Wine of the Week; 2011 JC Cellars Dusi Vineyard Zinfandel

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine of the Week is the 2011 JC Cellars Isabel Dusi Vineyard Zinfandel.

The Winery

JC Cellars (“JCC”) is an award-winning urban winery located in Oakland, CA.  Jeff Cohn is the winemaker and president. His wife Alexandra Cohn is the CFO. The winery was founded in 1997.

JCC is best known for their single vineyard Zinfandels, and Rhone blends. Their impressive portfolio of wines includes white and red Rhône blends, Syrah, Petite Sirah, a few other “red blends” (most notably, the Imposter and Smoke and Mirrors) Pinot Noir, a Rosé, a newly release single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, and a dessert wine. Annual production is about 5000 cases.

Jeff has access to some prime fruit, including renowned vineyards such as Rockpile in Sonoma, Stagecoach in Napa, and Dusi in Paso Robles. And Jeff certainly knows how to make great fruit into great wine. JCC has earned boatloads of 90+ point wines from major wine publications like Wine Spectator, and the Wine Advocate.

I think it’s fair to say Jeff likes to “tinker”, or as the JC Cellars website put it… Jeff fuses his passion for classic French winemaking with New World innovation”He released his first Pinot Noir last summer, and sells a Viognier that is a collaboration with a French winery –  Domaine François Villard of Condrieu.  As if his gig at JC Cellars/Jeff Cohn Wines weren’t enough, Jeff is also a consulting winemaker.

The Wine

The fruit for this wine is sourced from the Isable Dusi Vineyard in Paso Robles.  Here’s what Jeff says about the vineyard…..

The Isabel Dusi Vineyard sits along Highway 101 in Paso’s Templeton Gap – which means that is gets some cooling influence from the Pacific.  The vines here are 60 to 80 years old, dry farmed, the zin interrupted by an occasional vine of carignane.

Retail – $35; Alcohol – 15.5%; Drink now to 2019.

Wine of the Week; 2011 JC Cellars Isabel Dusi Vineyard Zinfandel

My tasting notes follow:

Garnet color with pleasing blackberry, black cherry, pepper, bramble, spice and a hint of smoke aromas. On the palate, it’s medium bodied, focused,  and well structured, with silky texture, supple well-integrated tannins and blackberry, black cherry, a bit of raspberry, and spice flavor with a delicious long finish. 

Rating: A-: This is an excellent example of how elegant Zinfandel can be!

Pair with:  Smoked baby back ribs!  But don’t stop there…try with smoked or barbecued chicken, Asian mahi mahi

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week: 2009 Justin Vineyards & Winery Justification

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2009 Justin Vineyards & Winery Justification.

The Winery

Justin Winery is a family owned and operated winery making estate grown and produced wines. The property was founded in 1981 by Justin Baldwin when he planted the 160 acre property to the major Bordeaux varietals and created their Estate vineyard.

It was probably the first true “destination” winery in Paso.  Besides the winery there is the JUST Inn B&B, and Restaurant on site.

The winery is located in the Paso Robles appellation of California’s Central Coast. The region’s first grapes were planted in 1779 by Franciscan missionaries and today are home to the third highest concentration of wineries in the United States

The Wine

I picked up this wine during a trip to Paso Robles a couple of years ago.  Blend of 67% Cab Franc, and 23% Merlot. Aged for 16 months in 100% French Oak Barrels (45% New French oak). 14.9% alcohol.

2009 Justin Vineyards & Winery Justification

2009 Justin Vineyards & Winery Justification

My tasting notes follow:

Garnet color with dark cherry, mixed berry, and a hint of spiced cassis aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, fruit forward and supple with well-integrated tannins, and dark cherry, blueberry, tobacco and vanilla flavors. Medium-long finish.  To find this wine, click here.

Rating: A-: Love this wine.  Wish I had more!

Pair with: Moussaka, Vegetarian Lasagna, or Veal Chops with Portobello Mushrooms.

Sample purchased for review

Related posts you might enjoy:

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

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“No Reservations” Wine Tasting in Paso Robles – Tablas Creek Vineyards

My wife and I do more than our fair share of wine tasting.  We’ve hit all the major wine regions in California (and a few minor ones too;-), along with some tasting in Oregon and Spain.  From time to time we have a wine tasting experience that stands above the rest, and is everything we’re looking for – great wine and commendable service in a relaxed unpretentious environment. It’s those such experiences that are the focus of this “No Reservations” series.  Why “No Reservations”? Because I can honesty say I have “No Reservations”  about recommending the winery anyone who is looking for a great wine tasting experience.  The latest in this series features Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles.

