Thursday, July 28, 2011

Paso BD trip...PART 2

Ahhhhhh..and THEN....there was CALIZA'S Carl and Pamela Bowker.  I first met Carl a few years ago when he was bottling right after opening the tasting room.   JUST as my lovely wife and I approached him...the bottling line stopped.  The labeling machine had mis-fired...and botched up the bottling process.  Carl did NOT have a smile on his face...needless to say. That was a very very quick meet and greet.  But these days, there is not much to keep that smile off Carl's (or Pamela's) face.  With consistent 90+ ratings from '06 onward....and a steady and growing fan base, Carl and Pamela couldn't be happier.  You might just want to sit back and relax and be one of Caliza's "Kissin Cousins" on a warm afternoon......or just be a good "Companion"....a delicious tantalizing blend of Cabernet and Syrah.  Bottling glitch or not....what comes out of their bottles will keep you smiling till your next sip.  And Carl and Pamela are always there to talk, sip, and share their liquid passion.

So....what ELSE would a guy do for his birthday when up in Paso?  "WORK!" OF COURSE!  My afternoon spent pouring at the Epoch tasting room......finally I was able to sample (and pour, and chat about), some of the new and great 08's!  The 08 Tempranillo.....definitely an epic (or Epochical) sensory experience!  Complex, wonderful tongue popping  flavors with a tantalizing finish....I thought the 07 was good....but the 08 is a major mouthful of yummy.  And of course the flagship 08 "Ingenuity" a wonderful subtle and complex Rhone blend of GSM and Petite Syrah----drink it now...drink it later.  Drink it with or without food...but when you drink it the big smile will come to your face....can you say heavenly?  And while the temperature is still hot with warm nights....coming from someone who really does not favor rose....Epoch's new rose (almost equal parts of grenache, syrah and cunoise) is just a beautiful mixture of strawberry, raspberry, kiwi.  Sip it by the pool as the breeze blows in the late afternoon.....but be careful!  You may want to stay OUT of the pool-because you can finish the bottle before you know it.  And pouring alongside Stephanie and Christina, two of the nicest (and most knowledgeable) young women is a pleasure.  Pouring, sipping and making new friends....and re-meeting old/new friends I poured for before (Rebecca and Ethan) is what the Paso wine experience is all about.

The evening finished off at a new restaurant in town:  Roberts!  Definitely an "A" lister!  This one is a keeper.....try it if you haven't.  And of course, the old new favorite:  Il Cortile....nothing on the menu less than 5 star in preparation, presentation, creativity, flavors.

Of course, the highlight of the trip was being with my kids----they arranged most of the tastings and the sip and greets.  Kids, wife, friends, food, Paso wine......
we'll be back soon.
and as always, PLEASE!  Feel free to comment, email me at, pass the blog along...
and drink good wine.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Paso BD Trip...Part 1...The 3 "W's"...Winemakers, Wines, Wineries

So many (great) wineries....We'll try to keep this brief and succinct....but since I recently kissed the blarney stone...I now tend to says the wife

Our experience with Scott Hawley (Torrin Wines----SEE PIC ABOVE) was nothing short of amazing.  No finished product to pour....but Scott had just laid out about 30 glasses or so of wine juice and initial start working on his 2010 release.  And we were SO privileged to be there, get some great wine education, sip and throw in our 2 cents worth on what will eventually be another banner release for Scott....simply an amazing highlight of our trip to be in on the beginning process of creation...with just one of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet...and drink with.  One of my favorite Torrin wines is "The Maven"...and Scott may not realize that he really named that wine after himself...because Scott IS a Maven.

No Paso trip would be complete without seeing Anthony Yount (Kinero/Denner)...."Alice" has left Wonderland to reside in my house....supple, structured, lingering and teasing...and best on a warm summer day or evening.  But....Anthony's newly released Chardonnay......well....from someone who is not particularly a chardonnay fan...THIS one is (to use a well known phrase):  Indescribably delicious!  I'd suggest you get some before he runs out...which he will.  SOOOO much fun to follow Anthony's progress with his own Kinero and the Denner brand....certainly one of the youngest, best and brightest of the Paso elites.......Cheers Anthony!

