Posts belonging to Category Paso Robles



Fada Day, Birthday, Playboy Jazz, July 4th!! Must be SUMMER.

who_yo_fadaWEBSummer just gets started and THEN… it just bombs forward with special days and celebrations. So many corks get pulled it takes concentration to keep up with the luxuriously warm evenings. No wonder Dotoré loses his mind. The water in SoCal is a delicious 70 degrees. Someone said it’s the precursor to an El Niño Winter. Yellow Tail running off Newport Beach and Great Whites are biting… poles and people. So we drink wine and hang with our homies. Here is what we been tasting.

vergano-vermouth-frontCROPWVergano Vermouth Bianco NV 500ML $43: LA Times wine tout SIrene V. wrote a blurb on Vermouths. As usual she’s a day late and a dollar short! The venerable critic covered domestic vermouths. For data more substantive try Goldun’s own prose: “Vermouth is the only fortified and aromatized wine with a precise historical origin. It was first concocted 1786 in Turin by Benedetto Carpano. Since then the Vermouth has become one of the most famous drinks in the world both as aperitif or as an ingredient in cocktails. Its name derives from the German word “Vermuth” which means Absinthe, one of its main components.” Absinthe? If you must have more info try here. A pot store opened behind tBoW’s favorite Mexican food palace. Back to SIrene V. We would bet dinner at Faith & Flower the real Vermouth wiener is this Piemonte effort. Who knew vermouth was an aperitif and not something to avoid in your ultra dry Martini. This Vergano drink brought to us by Eno Fine Wine is just perfect anytime anywhere. Some anise. Some Tonic. What balance. Over cubes. Dangerously delicious. 16%

Rami-09WEBAzienda Agrocola COS Rami 12.5%: Orange wine from Sicily. This is really terrific wine. Southern Italy kicks booty one more time. This would work in Fall as well as Summer. Lovely orange color [ed. Goldun tells why, no? Si.] with delicate spicy flavor, acidic, ripe fruit but NOT citric. More like kiwi-lite. Even better next evening. We panned the COS red last week as too zin-like for tBoW’s palate. This shit is so good we want more. 12%

TC-CT-2011WEB2011 Tablas Creek Cote de Tablas Blanc $24 (Fine Wine House): You MUST decant the reds if you MUST drink them. You should wait! Not one is at full potential even at 10 years. They need 15 or more. However, DO NOT FORGET THE WHITES from this top Paso estate. Creamy and lean at the same time. Light oak (we think). Almost one quarter each Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Rousanne and Marsanne. The contribution from each varietal is distinct and harmonious. The secret is out. Sit on the reds and drink the whites without hesitation or shame. A bravo for the 13.1% alcohol level.

As a great man once said “Keep the party hat on!” That would be Mungo Jerry’s lil’ bra’… the ole BeeDee.

Hustling round Atlanta in his alligator shoes….

Local3-AtlantaWEBAtlanta is a cool town. It helps having a guide who knows wine and spent the past two years circling Decatur, Buckhead, Druid Hills and 5 Points. The dining is fine (Local Three pictured above) and the living is easy. Eric Brown’s Le Caveau is a cool wine store with the best wine selection in the city. The Brick Store in Decatur has a hundred thousand beers in their cellar.

Would you like to learn more?

Butt first… LA has a superb new restaurant in Faith and Flower one block from the Original Pantry on 9th Street in the ground floor of the Watermark Tower. FnFWEBVery cool vibe with murals by street artist Robert Vargas adorning the walls and tres hip style. Orel Hershiser eats oysters there…but not Donald Sterling. Mrs. tBoW had a birthday dinner to die for. Cockteles prepared by a mixologist with cred that shows in his beverages. Dinner begins at the bar. Once seated and having ordered, the food arrives in grand plates set in the table center so that the tres hip setting may convert to family style dining. Chef Micheal Hung spins out plate after plate of foods – spicy deviled eggs, oxtail agnolotti and seared branzino; each fixation complementing the one to follow. Wine service is cheerfully attentive. Our wine was decanted in a vintage Riedel vessel we had never seen. I mean… when have we ever been impressed with the decanter?! No need to wait for a trip to NoCal for a memorable dining experience. We shall return.

2007 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel $45 (at the winery): We brought it in. Stunning somm Bahara put it right into the stunning decanter. Took a couple hours to open up. TC wines need time as is often the case with certain great wines. Toasty, brawny, with elegantly refined Mourvedre character. 14.5%

Back to Atlanta. We hit several dining spots guided by the Senior Young’Un. Here is some of what we enjoyed… and learned. Would you like to learn more?

dornferlderCROPWEB2010 Dornfelder Dry Reichsrat von Buhl $14: Larchmont Village Wines in LA asks “Must we always be overwhelmed by a wine? Is power and concentration really all it’s cracked up to be? What if we just want elegance, refreshment, drinkability and a certain lightness-of-being?” This is the wine that answers the question. We had it with burgers. Fresh, fruity without being forward. An unusual hybrid only the Bosch could figure. Brilliant. U20 buy. 13%

fine-du-mondeWEBLA Fin Du Monde Belgian Ale $12: BEER! We tasted this and a couple other Belgian ales at the Brick Store Pub in Decatur GA. Beer awakening. Server and beer guide Lee suggested we get serious and abandon the lagers and stouts we were about to order. He seemed quite serious. He suggested a couple of Belgian ales. This was one and… where once we wuz iggerunt, now we understand. Here is more info from a very helpful website for the cognoscenti: Triple style golden ale, Floral bouquet, aromas of honey, spice, coriander, malt, and alcohol at 5.5%. He said these beers are “sour.” Yes. And refreshing, intriguing. More beer reviews to come.

Good as Atlanta is… Charleston is the bomb. Cool as Nawlins and more fun than Savannah. So sez the tBoW travel team! Here are a few dining and drinking highlights.

I-GrecoSavu-RosatoCROPWEBObstinate Daughter on Sullivan’s Island – sleepy teeny coastal town, one of four or five adjacent to Charleston. Wonderful beach town vibe. Something happening here cuisine-wise. Here is the scallop ceviche with jalapeno slices. jalapeno-scallop-cevicheWEBInspiring. We enjoyed a pink 2011 I Greco Savu Rosato from Calabria. The grape is Gaglioppo and we would not have it any other way. The entire wine list is southern Italy. Food and cocktails were superb but most memorable was the cool ocean breeze drifting through the window. Ding ding ding ding! A U20 winner at $19 and 12%!!

foggyridegseriousWEBOn a hot family tip we dined at Husk in downtown Charleston. The Obstinate Daughter is located across the Cooper River on Sullivan’s Island which was the site of the first victory in the Revolutionary War. This place is full of “firsts” like that. Some better than others. Another memorable meal which is a label we do not assign lightly. We have three in this post. While the food was wonderfully prepared and the service was once again friendly and careful, the somm – Matt – started us off with the right step – bubbly. We were poured a glass of Virginia Hard Cider from Foggy Ridge Serious Cider that he claimed would taste like a bone dry champagne. Big claim for apple juice. By now you have figured that he was correct. Remarkable. Where will we find this drink from the Blue Ridge Mountains in Dugspur VA? At 7% this tops any other Moscato or Vinho Verde that would be frequently served in the summertime. At $18 and 7% this is another U20 winner.

Memorial Day Memories: Reds, Whites, the Blues, Paella!!

paella mandala

paella mandala

As summer’s unofficial coming out party, Memorial Day weekend has lots going for it: BBQs, wine dinners, paella spectaculars with pan fried sardines …and plenty of wine loving pals. A few pages ahead on the calendar is the Topanga Art Tour and the Playboy Jazz Fest. Officially, Memorial Day is all about the red white and blue and our fighting forces. For the tBoW tasting team it is mostly about reds and whites while listening to Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughn. With a salute to our veterans we report on the wines put forth by the brave tasters who fight for wines under $20 every day in the bargain bins and floor boxes of liquor and wine stores where the real gems can be found…on sale! As IGTY so aptly explains the struggle …

The IGTY Manifesto: I have to budget for 6 bottles of wine a week. At 4.3 weeks in a month that comes to ~25 bottles and at $20 per, that is a lot more than I am willing to pay. My monthly wine budget is $400 and that means hunting down wines that cost ~$16.

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Napa Trip and Golf Wines

if I drank Cab it would be Regusci

I never drink Cab but if I did it would be Regusci…stay thirsty

It may surprise the reader that Napa and golf attract similar wine hounds. Napa is the Land O’ Cab and many goffers we know do love a big rich Cabernet or Cab blend. tBoW was on assignment for Elegant Living magazine in Napa a few weeks ago; a trip followed by another plunge into hedonistic darkness a couple weeks later in a four day country club tournament. Next stop: the sanitarium.

The Napa trip included a spectacular site on top of Spring Mountain [ed. that would be Barnett Vineyards], a super collectible site also on top of Spring Mountain [ed. that would Pride Mountain Vineyards], a new hot shot R’n’R winery off Silverado Trail [ed. that would be Cliff Lede, look for the magazine], and an oldest of the old guard wineries that is undergoing a much anticipated transformation [ed. that would be Charles Krug]. There were others however I may save for a future post. In the meantime, should you find yourself in Napa I highly recommend a stop at any of the aforementioned.