My complete review of Tablas Creek Vineyard, including history, a recap of the tasting experience – including reviews of wines tasted may be found at the American Winery Guide’s website.

Founded by the Perrins (Chateau de Beaucastel) and importer Robert Haas, Tablas Creek produces estate-grown, internationally recognized Rhone varietals and Chateauneuf-du-Pape style blends from grapes including Syrah, Mourvedre, Viognier and Roussanne.

Tablas Creek Vineyard Tasting Room

Tablas Creek Vineyard Tasting Room

Tablas Creek is operated in much the same way as Chateau de Beaucastel, with a certified organic vineyard, an emphasis on wines of elegance and minerality, and an ongoing spirit of experimentation. However, for all its reliance on the expertise and experience of the French vineyard, Tablas Creek Vineyard is not trying to be a clone of its older cousin. According to Winemaker Neil Collins, “when people taste Beaucastel, they know it’s Beaucastel. I would hope that people will taste Tablas Creek and know it’s Tablas Creek.”

Tablas Creek Vineyard Sign Haas and the Perrins knew the Rhone varietals they wanted to focus on: Mourvedre, Syrah, Grenache and Counoise for reds, and Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier and Grenache Blanc for whites. However, they felt uneasy about the quality of Rhone grapevine stock available domestically and decided to import fresh cuttings of all eight varietals from Chateau de Beaucastel. The cuttings spent three years in a rigorous U.S.D.A. quarantine program before being released to the property in 1993. Over the next decade, Tablas Creek’s grapevine nursery (the only on-site vine nursery of any vineyard in California) would provide millions of cuttings of high-quality Rhone varietals to Tablas Creek, and, eventually, hundreds of other producers around the West Coast.

Tablas Creek Domaine de Beaucastel

My wife and I have been making an annual trip from our home in Northern California to the Central Coast for the last 4 years, and Tablas Creek is at the top of our list for wineries to visit.  Highly Recommended!

Related posts you might enjoy:
__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week; 2009 Tablas Creek Roussanne

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine of the Week is the 2009 Tablas Creek Roussanne.

The Winery

Tablas Creek Vineyard (“TCV”) is probably the best-known of all Paso Robles wineries specializing in Rhone style wines.  It is a partnership between Robert Haas, and the Perrin Family of Chateau de Beaucastel in the Chateauneuf du Pape region in FranceWhat I find interesting about TCV is that they specifically chose to establish themselves in Paso Robles because of the similarities of the soil conditions and climate of Paso Robles to Chateauneuf du Pape.  They went as far as to import vines from Chateauneuf du Pape.  The vines were propagated and grafted in their on-site nursery and used to plant their 120 acre organic vineyard.  Check the full story here.

The Wine

So you’ve never heard of Roussanne?  Most casual wine drinkers have not.  It’s a white Rhône grape variety that gets its name from its from the French word “roux”, which means russet, and is a fitting description of its reddish-gold skins at harvest time.

It’s a tough grape to grow.  It’s prone to uneven ripening, irregular yields, has little resistance to powdery mildew and rot, and is easily damaged by wind and drought. By selecting and propagating only the least problematic clones, vintners preserved Roussanne for two primary reasons: unique aroma and bracing acidity.

It’s most often blended with the other primary white Rhône grape variety Marsanne.  In fact, it’s more so used as a blending grape than a varietal bottling such as this wine.

Typical aromas and flavors suggest honey, floral, herbal tea, and stone fruit.

Here’s what Tablas Creek says about production of this wine..The Roussanne grapes were whole cluster pressed, and fermented using native yeasts half in stainless steel and half in small French oak barrels. The wine was left on its lees for 6 months, and allowed to complete malolactic fermentation. After fermentation the wines were blended, and bottled in August 2010.

Tablas Creek has done a varietal bottling of Roussanne since 2002.

09_Roussanne

My tasting notes follow:

Rich yellow golden color with pear, honeysuckle, mineral, and a bit of lanolin aromas. On the palate it’s very smooth, and harmonious with pear, nectarine, mineral and a spice undertone with lingering finish

Rating: A-: Wonderful wine! We picked up a couple of bottles on our most recent trip to Paso Robles. This one was so good it didn’t make it home! 

