed in oil. They are so flavorful and don’t taste fishy. We used this French butter, these capers (only buy salt-packed!) and this spaghetti. This dish comes together so easily, and all you need is a knife, a pot, and a skillet.

Plating Rustichella spaghetti with anchovies and capers with tongs

For a Chardonnay this complex, we really think it’s important to use proper stemware. We always recommend this glass from Zalto and these and these from Riedel. If you want something dishwasher safe, these are probably your best option.

Thanks to Alta Maria Vineyards for hosting us. Check out other stops from our trip hereherehere, and here.

GET RECIPE: Spaghetti with Anchovies and Capers

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