Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Paso Robles Wine Country Tours Los Angeles Redux

On March 2, nearly 40 wineries from Paso Robles converged at Vibiana in Downtown Los Angeles for the Paso Robles Grand Tasting Tour - Los Angeles.  Winemakers poured more than 150 wines, including 40 single-varietal wines and blends for Los Angeles wine enthusiasts and Paso Robles fans.

The former Cathedral of Saint Vibiana, built in 1876, provided the spectacular backdrop for the Los Angeles Grand Tasting.  Winery booths lined the corridors where parishoners waited to enter the confessional booths or sat quietly in the pews during Sunday services.  Today, Vibiana is a premier event location in Downtown Los Angeles catering to posh award events and this afternoon/evening's wine tasting.   

Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance members are hitting the road throughout 2011 as part of the Grand Tasting Tour pouring award-winning wines from one of the most acclaimed wine regions in the country for wine enthusiasts in Scottsdale, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.

During the nearly four hour Trade and Media tasting, I enjoyed some 50 wines from nearly a dozen wineries. In particular, these wineries poured some fantastic wines including single-varietal and blends of Syrah, Grenache, Petite Sirah, Mourvèdre, Zinfandel, Viognier, Grenache Blanc and Roussanne, among other varietals.  Here is a selection of noteworthy wines from the tasting that exhibit complexity, depth, distinctive fruit characteristics and balanced acidity (and not overtly ripe for my palate), as well as price and quality for everyday drinking:

Adelaida Cellars
--2008 Grenache ($32)

Alta Colina Vineyard & Winery
--2008 Toasted Slope: 92% Syrah, 3% Viognier, 3% Mourvèdre, 2% Grenache ($40)
--2008 Old 900: 98% Syrah, 2% Viognier ($48)
--2008 Ann's Block, Petite Sirah ($48)

Ancient Peaks Winery
--2009 Merlot ($16)
--2008 Zinfandel ($16)
--2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ($16)

Anglim Winery
--2007 Mourvèdre, Hastings Ranch ($34)
--2008 Zinfandel, St. Peter of Alcantara ($24)

Austin Hope Winery
--2009 Grenache ($40)
--2009 Syrah ($40)

Caliza Winery
--2009 Sidekick: 65% Roussanne, 35% Viognier ($25)
--2007 Azimuth: 53% Grenache, 35% Syrah, 12% Mourvèdre ($45)

Kenneth Volk Vineyards
--2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmody McKnight Vineyard ($36)

--2006 i.p.o.: 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah, 10% Zinfandel ($24)
--2008 sisu: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre ($TBD)

Tablas Creek Vineyard
--2010 Patelin de Tablas Blanc: 50% Grenache Blanc, 33% Viognier, 10% Roussanne, 7% Marsanne ($20)

Terry Hoage Vineyards
--2009 The Gap: 59% Grenache Blanc, 25% Roussanne, 16% Picpoul Blanc ($38)
--2009 The Pick: 53% Grenache, 26% Syrah, 14% Mourvèdre, 7% Counoise ($48)

Thacher Winery
--2007 Triumvirate, Zinfandel ($36)
--2007 Controlled Chaos: 42% Zinfandel, 37% Mourvèdre, 21% Grenache ($33)
--2007 Syrah ($26)

Alta Colina Vineyard & Winery - Superbly crafted wines!
Steffanie Anglim, Anglim Winery - Delicious wines!
Carl Bowker, Caliza Winery - Drink it, Love it!
The sun is always shining on Sherman Thacher (Thacher Winery)
The Rhone Ranger himself, Jason Haas of Tablas Creek Vineyard
Vibiana, Downtown Los Angeles - Great setting for the Grand Tasting

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wine Is...Paso Robles

Paso Robles Wine Country shined in 2010 with numerous awards and accolades, including Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year to the 2007 Saxum James Berry Vineyard.  In 2011, two wineries in Paso Robles, Thacher Winery and Ecluse Wines, received the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Tasting Competition Sweepstakes award in the red category for the Thacher 2008 Triumvirate Zinfandel and Ecluse 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Lock Vineyard.  These scores and awards highlight the growing interest in the wines coming from this renowned and diverse wine making region in California's Central Coast.

There are dozens of other noteworthy wineries and award winning wines worth seeking out in Paso Robles in 2011.  Fortunately, there is no shortage of events that feature many of these renowned wines.  There is something truly magical about this wine region that you can't experience by simply opening a bottle of wine from one of the local wineries; rather, you have to experience Paso Robles firsthand to understand what wine is. To satisfy your quest for the perfect wine, three phenomenal organizations - Rhône Rangers, Hospice du Rhône and Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance - are planning a handful of memorable wine tasting events for you to experience Paso Robles Wine Country. 

2010 Paso Robles Rhône Rangers Experience

Paso Robles Rhône Rangers Experience
Vina Robles Winery and Event Center
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Seminar and Luncheon 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ($75)
Grand Tasting and Silent Auction 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ($25)

Savor award-winning Rhône varietal wines from 35+ members of the Paso Robles Chapter of the Rhône Rangers at the 2011 Paso Robles Rhône Rangers Experience at Vina Robles Winery and Event Center.  The day's events include:

  • "Rhône Esstential" Seminar - Taste a top example of each of the principal categories of Rhône wines, including Viognier, Roussanne, white Rhône blends, dry Rosé, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Petite Sirah and red Rhône blends.  The panel will be moderated by author and wine writer Patrick Comiskey, senior contributor for Wine & Spirits Magazine.
  • Vintners' Lunch - Seminar participants will be joined by Rhône Rangers principals and winemakers for a gourmet banquet lunch, with members' Rhône wines passing freely around the tables and extended opportunity for interaction with the producers.
  • Grand Tasting - Taste nearly 150 wines from the complete membership of the Paso Robles Rhône Rangers, including top single Rhône varietals and the best in Rhône blends.
  • Silent Auction - During the Grand Tasting, bids on lots donated by Rhône Rangers member wineries and help support the Rhône Rangers scholarship fund.