Pair with: We enjoyed pairing this with seafood pasta with a cream sauce.  It will also pair well with other rich seafood such as lobster, crab, sea bass or salmon. I also bet it would pair well with my seafood gumbo!

Sample purchased for review
Ratings Key:
(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

Drink Pink! Rosé of the Week; 2012 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Rosé

It’s that time of year… Yes, it’s Rosé season!. With that in mind, I’ve embarked upon a   series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  This week’s Rosé is the 2012 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Rosé.

The Winery

Tablas Creek Vineyard (“TCV”) is probably the best-known of all Paso Robles wineries specializing in Rhone style wines.  It is a partnership between Robert Haas, and the Perrin Family of Chateau de Beaucastel in the Chateauneuf du Pape region in FranceWhat I find interesting about TCV is that they specifically chose to establish themselves in Paso Robles because of the similarities of the soil conditions and climate of Paso Robles to Chateauneuf du Pape.  They went as far as to import vines from Chateauneuf du Pape.  The vines were propagated and grafted in their on-site nursery and used to plant their 120 acre organic vineyard.  Check the full story here.

 The Wine

Tablas Creek (“TCV”) is no newcomer to Rosé.  Unlike many relative newcomers who have hopped aboard the dry Rosé bandwagon as of late, TCV has been producing a Rosé since 1999. And that’s no surprise given their association with Chateau de Beaucastel in the Southern Rhone region in France.

Like most rosé wines from the Rhône Valley, it is based on the bright strawberry fruit and fresh acidity of Grenache, with additions of darker fruit, structure and spice from Mourvèdre and Counoise.

What is new for 2012 is that TCV decided to produce two Rosés.  This bottling was added to their excellent value-oriented Patelin de Tablas line, which also also includes the Patelin de Tablas Blanc, based on Grenache Blanc, and Patelin de Tablas, based on Syrah.

The other Rosé is 2012 Dianthus.  While this Rosé is dominated by Grenache, the Dianthus is dominated by Mourvedre.  I’m looking forward to giving that one a try too!

Drink Pink...2012 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Rosé

2012 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Rosé

My tasting notes follow:

Copper pink color with enticing strawberry, stone-fruit,and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied, and fresh. It’s dry on entry, but closer to off-dry on the back palate with strawberry, watermelon, spice and mineral flavors. Medium + finish. Blend of 75% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 5% Counoise. 14% Alcohol | $20 SRP| 1250 cases produced

Rating:  B+

This is a charming Rosé that is incredibly flexible partner at the table.  Unlike many Rosés, which are great with salads or lighter fare, this one can stand up to heartier fare. TCV recommends it with Crisp Crab Risotto.  Sounds like a winner to me!

Sample purchased for review 

Related posts:

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff!  Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week; 2009 Tablas Creek Vineyard Grenache

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2009 Tablas Creek Vineyard Grenache.

The Winery

Tablas Creek Vineyard (“TCV”) is probably the best-known of all Paso Robles wineries specializing in Rhone style wines.  It is a partnership between Robert Haas, and Chateau de Beaucastel in the Chateauneuf du Pape region in FranceWhat I find interesting about TCV is that they specifically chose to establish themselves in Paso Robles because of the similarities of the soil conditions and climate of Paso Robles to Chateauneuf du Pape.  They went as far as to import vines from Chateauneuf du Pape.  The vines were propagated and grafted in their on-site nursery and used to plant their 120 acre organic vineyard.  Check the full story here.

The Wine

The 2009 vintage was the fourth varietal bottling for Tablas Creek.  The fruit for this wine come from Tablas Creek’s 120 acre organic vineyard.  2009 was a challenging year due not only to drought, but also to an April frost.  As a result yields were down. Ah…but tough times for grapes, means more concentrated fruit.  According to TCV…

The low yields and gradual ripening resulted in wines with an appealing lushness, rich texture and wonderful chalky tannins.

The grapes were fermented in stainless steel tanks with native yeasts.

