Thursday, January 19, 2012

On The Paso Road Again..Part 2

In case you wondered.....yes....our wine tasting day started out COLD.....FREEZING cold in fact...but knowing we would soon be warmed by the winederful wines we would taste........

(fountain at the Courtyard by Marriott)

SO MANY GREAT, I'll try to point out the highlights....get those salivary glands and sensory nerves YOU get out and go to see, smell, sip, swallow, savor, salivate    :) 

First off, a wonderful meeting with Peter, Epoch's assistant winemaker, who graciously spent a huge amount of time barrel tasting the 2010 EPOCH line up with us!
What can you say!  HOW do I review something that is well.... INCREDIBLE!!!  Each and every one of them.
Zinfandel (of course, an homage to Paderewski's Zinfandel from his vineyard)!  Were those musical notes I heard while sipping, closing my eyes and taking myself into a state of euphoria? incredibly huge, fragrant, age worthy, Grenache based bend.
Authenticity...mostly Syrah....HUGE!  Big.  Fruity.  Spicy.  Chewy.  YUMMY!  Certainly authentic.
Tempranillo....ready to go as far as I am concerned......get those glasses ready.
and, my personal favorite of all the Epoch wines still being:
Block B Syrah!  Forget describing this one!  You NEED to try it...and hooked you will be!

Each wine with its own distinctive characteristics.....but one thing in common:  They ALL have that WOW factor!  Looooooong finishes....complex.....layered, changing flavors.  To sum up what my wife said to Peter: "How about you just pick a barrel of each and put them in the car right now."  Oh heck...just leave us in the barrel room with a straw!   What a way to start the day!  Look for these upon release down the road.

Brian spent quite a lot of time out of his busy day to explain his entire story...originally intending wine making to be a means to an end (supporting his car hobby)....which now has turned into making some GLORIOUS wines!  Well regarded, well rated.....MY personal favorites being

his 2008 Denner and Glenrose Syrahs! 
Full bodied, great nose, great mouth feel, one exhibiting a wonderful earthiness and minerality weaving in with the dark fruits, the other slightly sweeter.  No...I won't tell you which is will just have to taste them for yourself.....side by side.  Brian keeps his wines in barrels longer than most----and the result is a drinkable wine immediately upon arrival!  Thank you Brian for your story, and hospitality.

Of course, NO trip to Paso would be complete without sitting in Lynne Teckman's dining room (or by the fireplace, or out by the pool), leaving nothing "per cazo" and introducing new people to Lynne's hospitality and  wonderful, drinkable wines.  Normally....Epi Telos is my favorite....but on this trip, Confluent stole the day.  In fact, I am sipping a glass of that as I write this.  And yes, PER CAZO (meaning by chance) is the winery--but Lynne and her winemaker leave absolutely NOTHING to chance in creating their winederful lineup of liquid heaven.

The day being over....back to our hotel, for a well deserved nap---and then....Dinner at Thomas Hill Organics, which was reviewed in Part 1.

Up early the next morning to meet Maggie and Bob Tillman at Alta Colina.  Starting out with a quite informative vineyard tour...Bob explaining the vines, the pruning, the growing, the training, the terroir, the slope...everything that is involved in the ground and above the ground that nature provides (or not) to help create wonderful fruit which then turns into wonderful wine!  Bob and Maggie have a way to make the most complicated details understandable.
Of course...after the vineyard was time to taste a glass or six.....
again.....a few personal favorites:
2009 Toasted Slope Syrah----a chewy, full mouthful of Syrah...exhibiting wonderful "Syrah like" characteristics.
and...the 2008 GSM.....a quintessential Paso GSM blend...with just about equal parts of each grape.  Have you tried it?  Well..if you haven't...tooo late...we bought his last '08's!

Bob...teasing...saved the best for the last.  A not yet released NEW wine!  The color of golden honey, with residual sugar of 17.5gm.  In the mouth....liquid honey!  WHAT a sweety!  This is Bob's new
2010 Late Harvest (100%) Viognier.  Pure gold.....honey.....a total delight....and a perfect way to end a meal....and end several days......sipping this (and I am not a sweet wine drinker) was nirvana.

As all good thing come to an end, it was time for the trip back home....leaving wonderful friends, wines, food.....but with the knowledge....that we'll be back---
to savor the delights of what Paso has to offer in terms of its people, friendliness and of course.....wines!

What is the definition of a good wine? It should start and end with a smile.
~William Sokolin 

And this trip (as it seems all Paso trips do)....started with...continued with...and ended with...
                              a smile :)

and...I hope I have put a smile on YOUR face...and you have enjoyed my comments....


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On the Paso Road---again! Part 1

Part 1:  Food------and "some" wine
This trip started as most....with my pouring all day Sunday at EPOCH ESTATE'S TASTING ROOM on Historic York Mountain.....and WHAT a day it was.  Aside from the great wines and people that come in (and my being able to sip all day)....I made more new friends....really the best part of the whole wine experience every time I have the pleasure to pour Epoch for others.....the day goes fast....and's dinner time!

Roberts Restaurant in Paso is relatively new....only our second time there (and certainly we will be increasing that number)'s simply:  WONDERFUL!  And Heather, our couldn't just ask for anyone more attentive or nicer.  And did I say the food was pretty good too?
Especially....the crab cakes---if you are a crab cake MUST try them.  And..the macadamia crusted halibut?  Ohhhhhhh..... succulent, juicy, melts in your mouth.   Then for dessert.....the chocolate ain't half's devilishly's a sin..especially if you are a chocoholic (which resembles the writer).

