Where to go to get a taste of the coast

Los Angeles Times - - FOOD & DINING - By S. Irene Vir­bila irene.vir­bila@la­times.com

Just three Malibu winer­ies have tast­ing rooms open on a regular ba­sis, which is enough for a re­laxed af­ter­noon. Bring a sweater or jacket (even in sum­mer, the breeze can be chilly in the late af­ter­noon) and, if you can, a des­ig­nated driver. The charge for a flight of small pours of the lo­cal wines ranges from $10 to $15 per per­son. You can also opt for wines by the glass or pur­chase a bot­tle of any of the se­lec­tions. Cor­nell Win­ery

Cor­nell has the big­gest se­lec­tion, func­tion­ing more as a tast­ing room for lo­cal wines than a “win­ery.” (The owner couldn’t get a per­mit.) At this weath­ered wood barn off Mulholland High­way, you can sip and buy wines from the Malibu Coast AVA along with wines from the Cen­tral Coast. The place has a funky vibe with its pressedtin ceil­ing, stained-glass lamps over the bar and, at the back, a long communal ta­ble lighted by a chan­de­lier. A tast­ing of four wines runs $10. The se­lec­tion changes weekly and in­cludes at least one Malibu wine; the re­main­der are from Cen­tral Coast bou­tique winer­ies. The staff is in­formed and ready to pour you a glass if you want to opt out of the tast­ing. You can also pick up bot­tles of wine to go from their se­lec­tion of 75 to 100 la­bels.

Cor­nell Win­ery & Tast­ing Room, 29975 Mulholland High­way, Cor­nell (a.k.a. Agoura), (818)7353542; www.cor­nell­win­ery.com . Open noon to 6 p.m. Thurs­days to Sun­days (or un­til 9 p.m. if no pri­vate events are sched­uled). Malibu Fam­ily Wines

You can’t miss the clus­ter of cars nos­ing their way into the valet park­ing lot ($18). Go just a bit far­ther up the road to the free lot and take a shut­tle back to the tast­ing room. En­tirely out­doors, it’s re­ally more of a tast­ing park with a huge stretch of AstroTurf ringed with a hand­ful of tast­ing bars, all crowded, all serv­ing the same lineup of wines. You can opt for one of two flights at $12 or $14. You want the Sem­ler Es­tate Flight, five wines made from Malibu es­tate-grown grapes. The best are the 2011 Mer­lot and the pricey 2010 Re­serve Caber­net. It’s a wild scene, with women in filmy dresses and floppy hats tak­ing self­ies in front of the vine­yard or the vin­tage trucks, and pic­nics spread on the grass and ta­bles of friends and birth­day par­ties gen­er­ally mak­ing merry. Call ahead to re­serve a pic­nic ta­ble.

Malibu Fam­ily Wines, 31740 Mulholland High­way, Malibu, (818) 865-0605, www.mal­ib­u­fam­ily wines.com . Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Call to re­serve a pic­nic ta­ble. Rosen­thal Wines

You’ve prob­a­bly seen this place as you drove by on PCH. The build­ing is so unas­sum­ing you’d never guess that in back is an ex­pan­sive gar­den with cush­ioned arm­chairs, ta­bles and ul­tra­ma­rine blue um­brel­las. There’s live mu­sic on a stage on the week­ends and of­ten a food truck dish­ing out lob­ster rolls and such just be­yond the fence. When the chill comes on in the af­ter­noon, die-hards don blan­kets to sip Rosen­thal’s trop­i­cal Chardon­nay or Surfrider Hang Ten Red, a blend of Mer­lot, Caber­net, Syrah and Pe­tite Ver­dot. A wine tast­ing flight is $12, or $15 if you pre­fer all reds. In­doors, out­doors, take your pick. Watch the game on the flat-screen. And, hey, the last Satur­day of the month you can take a yoga class at 11 a.m. fol­lowed by a wine tast­ing. How very Malibu.

Rosen­thal Wine Bar & Pa­tio, 18741 Pa­cific Coast High­way, Malibu (310) 456-1392; www.rosen­thal es­tatewines.com . Open 1 to 8 p.m. Wed­nes­days to Fri­days, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Satur­days, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sun­days.

Fred Sei­d­man

A ROAD­SIDE in­vi­ta­tion to stop in at Rosen­thal Wines.

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