It was a rare day in Los Angeles in July as a rainstorm threatened, although Angelinos welcome every drop. I had made a date for a mother/daughter hike in Newton Canyon, 4 miles from Malibu to visit the vineyard, have lunch and taste the wine at Rosenthal Estate Vineyards.
As I drove from the San Fernando Valley and up Kanan Dune Road, I was expecting a downpour.
When I arrived at the winery that was tucked back in the hills, I was directed to drive a tree-covered road to the old stables where the Rosenthal wine tasting room was located.
It was like descending into the garden of Eden with greenery and vineyards delicately laced into the hills up above. A pair of wooden giraffes played whimsically among the trees.
Once everyone arrived, we were ready for our hike.
Our guide led along mostly shady paths through the vineyards. It was like walking into paradise.
I’d been worried about hiking up hills because I had sprained my foot and it was twinging, but our guide assured us that a golf cart was available if necessary. Fortunately, my foot cooperated and I did fine. It was a lovely and invigorating 45-minute workout.
We stopped at the chardonnay vineyard and tasted some of the grapes. They were so tart most of the people in our group spat them out. We learned that grapes used for making wine are much smaller and not nearly as sweet as table grapes.
We waled to a hillside with merlot grapes that had been damaged by a fire when a car crashed on the road. It was such a shame to lose so many wonderful grapes. We also tasted the red merlot grapes on another hillside that was a little bit sweeter than the chardonnay.
Along the way, we passed by rows of avocado and citrus trees.
Lunch on the Rosenthal Estate Vineyard hike is normally served at the main house, but it was being used for a private party that day, so we hiked up to the guest house nearby. We sat at outdoor tables overlooking the vineyards and were served a scrumptious box lunch of Boar’s Head sandwiches, olives, and potato salad.
The sky was still overcast and the clouds were holding their water, making it incredibly pleasant for a normally scorching July day.
And then there was the wine.
We started off with a taste of Surfrider Mingle, a crisp Grenache Blanc wine that was sublime. Surfrider grapes come from San Luis Obispo and it’s only available in tasting rooms. After that came the Rosenthal Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet. All were first class!
I was surprised to learn that the Malibu/Newton Canyon area has 70 vineyards tucked away in the hills. Because of regulations in that area, all the processing and bottling is done elsewhere. We were in awe at how rich and full-bodied the wines were. They were easily comparable to Napa or Sonoma.
I loved that all those vineyards are so close to home.
Our time there went much too quickly and no one wanted to leave. It was so pleasant and relaxing and a wonderful way to spend the day with my daughter.
We hiked back down to the stables and passed 2 pillars that Mr. Rosenthal had collected from the Berlin Wall. They stood on a hill under a cluster of majestic trees.
Back at the stables, I decided to join the Rosenthal Estate wine club. My membership gives me 20% off the cost of all my wine orders. Members can come back to the vineyard to pick up their quarterly orders of wine and take part in exclusive social mixers, pool parties, and other events.
Members can also enjoy free tastings at the Rosenthal Malibu tasting room on Pacific Coast Highway off of Topanga Blvd where you can sit by the ocean, eat from food trucks, and enjoy music. What could be better?
As I reluctantly drove home, the sky opened up and thundered and it poured for the rest of the day. It’s as if it knew we were having too good of a time to rain on our parade.
To find out more about Rosenthal Estate Vineyards visit their website at rosenthalestatewines.com
Do you have a favorite local winery? Please leave a comment below.