2009 Tablas Creek Vineyard Grenache

2009 Tablas Creek Vineyard Grenache

My tasting notes follow:

Medium garnet color with red fruit, spice and slight smoked meat aromas. On the palate, it’s medium bodied, with nicely integrated tannins, and is fresh and focused with cherry, spice, and mineral flavors. Medium-long finish – 91pts

Rating: Highly Recommended

Pair with: Braises and stews made with beef, pork, or lamb, or a grilled steak. On the poultry front; try with roast turkey, or gamier fowl such as pheasant. A personal favorite is pairing it with Paella.  It’s also is a good match for Cheddar, Fontina, or Gouda, or Jarlsberg cheeses.

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 14.5% alcohol.
  • Closure: Cork
  • AVA: > CaliforniaCentral CoastPaso Robles
  • Grape Varieties: 100% Grenache
  • Cooperage: Aged in 1,200-gallon foudre
  • Retail: $40
  • Cases produced: 600
  • Drink: now – 2020

This above wine was purchased for review

 

Wine Of The Week: 2007 Stage Left Cellars Syrah

My Wine Of The Week for October 6 - October 12 is the 2007 Stage Left Cellars Syrah. 

The Winery

Stage Left Cellars is an urban winery located in Oakland, California not too far from Jack London Square. By urban winery I mean their winemaking facilities are located in an urban setting, rather than in a rural setting near the vineyard.

The winery is owned and operated by Melinda Doty. Her husband, Rich Williams is the winemaker.   Melinda and Rich both had corporate gigs before they decided to exit “Stage Left” and pursue their dream of opening a winery.  Like so many winemakers, they were making wine in their garage before taking the plunge into commercial winemaking.  Their first commercial effort was the 2004 “Day Job” a blend of Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Mourvèdre.

Need a bit of inspiration? Check out the tagline that is etched on their bottles…

“What is the one idea you just cannot shake? Do you have the juice to pull it off? If not, why not? You time is now. The world is waiting”

Stage Left is focused primarily on Rhone varietals and Rhone blends.  In addition to this wine, they produce a Viognier, a Viognier/Roussanne blend, a white Rhone blend composed of Viognier/Grenache Blanc/Roussanne (it’s called the “Go Getter; I tasted at the Family Winemakers event last month.  It’s an outstanding wine, I rated it 90pts), Grenache, Petite Sirah,  and a nice variety of red blends.  They source their grapes from throughout California and Oregon. Case production is about 1,200/year

Stage Left is open the first Saturday of each month, and by appointment.  The tasting fee is $5.  Most recently, Stage Left was voted the “Best San Fransisco” area winery for 2011 on the ABC 7 “A” List.  I highly recommend visiting.  You’ll enjoy the wine and they’re great hosts!

The Wine

This was a bottle of wine I’ve had for a couple of years.  I’d love to tell you I meant to do that, but the truth is, I simply  overlooked my stash of Stage Left wines.  I still have a few bottles.  I won’t repeat that mistake with my remaining bottles of Stage Left!

The grapes for this wine were sourced from four different Central Coast vineyards;  Watch Hill Vineyard (Los Alamos – Santa Barbara County, McGinley Vineyard (Happy Canyon – Santa Ynez), Fralich Vineyard (Templeton Gap – Paso Robles) and Rancho Encino (westside Paso).  According to Stage Left…
Each vineyard adds a different element but it seems the westside Paso fruit really shows off with the black pepper on the nose and on the palate. Great acidity – really balanced – and lovely with food. This wine is drinking well now but we expect this to be fantastic in 3-5 years.
The wine was fermented with a combination of native and commercial yeasts.

2007 Stage Left Cellars Syrah

As good fortune would have it, the fact I held on to this bottle was fortuitous.  The wine is drinking beautifully now.  It’s got great balance and is definitely food friendly!

My tasting notes follow:

Nearly opaque black red color with beguiling aromas that changed as the wine opened up. I picked up roasted meat, dark fruits, and green olive notes, On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, smooth and fresh, with velvety tannins and black raspberry, blackberry, and spiced vanilla flavors. Medium long finish. 14.4% alcohol. – 91pts

Highly recommended!

The Wine Geek Stuff:

Alcohol: 14.4% alcohol.

Closure: Cork.

AVA: > CaliforniaCentral CoastPaso Robles

Varietal(s): 100% Syrah

Cooperage: 20 months in French and Hungarian Oak (25% new)

Retail: $28

Cases produced: 195

Related posts you might enjoy:

 

 

Wine of the Week: 2007 Edward Sellers Vineyards and Wines Cognito

My Wine Of The Week for September 20-October 5 is the 2007 Edward Sellers Vineyards and Wines Cognito.

