Wednesday, December 18, 2013

OH WHAT A NIGHT! 6 years of Caliza

CalizaVertical Tasting at The Saly's
with Carl Bowker, winemaker

Dana, Carl and Matt
welcome us

It's been a while, what with vacations, holidays and all, to get back to our regular wine group night....and my wine blogging.  Saturday December 14th was 2013's last wine group night of the year....and ALL THE STOPS WERE PULLED OUT....
The table is set


Hosted by Dana and Matt.....this wine night had a bit of a twist from our traditional "brown bag" nights....where each couple brings a wine, and we blind taste a specifically designated varietal or blend, rate the wines and then see what we were drinking...and who the "winner" is.

In the planning for awhile....Dana and Matt provided ALL the wine....for what was to be an incredible VERTICAL TASTING!  The wine was Azimuth....from Carl Bowker's Caliza Vineyards.  NOT ONLY was the wine "from" Carl....CARL BOWKER, Caliza's owner and winemaker made the trip from Paso to join us!  And, he brought with him the soon to be released 2011 Azimuth. What a treat!  a 6 bottle vertical!

Starting with Carl's initial 2006 Azimuth release....followed by 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and a decanted 2011!  What a journey we were in for.

Before getting to the main event however we needed to start with something to tease the pallet, and get the salivary juices flowing, and what better than a white Rhone blend of Marsanne and Roussane from Jada...a delightful 2008 XCV. And once that ran out...a bottle of Anthony Yount's recently released Kinero Chardonnay, another Yount home run.

Sipping and enjoying these two Paso whites we had a nice assortment of cheese, accompanied with home made crab cakes and a savory garden salad of pea greens with lentils, red beets, goat cheese and ground pistachios, and Lynn's hand made potato and mushroom borecas.

 Some cheese
 Borecas...a generational family recipe
"The" Salad!

As we eat and drink, the volume increases, as does the laughter and overall joviality.  During appetizers, Carl is able to tell us his story....his history...Caliza's get us in the mood (not that we needed much help)......for the incredible wine trip we are about to begin.

After an hour of sipping whites, socializing and enjoying the appetizers...its' time to get down to THE MAIN EVENT!  DINNER AND A 6 BOTTLE VERTICAL OF CALIZA'S AZIMUTH!

(Decanter of 2011 not shown)

Lynn, Pamela, Jacquelin (Newest member of our wine group), Dana and Ellen

As the evening progresses...we move from one bottle to another (as we move from one delicious dish to another)...Carl explains each and every bottle....from his first release, all from sourced grapes, up until his first Estate Blend, and beyond.  Each bottle so different from the other.  One is Grenache dominated, another is primarily Syrah, another with Tannant...the blends are enticing...tantalizing...

Paul, Don, Carl, Matt, Mike

What makes Azimuth so intriguing, is how different each bottle and blend is.  The 2006, 51% Syrah, 19% Grenache, 14% Mourvedree, 8% Tannant and 8% Alicante Bouschet to the 2007 dominated by 53% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 12% Mourvedre and so on, each year the blend differs, as does the nose and the taste.
                                                  Yep.....still incredible after all those years!                      

One year drinks soft, sexy, and subtle...the other is like fireworks and the 4th of July...and yet another is just downright Bit**Y! SUCH a good way!  What weaves all the wines together however is their complexity, layers, flavors, scents...and the way they bring out the flavors in the food...and the way the foods bring out the flavors in the wines.
Good food, good wine, good friends

And, speaking of the food!  Gracing our plates was toasted butternut squash and garlic with crispy sage, mini crust less mushroom quiche, truffle mac and cheese and for those who had to have some beef...a perfectly BBQ tri tip.

A perfect plate, paired with perfect wine

Of course, the LAST course was dessert:  Nothing too heavy...home baked gluten free sponge cake shells, drizzled with chocolate wine,  topped with soft vanilla ice cream, adorned with mini French chocolate malt balls surrounded with fresh blackberries and raspberries.

Yummy anyone?

Accompanies with Jacquelin's yummy chocolate/mint cookie and incredible chocolate "thingy."

Believe it or not, as we relax and finish our journey of 6 wines...there is enough to revisit.  I like the 2008, Dana the '07, Jacqueline (our newly initiated wine group member) the '09.  The pallets differ, the tastes differ, the wines differ. What an eclectic evening!

With a special thank you to Carl for his wonderful wines and his making the trip to share Calizas history with us sip by sip, year by year.

And of course, a thank you to our hosts, Dana and Matt...and the rest of our wine group:  Paul and Ellen and Pamela and Mike and Cousin Jacqueline....and Lynn and by association, me also!

Our next wine night will be in late February...but look for a blog before then!  After all as it is said:  So much wine, and so little time!  We will all make the best of our time, to sip fine wine.....with friends.
We ONLY bring fine wines!

Please, feel free to like the blog, share the blog, post the blog, forward the blog, comment on the blog...and I hope most of all, ENJOY the blog!  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

THERE'S A NEW KID IN TOWN!!!! I got the shakes when I realized that we were going FAR, FAR away for a month!  And, not having been to Paso in probably two months....well.....what can I say:
I booked a hotel, packed the bags...and we drove on up their for a quick Paso fix!

