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Savor the Central Coast Tasting: October 1-2, Santa Margarita, CA

logo_savor.gifIt's often said (by me and others) that there's never been a better time to be a wine lover. This is true for any number of different reasons, but one that I very much appreciate centers on the initiative that different wine regions around the world are taking to educate and expose their wines to consumers.

For someone looking to either learn a lot about a wine region, or merely discover great new wines from a region they already know, the explosion of regional wine tasting events has been an incredible boon. I sound a bit like a broken record on this topic here at Vinography, but there's just nothing like going to one of these events as a means of educating your palate. You can learn more about a wine region or a grape variety in three hours at one of these tastings than you can in a year of buying an occasional bottle and bringing it home, or a weekend of driving around wine country.

California's Central Coast is one of the state's most diverse (not to mention largest) wine regions, and it offers a dizzying bounty of wines to the intrepid wine explorer. Because of its size, however, it can be a bear to explore on your own. Enter the "Savor the Central Coast" wine extravaganza. This four-day wine and food festival culminates in a grand tasting featuring scores of wineries from Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and Ventura counties. From the rich red wines of Paso Robles to the steely cool-climate wines of the Santa Maria Valley, there's going to be a lot of great stuff to taste.

In particular, make sure to check out wineries like Palmina, L'Aventure, and Tablas Creek, which are some of my favorites.

The food sounds like it's going to be pretty great at this event too, with dozens of restaurants offering plates and bites.

Finally, there's a ton of seminars, lectures, tours, and other associated activities that I don't have the energy to list here, so go check out the event web site for more details.

2011 Savor the Central Coast Tasting
Saturday and Sunday, October 1 & 2
10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Santa Margarita Ranch
900 Yerba Buena Ave
Atascadero, CA 93422 (map)

Tickets to the event start at $85 for a single day ticket ($150 for two days) and some additional events are $20 supplements. Tickets should be purchased in advance online. Use the discount code: SAVORVINOGRAPHY to get a 20% discount.

The event is offering a free shuttle service from Pismo Beach and Shell Beach, Atascadero, Paso Robles, and San Luis Obispo, so you can avoid parking hassles as well as not worry about your blood alcohol content.

As always, however, you'll get the most out of such tastings if you spit out most of the wine. Tasting is always best done on a full stomach, with lots of water, and after having gotten a good night's sleep. I also recommend wearing darker clothes that may not show an occasionally splash of red wine that can so easily happen at such events.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud