Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
We had scheduled a tour @ Justin first thing in the morning. Our tour guide Jim Gerakaris, who is part of the tour and tasting room team gave us a grand tour of the facilities. Since we were there in the middle of harvest, we witnessed first hand many of the harvest (including a pesky flies which can't leave you alone) activities from grape to glass. It is a very impressive operation, the machinery and attention to detail is evident in the quality of wine they are producing. Our tasting was conducted back in the tasting room which is pretty lavish and encourages purchases.
The wines I would pass on here are the 07 Viognier and the 07 Chardonnay. These varietals typically grow better in a cooler climate and despite being sourced from the cool, ocean influenced Templeton gap area I thought both efforts were too austere. Justin also produces about five other wines which we politely ask to taste and they politely refused. I highly recommend stopping by if you are in the area it is totally worth the trip and book a tour.
Next we went to Tolo Cellars, and met the young winemaker and proprietor Josh Gibson. In wine circles he is said to be "flying under the radar", but definitely not a place to missed. As you pull up to a "little red school" which serves as the tasting room. I think we hung out in the kitchen which has a bar facing the sliding door entry way. He was very gracious to grant us a private tasting during the harvest. We had a great time talking about his wine making style and how he got started. The wines are very good and had a long persistent finish. The wine descriptions are very different than most, but are very smartly written. We walked out with six bottles and wished our budget could have afforded us more.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Thus my premise here is twofold. You have a dividing line which is the 101 and a controversy about dividing up these two areas, East and West into different appellations. You also have the media attention ascribed to the Westside and some shunning of the Eastside. Then from my practical experience in the area tasting just two weeks ago and putting all politics and opinions aside I voted with my wife and I's palate. Let the wine do the talking, as it has much to say about it's own terroir!
Now for the second place we went which is not too far from J. Lohr, we arranged on a recommendation to make an appointment Roger Nicolas, owner and winemaker of RN Estate. He was gracious enough to grant us a tasting. He does his tastings from his home, which is gorgeous! Please see the rest of the pix I took of his place in the Paso Album. Best views in Paso!
Friday, October 17, 2008
One thing unexpected thing is a sea of oil wells (about 1/2 still pumping) on the two-lane stretch from Paso Robles to Cholame which was once known as "Blood Alley" where James Dean lost his life. The 46 W is a place where you don't want to be distracted, with many drivers wanted to pass slower moving traffic and times at the peril of themselves and others.
In all about 5 1/2 hour journey from San Diego to downtown Paso. We had a nice lunch @ the Odyssey Cafe ( I give this place a big thumbs up) and then before checking in we decided to do some wine tasting on the East Side of the 101. Since we had arrived by 11:30 am we were in the perfect position to hit a number of wineries and take a few tours before closing time.
So we (that's my wife and I) make a stop Arroyos Robles and meet Jason (Owner of AR) and Deanna (DD), who started Wine Country Outings and has these great wine journals(listed as a MS friend). We had a great time talking wine, drinking the wines and enjoying the hospitality of our host. Thanks Jason! Proud of his Irish ancestry. But the wine we liked and unfortunately left behind was: The Little Star pictured below, because we felt a little hurried we left there without a purchase and quickly made our way to one other tasting room in town (Silver Stone) which DD liked and was on her Journal list. Thanks DD!
Which meant for us 1st class service and free tastings and a nice discount on our purchases, we went with the 2004 Syrah, Paso Robles which is sourced from Orchid Hill Vineyard in Paso Robles’ cool Westside. (which @ the time I didn't realize would become important) Wine makers notes "This lean site, at high elevation and planted on shale and limestone soils, produces deeply-colored, robustly flavored wines that display elements of saddle-leather and blackberry, with firm but supple tannins" and @ 17% alc. I recommend decanting. But it is a big beautiful bold fruit bomb, with some nice acidity as the frame work. You hardly notice the alc. as it is very smooth and has a long persistent finish. I recommend ordering a couple today!I unfortunately will have to finish here for now, but please stay tuned for part two coming very soon, until then cheers!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Just got back from my trip to Paso a couple of days ago. What a great place! The town is not too big, but it does have a lot going on. Especially if dining is on your mind, great menus and good service are the norm. Wine, the sky is the limit! No metered parking and the traffic is non-existent. The folks here are down to earth and very friendly.
I call this a tale of two cities because of the east/west dividing line of the vineyards. I will be writing about my adventures in Paso over the next few weeks. There is so much to talk about! A series entitled, "Paso Robles East vs. West, a tale of two cities" I will also be including a huge photo album of the Paso wine experience. I am in the process of editing and articulating my thoughts. (No it will not be as stuffy, as I just made it sound) it was another fun adventure in wine country. I will give you the good, the bad and the ugly! Not too much of latter two, though!
In regards the wine experience there, like my last blog about the movie trailer, "a sense of place" you will see why I have entitled my blog series "a" tales of two cities! If you have been there you already know what I mean, if not then you will.
Until then Cheers!