2010 Paso Robles Zin Tasting

2011 Zinfandel Festival Weekend: March 18-20, 2011
Zin Tasting: March 19, 2011, 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Paso Robles Event Center, 2198 Riverside Drive

If Zin were a sin, we would all be Zinners.  So, why not Zin in Paso Robles with hundreds of other Zinners? During the 19th Annual Paso Robles Zinfandel Weekend, Paso Robles Wine Country celebrates with dozens of weekend festivities at member wineries and the Zin Tasting on March 19th at the Paso Robles Event Center.  Last year's event featured a collection of memorable wines and a savory paella dishes from the Tenth Street Basque Cafe in San Miguel.  

  • ZIP (Zinfully Important Person) Ticket ($85), 6:00 p.m. top 9:30 p.m. -  Zip into the Zin Tasting and Wine Country Auction one hour early to experience true ZIP treatment in a zintimate atmosphere
  • Zin Fan Tasting Ticket ($60), 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

2010 Hospice du Rhône

Hospice du Rhône
April 28-30, 2011
Paso Robles Event Center, 2198 Riverside Ave., Paso Robles

How do you Rhône?  In April, you should plan to Rhône with the finest Rhône producers from California, France and around the world.  If you love Rhône varietals, you must attend the seminars and tastings April 28-30 in Paso Robles.  No event anywhere in the country comes close to the caliber of wineries present at the Paso Robles Event Center.  If there is one event to attend in 2011, Hospice du Rhône is that event!

Rhone 'n Bowl
Date:        Thursday, April 28, 2011
Time:        6:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Cost:         $100 (advance purchase is required)
Location:   Paso Robles Bowl, 2748 Spring Street, Paso Robles
The highly anticipated and always spirited annual bowling tournament at the Paso Bowl in Paso Robles brings out the athlete in all Rhône revelers! (Availability is limited) 

Friday Rosé Lunch
Date:        Friday, April 29, 2011
Time:        12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Cost:         $100 (advance purchase is required) 

Friday Rhône Rendezvous Tasting
Date:        Friday, April 29, 2011
Time:       3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. - Consumer Tasting
Cost:        $100 online / $110 at the door if not sold out
Engage.  Imbibe.  Savor.  An afternoon brimming with Rhône wines of vintages past and reserve wines from worldly Rhône wine producers. While strolling the Tasting Pavilion you will encounter opportunities to test your nose with a sensory exploration, tantalize your taste buds with a food pairing or try your hand at Rhône related trivia.  The 130 Rhône producers will be eagerly awaiting your arrival to share a one-of-a-kind experience created just for the 2011 Rhône Rendezvous.  In addition, artisan food purveyors will be located throughout the tasting and nationally acclaimed chefs will show off their talents in the new demonstration kitchen. 

Date:        Friday, April 29, 2011
Time:        6:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Cost:         $125 (advanced purchase is required)
This collection of flavors in food, wine and entertainment will exude the international essence that HdR embodies year-in and year-out. (Availability is limited. Pass is not included in the Weekend Package) 

Saturday Lunch and Live Auction
Date:        Saturday, April 30, 2011
Time:        12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Cost:         $100 (advance purchase is required) 

Saturday Grand Tasting
Date:         Saturday, April 30, 2011
Time:        3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. - Consumer Tasting
Cost:         $100 online / $110 at the door if not sold out
One of the most comprehensive tastings of Rhône variety wines, this event boasts producers from throughout the world.  To complement the wines poured, artisan food purveyors will be located throughout the venue to share their wares.  In addition to food and wine tables, nationally acclaimed chefs will show off their talents in the new demonstration kitchen. 

Farewell BBQ
Date:        Saturday, April 30, 2011
Time:        6:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Cost:         $100 (advance purchase is required)

Cass Winery, Eastside Paso Robles

Paso Robles Wine Festival Weekend
May 20-21, 2011
Paso Robles Downtown City Park (location of festival events)
Winery Activities: May 20-21 at all member wineries
Reserve Event ($115): May 20, 3:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. (seminar & grand tasting incl.)
Grand Tasting ($45-$65): May 21, 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Wine Country Auction & Dinner ($250): May 21, 6:00 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.

Celebrate Paso Robles Wine Festival Weekend in one of the most picture perfect settings with more than 140 wineries that will be releasing new wines and showcasing their current releases.  While you are at it, set some time aside to tour the vineyards on the Eastside and Westside.  You will never want to leave.

The Paso Robles Wine Festival Grand Tasting on May 21st brings more than 90 wineries to the Downtown City Park to share their favorite wines, while local food purveyors share their wine country cuisine for a truly memorable and unique Paso Robles experience. 

Vines on the Marycrest, Westside Paso Robles

Paso Robles Wine Harvest Weekend
October 15-17, 2011

Join your favorite wineries during the most important time of the year - harvest!  Vineyard managers and winemakers will be working early mornings and late evenings to bring in the ripen grapes and process the fruit for the upcoming vintage.  There is no telling how late they'll go into the harvest season this year, but you are sure to encounter a lot of activity on the road and in the wineries the week of October 15-17 in Paso Robles, including at Vines on the Marycrest where you can find Central Coast Uncorked working alongside winemaker Victor Abascal handcrafting (we mean that literally) the wines you are about to enjoy.  So treat yourself to a wine country getaway during harvest in Paso Robles!

Aside from these events in Paso Robles, the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance and Rhône Rangers bring the show on the road to your neighborhood.  Check their websites for events happening in 2011.