The Winery

Edward Sellers Vineyards and Wines is an eponymous artisan winery producing small lots of  Rhone varietal wines, from their 30-acre vineyard in Paso Robles. Ed, who is an entrepreneur, sailor, and pilot, and his wife “discovered” Paso Robles in 2003, and instantly fell in love with the place.

I was introduced to Edward Sellers in 2010 when I attended the annual California Wine Festival in Santa Barbara.  Ed was pouring his wines at the Friday night “Sunset Rare And Reserve Wine Tasting”. I distinctly remember his wines standing head and shoulders above the rest that evening.  We made it a point to drop in his tasting room, which at the time was in downtown Paso, on our way back to the Bay Area.  That’s when I purchased a couple of bottles of this wine (and a few others).   Last year, after attending the same wine festival, again we made it a point to drop in at his tasting room off  West Highway 46.

Paso Robles has made a name for itself, especially for Rhône varietals.   According to edwardsellers.com:

It is Paso Robles’s climate, soils and vineyard diversity that makes Paso Robles ideally suited for growing the Rhône varieties of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Counoise, Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier and Grenache Blanc.

The Wine

This is wine a blend of

 

2007 Edward Sellers Cognito

 

My tasting note follow:

Nearly opaque violet color with aromatic briary, liquered mixed berry and white pepper aromas. On palate, it’s full-bodied, fruity, intense, with a smooth mouthfeel, good acidity and ripe mixed berry, black cherry, black currant flavors. Med long finish. 40% Mourvèdre/25% Zinfandel/19% Syrah/16% Grenache. 14.3% alcohol. Production 640 cases

 

The Wine Geek Stuff:

Alcohol: 14.6% alcohol.

Closure: Cork.

AVA: > CaliforniaCentral CoastPaso Robles

Varietal(s): 40% Mourvèdre, 25% Zinfandel, 20% Syrah, 15% Grenache

Cooperage: 18 months in 100% Neutral French Oak

Retail: $30

Cases produced: 640

Related posts your may enjoy:

Paso Robles Redux-Central Coast Wine Touring-Day 3

After a great couple of days of wine tasting, first in Paso Robles on Friday, then the Lompoc Wine Ghetto on Saturday, we still hadn’t had our fill of the marvelous Central Coast Wine Region.  Since we were staying in Paso Robles, we decided to do some more tasting there before heading home.

Our first stop was a combination of a farm and two wineries…

It was a beautiful day before we gotta wine tasting we strolled about the magnificent grounds of the wineries/farm…

Including bucolic picnic area…

Farm animals…

Even a bit of outdoor art…

We decided to hit Kenneth Volk Vineyards first… 

Address: 2485 Highway 46 West, Paso Robles, CA
Phone: (805) 237.7896
Open Hours: Daily 10:30a-5p
Tasting Fee: $10 for 6 wines (includes glass)
Food Available: No
Picnic Area: Yes

Kenneth Volk is the owner/winemaker for Kenneth Volk Vineyards (“KVV”).  Ken has a long history of winemaking in the Santa Maria Valley.  In fact, the Paso Robles tasting room is a satellite  to their main tasting room, which is located in Santa Maria.  Ken’s claim to fame prior to this eponymous winery was establishing the Wild Horse winery in 1981, just 6 years after graduating from high school. He owned and operated that winery for 22 years taking it from case production of 600 to 150,000.  He sold the winery to Peak Wines International.  In 2004, Ken purchased the “Original” Byron Winery facility from the Robert Mondavi Corporation and renamed the property Kenneth Volk Vineyards. The first wines were released in 2006.

They have an extensive tasting menu.  There were six white wines, and ten red wines available for tasting. The wines were priced between $12-$48.  Here’s what I tasted:

  • 2007 RGV, Paso Robles
  • 2008 Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Cuvee
  • 2009 Blaufrankisch, Pomar Junction
  • 2009 Grenache, Rio San Benito
  • 2009 Negrette, Calleri Vineyard
  • 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Starr Ranch

My favorite was the 2008 Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Cuvee, which I scored 90 pts.  What I appreciated about the tasting was the diversity of grape varietals available, including Malvasia Blanca, Negrette, Touriga Nacional, and Blaufrankisch.  All the wines were very good.  I ended up purchasing a bottle of the Touriga Nacional (not available for tasting that day – but I want to try the varietal on a stand-alone basis - why not, I enjoyed all the wines I tasted!)

