Sunday, March 20, 2011

1 Night-6 people-4 bottles

Ahhhh yes....our group wine night!  And the hosts requirements were: Bring an Eclectic bottle of wine (which we brown! and THEN open to see what we drank)!.  OK...first off, what the heck does "eclectic" mean relating wine?  I guess....sort of subject to personal interpretation.....which made for an interesting assortment of wines last night (because's a "Rhone night" or a "Bordeaux night" or a "Pinot night" or "California"...but last night...Eclecticism ruled.....any type from anywhere (originally I was thinking Thunderbird or Boone's Farm--now...THAT'S Eclectic).

Just to tease our pallets as we arrived, host Paul started us with a Crema di Limoni---a creamy lemoncello with--oh yeah..20% alcohol!  Sort of a light, creamy, lemony, liquid velvet....and what a kick!....then.....let the tasting begin:

....onto the brown bags--which had now been numbered
What was in bag #1?  Not able to see the wine of course...most agreed it was a little spicy, some pepper, loads of dark plumb fruit, nicely balanced, smooth and subtle with a nice finish.  Light tannins, probably not very age worthy...but very drinkable. Very pleasant wine....and it had a hint of just "something" that we could not "quite" identify.

Next....bag #2! this was BIG!  Huge!~  Fruit bomb....most thought this to be a Paso wine (and I was getting looks).  First...maybe it wasn't even my wine...second..I swore I did NOT bring a Paso wine this time!  No one believed me.  Lots of dark fruit, plumb, sour cherry, earthy and mineralty finish. Good tannins, age worthy.  BIG mouth feel, nice and complex and well structured...with an incredible finish.  All agreed...this beat bag #1.

after some more good talk and food (guacamole, shrimp, an assortment of cheeses, fruit, lox/cream cheese canapes, and other goodies--and of course, chocolate).....we went onto bag #3!

OK.....everyone now is glaring at me...DEFINITELY a Paso wine!  No one believed me.  THIS was jammy...big big fruit bomb.  Something indiscernible teasing the nasal senses. Great nose, Good tannins, huge fruit, structured, complex..definitely would age very well...... then lingering to an earthy finish that went on and on.  This was (sorry Mike)  definitely YUMMY!  Let me repeat:  VERY YUMMMMMMY  It was a hard choice between #2 and #3....but the final tally was:

3rd place:  Bag #1:  Which turned out to be a 2008 Malibu Solstice Cabernet!  Grapes grown high in the hills of the Santa Monica Mountains....overlooking Malibu and the blue Pacific with it's rolling surf....  Oh...and that "something" we could not "quite" identify?  Could it have been a hint of salty ocean spray?  The smell of the surf as it rolls into the hot summer sand? THIS is a wine for every night...anywhere, anytime----at $27!

2nd place:  Bag #2.  Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalta 2005.  A Chilean Bordeaux blend and Wine spectators #1 Wine of the Year from 2008!....provided by the good Dr. Mike....

and the winner was (by about 1/2 point only)

1st Place:  Bag #3.  2006 Zenato Amarone della Valpolicella Classico!  You see...I did NOT bring a Paso wine!  Wine Spectators 2010 #36 of the top 100.

All the wines were wonderful...and eclectically worldly: were the hosts and the food and the conversation.......but I think (And Mike agreed)....the best part of the evening?  WE BEAT OUT PAUL!!!  FINALLY!!!!  Probably won't happen again....(as Paul IS Mr. Wine).......OK...that wasn't the best part of the was one of the best parts.

but I'm still wondering:  WHAT was meant by ECLECTIC?


Friday, March 18, 2011


Just a teaser here.....but in less than 2 weeks, my wife and I will be wending our way up to the northern part of the the land of the "King of the Red Wine Grapes"---Napa.  Of course, NO wine trip would be complete without first stopping in Paso Robles.....the finally recognized apex (IMO) of creative winemakng..... to barrel taste a nice assortment of 09's with my favorite winemakers.  Then....onwards for a 6 day trip of swirling, sniffing, and sipping at some of California's most renown (Napa and Sonoma) wineries.  Eight days of sipping incredible wines, eating at incredible restaurants (such as Il Cortile in Paso Robles), and meeting with wonderful winemakers....
Life is good.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


As my kids get ready to go visit some of our favorite wineries and winemakers up in Paso this weekend, just thought I'd throw the following down to think about.  Oh...and what are we doing while our kids are enjoying themselves?  Babysitting of course!  So I hope all who see them this weekend let them know what wonderful parents they have...

For all you history and wine buffs......
.....what is the connection between the Declaration of Independence conceived by the (2nd) Continental Congress of 1776 and the winemakers of Paso Robles?......Ahhhhhhh...gotchya there don't I?
Maybe it was the stars, maybe it was karma, maybe it was a result of the big bang theory, maybe it was when Jupiter aligned with Mars and the dawning of the Age of Aquarius...or maybe it was just one of those accidents of history that brought together the incredible minds of Jefferson, Hancock, Adams, Franklin, etc. to verbalize, visualize and create a never before thought of set of ideas and ideals that culminated in the Declaration of Independence.....and started the Great American Dream....which continues today in the Paso Robles Wine Country....

created by a similar set of circumstances and serendipity to bring together such incredible (and generally young) winemakers at this moment in history in one place, Paso Robles, to create and experiment with terroir and grapes and winemaking----names like Hawley, Yount, Fiorentini, Bowker, Smith, Hoage, Asseo...and all the other great Paso Wine Pioneers---who one way or another have found their way to Paso Robles to conceive of a wine like no other wine before.  Standing alone, blended, with the concept that no grape is created equal----and each individual grape and varietal has something unique and tantalizing to offer.

And what delight to this wine be part of the adventure and growth of the Rhone Rangers (as they are known) they taste, blend, change, conceive and create the new and exciting wine center of California.  With blends and varietals that create excitement and fireworks.

And......this is just the beginning

(If you like my posts...please become a follower....pass this site me...comment).  Cheers

Friday, March 4, 2011

Paso in L.A.

My thanks to Kevin Jones of L A Cellars for the invite tonight to taste Carl Bowker's wonderful Paso wines down here in SoCal.  If you have seen the recent Wine Spectator, Carl, winemaker extraordinaire and owner of Caliza, was one of a handful of elite winemakers featured.  As the evening started out with a small, intimate group, we were all "Kissin' Cousins."  As more people came and met, everyone seemed to find a "Sidekick," and after a few glasses there were actually two "Azimuths" you could distinguish......winding up with a very nice "Companion."  Caliza is one of several exciting, relatively new wineries that is changing the shape and reputation of Paso Robles.....helping to turn this former cow town and hangout for US Army summer camp attendees (yes...yours truly included) into a world class wine destination.  A nice way to start the weekend with a sip of Paso...