March 19, 2017

Photo Essay: Wine Dinner in the Garden

I remember accidentally driving down this driveway a few years ago.

I was looking for the Malibu Family Wines tasting room, and this clearly wasn't the way.

But a couple of weekends ago, I found myself proceeding with purpose—past the water buffalo—to dine al fresco at the newly-christened garden of the Semler family's Saddlerock Ranch.

There was, of course, plenty of estate wine to drink...

...and citrus blossoms to sniff...

...and seats to choose from... we waited for our dinner to make it from the farm to our tables.

The main attraction here is the Saddle Rock Garden, planted upon a mound of dirt unearthed to create the adjacent man-made pond.

The first thing you see are the flowers, certain wild and native species (like lupine) that are meant to attract bees... well as a certain parasitic wasp that leaves people alone but devours invasive, non-beneficial bugs.

The garden is still in its early stages, though it's got a hearty harvest of dinosaur kale and some other winter greens... well as root vegetables like daikon radish...

...whose edible blossoms taste like radish...

...and carrots that are so sweet... can eat them right after you pull them out of the ground.

The rustic atmosphere reminded me of the locovore scene that's happening in Baja wine country in Mexico...

...where you get to watch your food being prepared...

...among the vines that will eventually produce the varietals you're drinking.

It was a place and a time to share a table... split a bottle... and pass a plate to the stranger across from you or next to you, clinking glasses as the sun set behind the Santa Monica Mountains, darkening Potato Rock and the Airstream trailer that had reflected so much of the Magic Hour light just moments before.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: Wild Wine Safari
Photo Essay: Malibu Wine Safari, On Foot
Photo Essay: Rosenthal Malibu Estate Vineyard Tour
Photo Essay: The Terroir of Baja Wine Country

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