Paso Robles Uncorked: Grand Tasting in Newport Beach

Many folks don't always have time to go to wine-country themselves, the time, the travel and the expense can be overwhelming especially with the price of gas seeing all-time highs for the foreseeable future. So what if the winery could come to you? Yes, that is right you heard me, the winery is coming to you. How you say? 

This time in the form of the Paso Robles Grand Tasting, an event that will help you get your wine on in a big way, all in the comfort of a dock-side yacht called the "Majestic," where 38 different wineries will be pouring the pride of Paso this coming Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. The cost is a mere $60, similar to the visiting just 4 wineries in Temecula. This is an excellent deal for the consumer who would like to try before they buy, and help zone-in on a few new favorites.

I was hoping to attend this event in person, but unforeseen circumstances have helped to sadly change my mind [you don't want to know]. Functions like this are a great place to connect with old friends and network with potential new friends. But having just been on the ground in Paso Robles myself in the last two weeks, frankly, I won't be too heartbroken about not being able to make it to this event, as visiting in Paso in person, really can't be beaten.

But enough about me, this blog is about you, fun loving vino-sapiens looking to get your next vinous fix. So with that in mind, I took a list through some of the producers who will be pouring and I've compiled a short list of what I will call the go-to tables [please don't be a table hog, get your splash, chit-chat a bit and move-on]. I know you're not supposed to have favorites and if you do you're certainly not supposed to say so. But in this case, I feel obligated to give ya the skinny on my favorites, I've selected a Top-Five list, you decide what you would like to do with the "list". 

So here is my Top-Five list, which is not in a numerical ranking of any kind, but you have to start somewhere, so here it goes.

1.  L'Aventure: This is one of my favorite producers in Paso and they have been for a long time. If you like really big, age-worthy red wines then this is the table for you. I'm not sure if they'll be pouring the big guns, 2009 L'Aventure Côte à Côte or the 2009 L'Aventure Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, but even their 2009 L'Aventure Optimus is no slouch, swirl, sniff and slurp, repeat. Yes, go back for seconds, this table will be one of the first to run out, hop and skip to get a splash.

2. Tablas Creek Vineyards: This winery is known as the "Rhone-Zone" it's quintessential Paso Robles. This table will fill up fast, they have so many great wines, I really can't imagine anyone not finding something they would like. Hopefully, you'll get up their way for a visit, to see the new tasting room soon, I really love what they've done with the place. 

Many of the wines I tasted just last week and purchased for my own cellar are now sold out, but their 2009 Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc is a light bodied, drink now, drink often wine. And in the red department, you may run into the 2009 Esprit de Beaucastel, a great tasting Rhone-style blend.

3. Calcareous: Again this is another of my favorite wineries and having just tasted through a majority of their wines just two shorts weeks ago, this is a table you won't want to miss out on. For all the folks who are sad that Tablas Creek has sold out of their very tasty Burgundian style chard, the 2009 Chard from Calcareous is every bit as good and still in stock. 

If they are pouring the Moose, wow you do not want to miss out this 89% Syrah, 11% Petit Verdot, plum blackberry jam on toast. They may even be pouring Twisted Sister, which I didn't taste this time, but typically wows me every time. Also, their 2008 Tres Violet is wonderful food friendly wine, not to miss. If you like a great Cab-Sauv, they can punch that ticket as well, with their York Mountain bottling.

4. JUSTIN Vineyards: Another great place for fat, mouthwatering Cabernet Sauvignon, blended into a Bordeaux style, wines that drink nicely right now, but will stand the test of time and improve greatly with more bottle time. They also have a great Cab-Franc, under the Justification label, too bad it's sold out. 

So don't look for any of their top wines to be poured at this event, most are sold out, or are only available to club members. But look for their Savant and Syrah to be in the tasting line-up. Sorry to say, that I've not been a fan of the [Reserve or Not] Chardonnay in the past, but give it swirl it may be your cup of tea.

5. J. Lohr Vineyards and Vines: Rounding out my Top-Five list is J.Lohr, although I didn't get an opportunity to visit them this year, they still remain one of favorite and one of the most reasonable prices producers in Paso. They have a large, varied and tasty selection of approachable wines, I'd recommend zeroing in on their Estate series, the Vineyard Series or the Cuvée Series [of course named after my blog, wink].

6. Alta Colina: I know this was only supposed to be a Top-Five, but having just found out, that Alta Colina was going to be there, I had to add them to the "list"! Okay, not sure how I missed seeing this great winery on the list, oh-wait the list of everyone that is pouring nowhere to be found. Only the 38 wineries mentioned on the Paso GT Postcard. 

But that said, you really don't want to miss this table, please tell Maggie I said "hello". Another Rhone-Zone favorite that you don't want to miss out on. If you need to get the skinny on this place, please see my most recent review entitled "Old 900 takes Flight at Alta Colina" you won't want to miss giving these wonderfully well-made wines a swirl and be sure to put in an order for the "old 900" you won't be disappointed.

Okay, folks, there you have it, please use the list responsibly, go out and slurp properly and by all means, folks learn to spit, it really is not that hard of a skill to learn. You'll thank me later when you're not getting that DUI or spitting purple cookies all over the inside of your vehicle. Until next time sip long and prosper cheers!


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