After spending some time up at Vasquez Rocks, I contemplated my next move. Should I head home to Los Angeles and get things like laundry done, or should I continue exploring Agua Dulce? In the end, it didn’t take much to tempt me into continuing my exploration of the area.
I jumped onto Agua Dulce Canyon Road and aimed my car toward the Sierra Highway. It’s gorgeous countryside—particularly if you love rolling hills and ranches. Horses munched on grasses and lazily watched the few cars go by them. I was tempted to get out and take photos, but I don’t like being interrupted for pictures when I’m eating, so I left them alone.
Up on Sierra Highway, I struck gold—or, more accurately, wine. On a whim I decided to stop by Agua Dulce Winery to see what was on offer for tasting. The grounds are fantastic even in the winter. There are tables to the front of the main building, as well as tables and a gazebo in the back near the barns. They have package deals where you can head out on horseback for a while, go for a tasting and then have a picnic lunch. This sounded pretty tempting, but I haven’t been on a horse for quite a while, and thought better of it this time around.
Instead, I headed into the main room. It was a fun atmosphere. A birthday party tasting was being held in one of the corners of the spacious room, while others were arriving for an event in one of their private rooms. Meanwhile, I headed for the tasting bar.
For $7 you get five tastes, and you can choose from a standard menu — though they let me taste a Sangiovese that was pretty interesting, and fans should inquire if it is available. I rejoiced at the perfectly reasonable price, and settled in for some new tastes.
The staff was entirely charming and helpful, suggesting a variety of options that might suit me. Quite surprisingly, I really enjoyed their Chardonnay. This is not a surprise because of the winery, but rather because I’m not a huge Chardonnay fan, and I found this 2008 Agua Dulce Chardonnay to be quite lovely. It was fruity without being overly sweet, and the perfect first pour after coming in from the sun. While I really did enjoy everything I had, I also found myself liking the Sierra Roja. It’s a blend of Cabernet and Syrah. I feared it was going to be too big for me, but again I found myself surprised.
Rather than rushing right back onto the road, I decided to wander around the grounds a bit. Much to my surprise, I came across a llama. I fully expected to see horses, but the llama was a surprise. In fact, there are number of animals out back. Technically, you aren’t supposed to feed or play with them, but I found myself entirely entertained by their antics. Without a doubt, the animals were unexpected, but discovering them was a fun twist on a wine tasting experience.