The Goff Tournament was another matter. If Napa is decadent then the golf tourney is indulgent to a fault. Three days of official competition and one extra day of a warm up round added up to 81 holes in a row. Two days in matching knickers and plus fours. Add to that about 10 stogies and numerous life-giving Bloody Marys (call out your vodka) and you have a floating 12 Step program waiting to happen. It might have ended somewhat poorly if my partner and I had not backed into the Champions Derby by the logo on our balls only to lose by a quarter inch in a chip off. All this goff talk may only make sense to the goffers among tBoW readers.

Stacy Clark

Krug windfall!

What everyone will understand is that we were handed a bundle of cash for reasons we could not comprehend. And we’re going back next year just for aggravation’s sake!

Here is what we learned in Napa…about white wines! Sorry. You already know about the red wines from these houses and if you don’t you can find them written up by adoring Parker/Suckling wannabes everywhere.

Charles Krug Winery is the oldest in the Napa Valley. Peter and Robert Mondavi had the most famous Napa family spat in the last 100 years out of which Robert became world famous and Peter lived in a house on his 150 year old estate making good old Napa Cab that very few people cared about. NOT ANY MORE! The sons (brothers who get along) are building a monster new storage facility with a giant window in the adjacent tasting room where we normals can sip the new Krug blends made by super-winemaker Stacey Clark. While watching the magnificent casks that will probably be stacked 10 high! Stacy Clark was the winemaker at Pine Ridge for 30 years. I think all our readers know that the tBoW tasting team is not wild about Cab blends unless they come from Bolgheri. This does not take anything away from the absolute truth that the best Cabernet is grown in Napa. Stacy Clarke is also a superb winemaker. If this was golf someone would say “nice rescue.” While at Pine Ridge she oversaw their fantastic white wine blend of Chenin Blanc and Viognier. Krug-2011SBWEBAt $14 it was and is a steal. We tasted her first wine for Krug and it shows the same style and pedigree as the super U20 Pine Ridge white.

2012 Charles Krug Sauvignon Blanc $14: Wine made form estate fruit. Floral nose with pears and bright flavors. Super acid spine and tones of pear fruit. The non-alcohol version would be a terrific breakfast drink! The 2011 is still on the shelves at Total Yawn but they are supposed to call me soon as the 2012 arrives. Buy it. 13%

Pride_ViognierCROPWEBPride Mountain Vineyard Mistelle de Viognier $40: Pride probably makes THE BEST VALUE collectible wines in Napa. People just love these red mountain wines. tBoW is not qualified to judge them. However, this white beauty is impressive. It has so much fruit and acid it came off like a dessert wine. But it ain’t. It is a just another crazy ripe mountain white. They make it as free run juice meaning there is no time on the less to get color or tannins. It is not late harvest but you may be fooled into thinking it is. Yummy. 14.1%

Mamie and Monica werkinit!

Mamie and Monica werkinit!

2011 Regusci Mary’s Cuvee Carneros Chardonnay $36 (at the winery not available anywhere else): This is one of our must stop wineries in Napa. The place which is a so-called ghost winery is too cool with all the rock and the 19th century legend over the arch. Te ladies behind the long tasting bar are usually tons o’ fun [ed. Monica and Mamie to the right]. Unlike many counterparts or neighbors Regusci does not make many labels. They make a big Napa Cab of course. Notes say “if I drank Cab it would be Regusci.” They also farm properties for many other labels. Check the website. We did not see this wine coming. Mamie or Monica said “white burgundy” and we thought “sure it is. Every Chard in Napa has Burgundian character.” But this has no malolactic fermentation and spends 5 years in neutral oak. It is Burgundian. Bought it. Now if only they used a different shipper I would be tasting it this Saturday. Only 252 cases. 14.2%

Isosceles08WEB2008 Justin Isosceles Reserve $250: Here is the red wine provided by The Ranch Bishop as our team shot its way into the finals while three-putting and hitting balls OB. We have always recognized Justin makes the ebst Cabernet blend in Paso Robles. In fact, we have openly wondered how they tricked it up to remove the green bell pepper character often found in Paso Cabs. We still don’t know their secret. We do know this wine is delicious. Poured into a plastic cup on a fairway one can still pick up the lovely seductive nose waiting to hit. Balance is perfect, Tannins not in the forefront at 5 years. Whatever tobacco pollution might have overwhelmed a lesser red was handily seduced by this wine. 14.3%

The Napa settings were stupendously spectacular. Justin is in the NW corner of what we consider the loveliest wine country in California. Have a great Memorial Day holiday drinking whatever wine you like.

Carl played by Bill Murray comes up with a good idea about course maintenance.

Summer Time and Summer Wine

JEff_CasanovaWEB2Dotoré can finally exhale. The summer has arrived. Even though the official Summer Equinox is June 21 ’round these parts shit is here already. Temps in 90s, hot tub running, goff any day we like. It is time to pay serious attention to bright whites, cool reds and pink ladies. (more…)