My two cents? – Recommended, especially if  you’re looking to try a new wine or two.

Then stepped next door to Lone Madrone:

Address: 2485 Highway 46 West, Paso Robles, CA
Phone: (805) 238.0845
Open Hours: Daily 10:30a-5p
Tasting Fee: $10 (waived if your purchase 3 bottles)
Food Available: No
Picnic Area: Yes

 

Lone Madrone is located in Paso Robles.  It was founded in 1996. It co-located with Kenneth Volk Vineyards, and the oh so cool Fat Cat Farms where they been growing organic herbs for 20 years (they have over 30 kinds of basil).

I discovered Lone Madrone while at Tablas Creek, a couple of days before.  I asked for recommendations for other wineries in the area.  Our tasting room attendant recommended Lone Madrone, and told us it was owned by Neil Collins, the wine maker at Tablas Creek.  The way she put it is that Neil can make wines at Lone Madrone he can’t make at Tablas Creek.  Since Tablas Creek is one of my favorite wineries I decided to stop by on the last day of our Central Coast wine tasting trip.

Here’s a bit Neil’s of bio from the Lone Madrone website…

Neil has been working in the wine industry for 21 years, spending time at Wild Horse Winery and then Adelaida where he became winemaker alongside the notorious Mr. Munch. In 1997 he moved his family to the vineyards of Chateauneuf-du-pape in southern France where he spent a year learning the cellars and vineyards of the famed Chateau de Beaucastel, one of the oldest and most highly regarded estates in France. Neil returned to Paso Robles to take up the new role of winemaker and vineyard manager at Tablas Creek Vineyards, the California property of Château de Beaucastel. Since that time, great success has been achieved by Tablas Creek, success in which Neil’s hand has been significant. Neil’s experience in French winemaking complemented his earlier training as a French chef in hometown of Bristol, England.

Production is about 3,000 cases annually.

Wines were priced The wines are priced from $20-$54.  Here’s what we tasted:

  • 2009 La Mezcla (Grenache Blanc & Albariño)
  • 2009 Points West White (Roussanne, Viognier, Picpoul Blanc, and Marsanne)
  • 2011 Zin of Steel
  • 2009 Points West Red (Mourvèdre & Syrah)
  • 2008 Old Hat (Zinfandel & Petite Sirah)
  • 2008 The Will (Petite Sirah, Grenache Noir, & Zinfandel)
  • 2008 Tannat 

My favorite was the 2008 The Will, which I scored 91 pts.  All the wines were very good to outstanding. Lone Madrone was my Winery of the Day~

My two cents? – HighlyRecommended, especially if  you enjoy eclectic wines!

After our first round of wine tasting, we decided it was time to have some lunch.  We were in the mood for some BBQ!  We decided to give RB Smokin’ BBQ a try.  It was a good call!  Nice joint, clean, good service, and the BBQ was bangin”

We had the family sampler…here’s the “Before” pic…um…no “After” pic…nuthing left but bones and balled up finger-lickin’ good BBQ sauced stained napkins!

After lunch it was on to the next winery Clayhouse 

Address: 849 13th Street, Paso Robles, CA
Phone: (805) 238-7055
Open Hours: Sun – Thu 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Fri – Sat 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Tasting Fee: $5, waived with any wine purchase
Food Available: No
Picnic Area: No

Where these young ladies helped us…

Rick Middleton is the proprietor of Clayhouse wines. He is part of a family that has been in agriculture related business in Washington State and California for four generations. Clayhouse is named for a historic adobe – a clay house – on their estate Red Cedar vineyard property.

I came to know about Clayhouse a couple of years ago when I tasted their wines at Dark And Delicious, the best Petite Sirah event of the year.  I loved their wines.  What stood out for me was how smooth the wines were. So I was curious to see if their other wines were as tasty.