And any great meal (with friends Ethan and Rebecca...and my sister and brother in law whom I finally got to Paso)...must be accompanied by special wines:
Starting with a Herman Story On The Road (appropriate since we are on the road)...a 2009 Grenache...fruity, long finish, well balanced....and just another great Story wine!
followed by a Bevan Cellars 2009 Ontogeny (OK...yes...once in awhile I break away from Paso for an exceptional Bordeaux blend which Ontogeny is...out of Santa Rosa).  And, if you have never had the pleasure of a Russel Bevan have missed out.
Get your hands on will NOT be disappointed.

Monday night:
Addie from Epoch asked if we would like to join their Monday night group at Thomas Hill Organics....for a pre-set 5 course meal....and lots of wine.  Yes...we all brought wine...and WHAT a night this was!  And.....what a menu,  starting with
Ahi tuna poke.....a generous serving...and O!  SO! Yummmmmy!
Course #2 was an orange, avocado and baby octopus salad!  How creative...and succulent.

......of was flowing...but let's talk about the food first!
Following the salad......the hugest (is that a word?) prawns I have ever seen.....tasting full flavored and as good as they looked....

And then...course #4....the main course!  Luau pork sliders with...well...I'll let the picture tell the story...and even though I am not a meat eater...I just couldn't let this go by...yes....I have been known to make exceptions.....
and for dessert...a light, palate cleansing coconut panna cotta...

Count me as a FAN of THOMAS HILL ORGANICS!!!

Of course...with all the industry people there, there was plenty of wonderful wine to go around for the 12 of us

Pouring upon arrival
Laetitia '07 Cuvee M bubbly to get us in the mood  as everyone arrived.
......then moving on through the evening with:
Booker '09 Vertigo...and incredible, Paso GSM blend.  Big, huge, fruity, lingering...WOW!
Delta Vineyard '07 Pinot Noir (New Zealand)--a wonderful, light, fragrant pinot.  Thank you Glenn for the introduction to a NZ Pinot!
moving right along.....
San Leige '09 The Offering (GSM with a hint of viognier)
Denner '09 Mouvedre  
Brian Benson '08 Glenrose Syrah
Cerro prieto '07 Paso bordo (an 85% cab 15% syrah blend)
Tolosa '08 Syrah
Carina Cellars '08 Clairvoyant GSM
Obviously, LOTS of wonderful wines gracing the table.....willing and ready for anyone and everyone to sip and enjoy and explore.  (And...for a complete description of just need to try them all)!

The wines as varied, complex, layered, interesting, fun and wonderful and was the company around the table! Good food, good wine, lots of laughter....and the most important and best ingredient of all:  THE PEOPLE!  (and, our server Robin...wonderful, attentive, cheerful.....putting up with us..and sipping along too)!

I would like to add a SPECIAL THANK Addie.......for including us!  I hope this will be the first of many Monday nights (when we are in Paso), around the table at THO, wineing and dining and laughing with the wonderful Paso Wine People.

Part 2 will follow:  It's about the wine!

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or delete  :)



Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year! Sipping in the New Yeart

New Year's Eve....2011...sipping in 2012.....with great friends, and great food and of course....great wine...
Just a starter at home....prior to dinner....opening a bottle of:

BEVAN CELLARS 2010 SAUVIGNON BLANC.  WHAT a fine sauvignon....NOT what you would normally expect from sauvignon Blanc, which is what makes Russel's wine soooooo unique.  A hint of grapefruit, giving way to guava, mango, pineapple and tropical fruits....a delectable nose and a finish that is subtle, changing long lasting and lingering.  Easy on the pallet....reminding you of a nice tropical afternoon, laying under the palm trees, a light breeze blowing...enjoying the nuances of tropical smells as you relax and let your mind drift................ to ROY'S for a 4 course New Year's dinner.  Suffice to, service, ambiance was excellent!  A special New Year's menu prepared by chef Jason Moffitt.   None of the typical New Years hustle and bustle and mediocrity you are accustomed to at a restaurant on New Years.  Great service as always, excellent food, personable servers, and just a great dining experience.  Well thought out prixe fixe menu with several creative choices for appetizers, soup or salad, entree (I had the giant tiger prawns..ohhhh sooo yummy...while the others in our party opted for a steak or lamb) and dessert........Just a wonderful way to spend New Years with good friends and food.......accompanied with a bottle of Harlan Estates:
2001 Harlan - The Maiden 
Subtle and sexy......a wonderful nose of chocolate, and berries.....smooth and seductive, this case the picture (above) is worth 1000 words to describe this delectable treat.  Teasing, changing, sexy, sophisticated....Thank you Brad and MB for sharing this gem for New Year.

Finishing The Maiden....we then moved on to Epoch's 2008 Block B Syrah!  DARK...with a nose that hits you in the face.  THIS was the 4th of July---fireworks in your mouth. Nothing subtle here.....dark fruits, blackberry, spicy, a major fruit bomb (or maybe just an explosion of firecrackers) going off in your mouth... Chewy---almost a small sensual earthquake taking place......again...with a finish that just didn't want to quit.

2008 Epoch - Syrah Block B

Two exceptional and exceptionally different wines.  The only thing making it better was the company.

A perfect New Years Eve to usher in 2012.  Food, wine, friends, laughter......
and then, waking up January 1st to a beautiful Southern California Sunny Day....

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!  Wishing you good health, wine and your heart's desires....

don and lynn and friends