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On The Road | 1 Wine Dude - Page 23

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Joan of Arc, Jules Verne And Vouvray (At The Salon des Vins de Loire)

Vinted on February 6, 2012 binned in on the road, wine industry events

This week, I’m in the historic-but-tourist-friendly French wine region of the Loire, on a press trip attending the the 2012 Salon des Vines de Loire. This annual vinous showcase in Angers features about as many Loire wines as the Loire river is measured in miles (over 600). So, I’m expecting to spit… a lot (and not just at the stuff the French people say to me).

The travel could mean some slightly interrupted service here on 1WD, most likely the week after I return while I’m catching up on the three-to-four thousand things to which I will need to attend when I get back (such as hitting the treadmill overtime after indulging in what the French consider a relatively normal volume of dietary fats). I’m hitting Napa very soon after my return from France (for a ton of producer visits and my annual coverage of the madness that is Premiere Napa Valley), and the space in between those trips will largely be occupied by, I hope, sleeping. All of which is a (very) long way of saying that your patience, as always, is most appreciated!

I’d tell you more about the Salon, except I don’t actually know too much about it because their website is, putting it mildly, in the running for the least useful Internet destination in the history of the known Universe. So I thought that I’d offer up a few interesting facts about the region instead, embellished slightly 1WineDude style for your edu-tainment…

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Feeling The Heat In California: Are Paso Robles Wines Too High In Alcohol?

There’s one thing you need to know about Paso Robles wine country.

It can get hot.

And I’m not talking about the Summertime temperatures, or even the Indian-Summertime temperatures, which had busted through the 100F mark not too long before my visit to Paso in October.

No, I’m talking about the wines.

After tasting through a small score of the vino on offer from several of Paso’s wine producers, the most prominent takeaway was that there were so many wines that were made from very, very ripe fruit – wines that generally exceeded 14% abv in the whites and regularly hit over 15% abv in the reds.

That is not an inevitable conclusion for Paso Robles wine.  And I know this because it wasn’t always the case.

During my Paso visit, I dined at the home of Gary and Marcy Eberle, who own Eberle Winery in Paso. Over the course of our meal (also attended by representatives of several other Paso producers), Gary opened a few bottles of Eberle Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve from the early 1980s. Those wines were a far cry from being dead – in fact, they were vibrant, with juicy red fruits underpinning aromas of dried herbs.  In other words, those wines were refined, food-friendly, and eminently drinkable.  The abv? About 13%

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Paso, In Pictures (A Visual Tour Through Paso Robles Gourmand Country)

Vinted on November 1, 2011 binned in on the road

Being wine country (and one of the fastest-growing in all of Cali. at that – they’ve well over 200 wineries now), Paso Robles can be visually stunning. You’d probably have guessed that already, since, well, it’s wine country and there’s a damn good reason why even people like me visit wine country when they go on vacation (even when, as in my case, they’re going on vacation from wine!) – it’s usually breath-takingly gorgeous.

What you might not have known about Paso is that it’s starting to (rightfully) fancy itself a gourmand’s small-town paradise. Restaurants like Artisan, Farmstand 46, and Villa Creek are testament to the culinary prowess being drawn to the area (those I got to witness first-hand on my recent Paso jaunt). But there’s also a bevvy of businesses that supply the high-end foodstuffs that go into those local culinary delights, including two spots I had the pleasure of visiting: The Abalone Farm (pricey seaward stuff is cultivated there by laid-back owner Brad Buckley, but it’s an amazing grilled match for Paso’s white Rhone blends), and organic produce producer Thomas Hill Farms (generous owner Joe Thomas will probably let you eat all the pears, figs and jujubes you can stomach, but I can assure you from personal experience that you will pay for it dearly the following day).

I managed a few pictures of all of the above, in-between all the eating a drinking in Paso – check ‘em out after the jump. Coming soon: more mini-reviews of Paso wines, and my take on what’s right (and not-so-right) in Paso Robles viniculture (you know, like, when I get around to it, man). Enjoy!…

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Reverse Cowboy Psychology: Christian Tietje Cracks The Mourvedre Code At Paso’s Cypher Winery

Vinted on October 27, 2011 binned in crowd pleaser wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, wine review

Spending an hour of so over lunch with Cypher Winery’s self-proclaimed “Winemaker, Troublemaker, and Firestarter” Christian Tietje is a bit like experiencing a small vinous indoor dust devil. In the wake of this whirling dervish of a man, you are left with remnants of well-crafted comfort food, open bottles and empty, stained glasses strewn about, and a lingering sense of bewilderment at the bold (some might say egotistical) pronouncements such as “yeah man, this is totally gonna be a 95, 96-point wine when the press gets a hold of it.”

Yeah, man – and this article is totally gonna win me some James Beard awards, you know, after they judges all wise up and stuff.

My whirlwind tour through Christian’s wines took place last week at Paso Robles’ Farmstand 46, a restaurant partnership between Tom Fundaro and the owners of Four Vines WineryChristian is probably best-known as the principal winemaker behind Four Vines’ high-octane, high-scoring releases. But his new venture, Cypher, has Tietje stretching out a bit and – dare we say it – maturing.  Certainly the single varietal Cypher bottlings have a lot of promise, which you’d probably expect from a talented winemaking team – but what you might not expect is that they also display a good deal of craftsmanship and… restraint

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