Adelaida Cellars: First vinery, every single sip was delicious! Great place to start out a five day tasting tour. Of course, it was also fun to taste a few sips off the tasting menu (and take a bottle home).
Dauo Vineyard: A recently opened tasting room. Breathtaking views with a great list of wines. We went home with a bottle, of course. And, we will come back. With a picnic to enjoy.
Tasting list included: ’10 Chardonnay, ’10 Grenache Blanc, ’10 Chemin de Fleurs, ’08 Petite Sirah, ’09 Zinfandel, ’09 Celestus (blend of Sirah, Cab, Petite Verdot), ’09 Micho (named for winemaker’s sister; a Merlot & Cab cab blend), ’09 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Day 2 – Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo: Perfect sunny day for Chardonnay tasting
Laetitia: What a great place to start (especially since she asked for my ID!)
- Sparkling: ’08 Brut de Blanc, ’06 Brut Coquard, ’07 Cuvée M, Brut Cuvée
- White: ’09 Barnwood Grenache Blanc, ’09 Barnwood Roussanbe
- Pinot Noir: ’10 Pinot Noir, ’10 Estate Pinot Noir, ’10 Reserve du Domaine
- Red: ’09 Barnwood GSM Blend, ’09 Barnwood Temparillo; ’09 Nadia (Cab), ’09 Barnwood Trio
Edna Valley: Maybe my favorite place for Chardonnay…maybe it was helped by the view. The tastes I enjoyed and got to bring home:
2009 FLEUR de EDNA CHARDONNAY
In the vineyard, the grapes were allowed extended time on the vine in order to develop appealing fruit and floral aromas, nuances of rose petal, orange blossom and Meyer lemon. By avoiding malolactic fermentation and aging for a short time in older French barrels, we preserved the natural acidity of the grape, keeping this wine fresh and crisp.
2008 ESTATE CHARDONNAY
This barrel select Chardonnay shows ripe and tropical flavors of peach, tangerine, and citrus. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels other flavors of baking spice, honey, sweet caramel oak and clove abound. A mouth-filling viscous wine with a long finish and refreshing acidity is sure to impress the Chardonnay aficionado.
Other tastes included: ’09 Pinot Noir, ’09 Zinfandel, ’09 Grenache, ’09 Petit Verdot
My favorites where the ‘o9 No Oak Chardonnay (super balanced and light citrus) and the ’09 Grenache Noir o9 (a pure purple delight with notes of berry, floral tones and a little sage). But my real favorite was the flyer for their wine and cheese pairing over the weekend: Humboldt County…”Where the men are weak and the cheese is strong”.
Day 3 – The Coast: Just by luck, we found wineries when we were headed to a castle. Who knew?
Cayucos Cellars: On the way to Hearst Castle, we needed to kill some time. We stopped in a little seaside town, found a parking spot and looked up to see a winery. It is 11 a.m. so they just opened for us! Many Zin’s, a nice dessert wine and we walked out with more wine to add to our collection. Plus, the funniest photo of a wine maker was posted in their tasting room (and it looked nothing like the real wine maker when he arrived in the middle of our tasting).
Moonstone: I could blog just about our experience here. We went for a taste, left and hour after closing after making many new great friends with the dozen or so locals hanging out (and a few others in town to taste). Of course, over the two plus hours, we tasted some bottles more than twice. And we brought home the ’09 Tempranillo and ’09 Cabernet Franc.
Odd fact of the day: Voignier comes from the “road to hell” in that they were a challenge to grow – about 350 B.C.
Day 4 – Back to Paso and focused on Zin.
We roll up to Zin Alley, ready for our first stop (a suggestion from one of our new Moonstone friends). The first sign read “Hippies enter around back” and then the next sign read “holler, in the vineyard”. We knew this was going to be good! And it was fabulous!
And the wine maker sent us over to Caliza and Booker. Booker sells out of their wines early every year, and they are just opening their wine for the upcoming year. Solid wines that should age well. Caliza suggested checking out what Brian Benson was doing with his Zin blends. Actually, my favorite part of this tasting was the painted wine bottles.
Odd fact of the day: Counoise translates as “the forgotten grape”.
And then we found our favorite winery. Le Cuvier. Sip after delicious sip. We wanted to taste again! I must admit I joined my first wine club. Took two bottles home. Can’t wait for my first shipment in March.
Then we headed to Halter Ranch, a place we almost made it to on Day 1. The grounds were so amazing, I had to go back. Older farm house with amazing architectural details. Tablas Creek Vineyard finished up our day as the sun set and lit up the hills with rich, warm colors. And we picked up another bottle great for every day drinking.
Day 5 – Heading North with a final “layover” in Paso.
J Lohr: I have to say this was the most surprising place to taste. I have picked up many J. Lohr bottles at my local store to enjoy every day. It was fabulous to learn that they have two boutique lines: the J. Lohr Gesture and the J. Lohr Vineyard Series. And, wow, some great wines in both lines!
Gesture: ’09 Zinfandel
Vineyard Series: ’10 Carol’s Vineyard Sauvignon Bland, ’10 October Night Chardonnay, ’08 Arroyo Viast Chardonnay, ’08 Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon, ’05 Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon, ’08 Carol’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, and ’09 Tower Road Petite Sirah
The most fun was tasting the ’05 and ’08 Hilltop Cab in a head-to-head taste. Seeing how the ’05 matured was fabulous…and worth bringing home at least a bottle.
Graveyard: Our final tasting place was filled with good wines and witty illiterations. Our favorite tastes included:
- Tombstone White – a four white aromatic blend
- Tombstone Red – perfect red bland – do we need to order a case? Maybe.
- ’08 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – an incredible bottle
- Deliverance – a premium port touched with chocolate – never thought chocolate and wine could be that delicious
The cliff notes:
- Total days: 5
- Total wineries: 18
- New bottles brought home: 26