And when God created the Universe, and said "Let there be Wine" he created wonderful land and vines...and we were lucky to have a long and detailed vineyard tour by Bob Tillman and his daughter Maggie, owners of Alta Colina.  A 90 minute fascinating education of  their history, the terroir, vines, grapes, plantings, sun, weather, and in a nutshell......everything that goes into getting the grape from the ground into the bottle.  After the vineyard tour (highly recommended for any of you wine people when you go up to Paso), we of course, then tasted (and purchased) some of the wonderful Alta Colina finished product.  Bob and Maggie are just the nicest, most gracious people, but then again......we seem to find that a very common thread among the Paso wine community.

And not enough can be said about Daniel Daou and Daou Vineyards.  This is another fairly new on the Paso winery scene wine guru .....hitting home runs from bottle #1!  Daniel Daou is a wonderful, humorous, friendly Frenchman (as I have always found the French to be)....his excitement and passion for what he is doing is reflected in every sip of every wine he makes.  Wanting nothing more than to bottle liquid perfection....he is pretty much there....especially judging from all the "sold outs" on his wine list!  His "Celestus" and Zinfandel (which makes the pallet and heartstrings go zing...and clang clang clang goes the trolley) is just an incredible experience and reflection of his quest for liquid nirvana....not to mention his (sold out) Syrah.  You will find it quite a treat if you have a chance to sip anything Daniel is putting out....obviously....great things to come here...and we can't wait.

The always gracious and wonderful Lynne Teckman of Per Cazo....certainly leaves nothing "to chance" (Per Cazo meaning "by chance") in either her hospitable home wine tasting setting or with her sooo sipable creations.  Each wine is paired expertly with easily found cheeses or chocolate covered almonds.  My personal favorite is "Epi Telos"....yummmmmmmmy.  Lynne is so in tune to making your wine tasting experience one of perfection, she always arranges for you to watch the deer and rabbits play in her back yard as you sit and sip by her pool.....with the breeze from the Templeton Gap playing music in the trees.

Finally was a new meet and greet for us:  Jacob Toft OF Jacob Toft!  Just "another" of this elite group of young, passionate, fun and friendly winemaker superstars.....who just wants to put smiles on every ones face as they drink his wine.   His current wines are sold out, so if you happen to make an appointment to see him, be certain to sign up on his email list.  Jacob will regal you about his history and how he lovingly names each wine in a special way.  "Elizabeth's Cuvee" being the one that danced on my tongue....a special wine named after a special woman.  But..if you want to know more about the women and wines in his yourself a up Jacob and meet and sip with him.

and so....this ends Part 1 of 2 parts of my Paso BD for Part 2.....having to do with:  Food....and Wine!

Comments and emails always welcome.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


 POP QUIZ:....what can be better....than a birthday dinner (for my son in law and me) at Geoffrey's in Malibu....with the sun setting overlooking the Pacific Blue....and the crescent moon overhead?  
ANSWER:  Not much...when it's a great dinner with my bride, daughter, son in law, son, favorite mother in law and two of our other closest friends:  Russel Bevan's Unbelievably aromatic and tasty 2008 Ontogeny (Oh My...a Bordeaux blend that just is incredibly layered, complex, flavorful sexy and seductive...with a finish that goes on and on....followed by Eric Jensens hit you in the face, smash mouth 2008 Fracture...which certainly didn't fracture anything...but brought the entire meal and evening to a wonderful climax.  A 100% Paso Syrah that is the 4th of July fireworks extravaganza going off in your mouth!  Of course, both accompanied by incomparable food that complimented both wines sooooo well---or---foods that complimented the wines.......(and the paella.....with the Syrah....paradise found).  Two exquisite 97 pointers.... good.