Their wines are organized into three tiers:

  1. Estate Series – wine produced from their best estate vineyard blocks at Red Cedar
  2. Vineyard Series - wines are blended for vintage to vintage consistency from throughout Red Cedar
  3. Adobe series wines combine Red Cedar and fruit from other Central Coast vineyards

Here’s what we tasted:

  • 2010 Estate Grenache Blanc
  • 2010 Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2009 Syrah
  • 2009 Estate “Old Vines” Petite Sirah
  • 2008 Estate “Show Pony” Petite Sirah

My favorite was the 2008 Estate “Show Pony” Petite Sirah, which I scored 89 pts.  While I enjoyed the other wines, the Petite Sirahs really stood out for me here

My two cents? – Recommended, especially if Petite Sirah your thing!

Alas, we needed to head home after the three wineries to get home at a decent hour.  It was a fantastic three-day trip to the Central Coast.  The Central Coast is rapidly becoming one of our favorite wine tasting destinations.  The wines are great, it’s less crowded than Napa, and you won’t find friendlier (or more knowledgeable  folks working in the tasting rooms.  We’re already planning  for our trip next year!

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Wine Of The Week: 2009 Lone Madrone Points West White

The 2009 Lone Madrone Points West White is my Wine of the Week (“WoW”) for August 26th-August 31st.

Lone Madrone Winery

The Winery

Lone Madrone is located in Paso Robles.  It was founded in 1996. It co-located with Kenneth Volk Vineyards, and the oh so cool Fat Cat Farms where they been growing organic herbs for 20 years (they have over 30 kinds of basil).  All that goodness make for a great stop if you’re in Paso, though Lone Madrone was the star of the show for me.

I discovered Lone Madrone earlier this year.  While at Tablas Creek, I asked for recommendations for other wineries in the area.  Our tasting room attendant recommended Lone Madrone, and told us it was owned by Neil Collins, the wine maker at Tablas Creek.  The way she put it is that Neil can make wines at Lone Madrone he can’t make at Tablas Creek.  Since Tablas Creek is one of my favorite wineries I decided to stop by on the last day of our Central Coast wine tasting trip.  I was impressed by the winery and the wines (we purchased a half-case).  I highly recommend the winery…especially if Rhône blends are your thing!

Here’s a bit Neil’s of bio from the Lone Madrone website…

Neil has been working in the wine industry for 21 years, spending time at Wild Horse Winery and then Adelaida where he became winemaker alongside the notorious Mr. Munch. In 1997 he moved his family to the vineyards of Chateauneuf-du-pape in southern France where he spent a year learning the cellars and vineyards of the famed Chateau de Beaucastel, one of the oldest and most highly regarded estates in France. Neil returned to Paso Robles to take up the new role of winemaker and vineyard manager at Tablas Creek Vineyards, the California property of Château de Beaucastel. Since that time, great success has been achieved by Tablas Creek, success in which Neil’s hand has been significant. Neil’s experience in French winemaking complemented his earlier training as a French chef in hometown of Bristol, England.

Lone Madrone definitely does some interesting wines.  For example, they produce a Grenache Blanc/Albariño blend called “La Mezcla”, a stainless-fermented Zinfandel built to be served chilled, a Tannat, a couple of Italian varietals – Nebbiolo, and Barbera, and wine that needs a better name, “Barfandel” – a blend of Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Barbera. They make cider too!

The Wine

The 2009 Lone Madrone Points West White is a blend of the four of the five white Rhône varietals Roussanne, Viognier, Marsanne, and Picpoul Blanc (For a great description of the principal white Rhone varietals by clicking here).  The combination of Roussanne, Viognier, and Marsanne isn’t that unusual for a white Rhone blend, but in my experience, adding Picpoul Blanc to the blend is.  And it added a bracing acidity to this wine that makes balances out the fruit, and makes this a very food friendly wine.

Lone Madrone Points West White

2009 Lone Madrone Points West White

My tasting note follows:

Golden yellow color with aromatic stone-fruit, honey, floral and mineral aromas. On the palate its rich, full-bodied fairly viscous with ripe white peach, honey, melon and slight mineral flavors that are underscored by nervy acidity. Medium+ finish.  

Recommendation: This was a very good wine.  It would be a great match with spicy Indo-Paki, or Asian Cuisine, or seafood.  I enjoyed with steamed Mussels and a Spinach Salad.

Details: 

Alcohol: 15.4%

Closure: Cork

AVA:  > CaliforniaCentral CoastPaso Robles

Varietal(s): 42% Roussanne, 27% Viognier, 22% Picpoul Blanc, 9% Marsanne

Production: Unknown

Suggested Retail: $30 USD