Just a day and a half to visit a few friends, make new friends, drink some good wine, eat some good food...and relax in the Pasosphere before our upcoming 4 week marathon.

We were honored to have a tour of the soon to be opened (Late Fall or so) LAW winery, where Lynn and I were graciously treated to an over view of the work in progress by Oliver Esparham and Kathleen Naughton, both of whom I had previously met at a few wine events.  Located atop Peachy Canyon Road their spectacular view will only be overshadowed by their impressive wines.  Initial release happening now!

LAW may be the new kid in town, but they are already being spoken about, written about, raved about---and with wines crafted by Scott Hawley...don't get shot down by not getting any of their initial release. better get on their allocation list NOW.

A picture is worth 1000 words
I'll let the pictures do the talking

Next up was a delightful visit with Ed Sauret of Edmond August Wines:  Now pouring at the Paso Underground!  You can read all about Edmond August Wines along with the other three wineries pouring at The Underground in my article appearing in the SLO Visitor's Guide:  The current Fall edition profiling Aaron Jackson (Aaron Wines) and Don Burns (Turtle Rock/Westberg).  The Winter edition to profile Edmond Sauret (Edmond August Wines) and Guillaume Fabre of Clos Solene.

Who IS than man in the "Got Wine" cap?
with Ed Sauret

Tuesday saw us up on DAOU Mountain.  Kicking back with Daniel for a bit, taking in the incredible views, sipping his savory Bordeaux blends (which are now getting well earned reviews and scores)---proving that PASO not only CAN, but DOES produce top notch Bordeaux wines equal to any others in California.

 On clear CAN see forever!
And, so can he....hunting for a snack?

Meandering down the mountain, trying to steal a few extra minutes....on our way over to the 46, we stopped in to do a little olive oil tasting....


and as we continued West on the 46, of course I had to stop for a hello (and a few more sips) at EPOCH....congratulating both Stephanie and Christina on their recent engagements!

The long drive home had a little detour in the famous:

All hand made, only the ovens are mechanical...
satisfies the most discerning sweet tooth

And was homeward bound.
Our final view in Cayucos...
a perfect Southern California Fall Day

Somehow, a trip to Paso is never too long, always too short, but without question....always perfect!  People, friends, wines, foods, vistas.....maybe one of the things that makes Paso wines so different and special is that not only are these winemakers plying their craft in ways not seen before, but they manage to put the entire Paso experience in each and every bottle.

Cheers to all!

And please, as always, if you like my blog...pass it on to someone else, post it on your website, send me an email and comment! suggestions always welcomed with a glass of wine.

Monday, August 26, 2013


Whew!  SPECIAL THANKS TO XOCHITL....for saving my "bacon" because......I totally missed the FOOD SHOTS from wine night... get your salivary glands better open a good bottle of wine...and sip while you taste a visual tease of the Food of Wine Night.....hand prepared with love by Lynn....**

(with mushroom pate by Ethan, pastry rounds by Ellen and (previously shown) flourless chocolate cake by Jacquelin)!

And THAT my friends....isn't even the half of it!

Bon Appetite!


Saturday, August 24, 2013


Robert Frost got it wrong when he said "Good Fences Make Good Neighbors." What he SHOULD have said was: 

And WHAT a WINE night we had...with our old and new wine friends
Bring a Bottle to Share night
the food, laughter, friendship and wines flowed......
21 people
19 drinking
15 bottles
Follow the pictorial account below


2006 Two Hands Coach House Shiraz   2010 Daou Soul of a Lion  2009 Newton Chardonnay
2007 Saxum Bone Rock  2010 Bevan Kick Ranch Sauvignon Blanc   2010 Viette Nebbiolo Perbacco  2004 Justin Isosceles Reserve   2006 Tablas Creek Tannat  2010 Epoch Ingenuity 
2005 Tor  2005 Patricia Green Volcanic Pinot Noir  2007 Alban Reva  2008 L'Aventure Estate Cuvee  2009 Adome Shai........(and a rare you scroll down).....

(is enough good wine ever enough?)

A 1963 ( read that correctly!--50 years old) Grahams Vintage Porto
(in fact, this wine was OLDER than several of our wine friends)

ALL THOSE GREAT WINES.....being sipped and re-visited all evening long....
along with an incredible spread of cheeses, appetizers, salads, casseroles, etc. etc.
Led to happy faces for all

Even Skylar got into the spirit!

For those of you whose pictures do NOT's not that I didn't TAKE your picture, it's that the photographer didn't seem to be focusing very well!

There had to be just a little dessert....and CHOCOLATE!  OF COURSE!

As all good things must come to an end....the party's over

Special Thanks go to
Lynn:  For preparing and hosting another incredible evening
Kevin of L.A. Cellars...for bringing us together with many new friends
Daniel Daou of Daou Vineyards:  Not only for your friendship and incredible wines, but for introducing us to several new wine friends
and to EVERYONE...for the unbelievable wines you each brought to share
and for your friendship

The Morning After:
Yes....that would be breakfast with Ethan and Rebecca....dinner leftovers!

I hope you have enjoyed the brief pictorial review...PLEASE!
Feel free to email me, post this on FB or your website, forward it to your
wine friends or anyone else you would like
and to make or send your comments!
A Votre Sante!