Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wine Tasting in Paso Robles, November 2010


Linne Calodo - Were only pouring the wines which weren't sold out - Outsider, Screwball and Slacker. Good wines, but didn't excite me for the price.

Eagle Castle - kitschy castle with suits of armor and other castle-ey stuff inside. No wine to recommend here.

Booker - A new one for me - excellent Rhone varietals. Enjoyed everything I tasted there. Incredible concentration and an interesting aging program. They had a 2006 syrah which had 48 months on oak(!) but was able to carry it well owing to the tremendous structure and concentration of the wine. Also enjoyed a blend with 60% counoise - Oublie. Purchased bottles of 2008 Alchemist (85% Syrah/15% Cabernet Sauvignon) 24 months, 2006 Alchemist 48 months, 2008 Fracture (100% Syrah) 24 months and 2008 Oublie (Cunoise, Mourvedre, Grenache). Highly recommended.

Caliza - Another new one worth recommending - great Rhone varietals. Good wines all around, but the 2007 Syrah was exceptional. Great concenrated fruit. Purchased bottles of 2007 Syrah.

L'Aventure - I'm never disappointed here, even though the tasting room was unusually slammed. Tasted 2006 Optimus, 2008 Cote a Cote, 2007 Cabernet Estate, 2008 Estate Cuvee and a new one, the 2008 Le Grandt Verdot (60% Petit Verdot). All of the wines were excellent with amazing concentration (the color on most wines was an inky purple) with excellent flavors of dark fruits, graphite and minerals. My favorites are always the Estate Cuvee and the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Purchased bottles of 2007 Estate Cabernet, 2007 Estate Cuvee and 2008 Estate Cuvee. Kudos to the tasting room staff for pouring a decent sized glass which enables a better tasting experience.

Chateau Margene - After hearing about this winery from Paso locals for years, finally got to pay it a visit. Tasted a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Syrah. Was disappoined in all the wines except the Petit Syrah which was good but unexceptional. The Cabernet which is highly touted, was lean and bell peppery - not my style at all.

Four Vines - The only place of the day which only comped a single tasting (three of us had to pay). Did not taste any Zinfandels (probably sold out) which was disappointing. Their Petite Syrah Heretic is always a favorite of mine. Purchased a bottle of 2008 Heretic.

Castoro Cellars - Picked up a great roast beef panini sandwich at the shop in front of Four Vines and headed over to Castoro for lunch. It was raining, so we all sat inside and shared a bottle of their Zinfandel, which was simple and good for $12.

Turley - Followed a seemingly common pattern of having no new wine (presumably all sold out) and trying to hock older wines from 2005 and 2006. Tasted a bunch of Zins and even got to try the legendary Zinfandel and Petite Syrah Hayne Vineyard from 2005, but both were disapointing. The 2006 Dusi, a previous favorite of mine, was still tasting good.

Denner - Another winery building an impressive track-record of year after year quality across the board. Tasted 2008 Ditch Digger, Syrah, Dirt Worshipper. I loved the Syrah and the Dirt Worshipper (my usual favorites here). Purchased bottles of 2008 Syrah and 2008 Dirt Worshipper.

Jada - Great wines, each one paired with a fine cheese in the tasting room, a very nice touch. My favorite was the Hell's Kitchen, a rich blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre and Tannat. Don's favorite was the Strayts a blend of 60% Merlot and the remainder equal parts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

Halter Ranch - It was getting a little late in the day, but not too late to notice their 2007 Syrah and also that the guy tasting next to us was none other than Michael Gladis who plays Paul Kinsey on Mad Men. I get credit for spotting him, but Don's friend Scott gets credit for calling him out. He was gracious, shook our hands and even took some recommendations on wineries to visit. Purchased a bottle (supposedly the last one) of 2007 Syrah.

Adelaida - This was a bonus at the end of the day. The palate was too tired to recall anything noteworthy, but we had a good time mixing it up with the tasting staff.