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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Last week, my little old hunk of the global interwebs was named one of the Best Wine Blogs in in the 2011 installment of Most Wanted’s 100 Essential Blogs: Christmas Edition.
I’m honored to have been included, because their other blog selections are all great so I find myself dragging down the curve of the list, so to speak. But all those years of watching British sitcoms like Black Adder must have paid off, because apparently the Most Wanted folks also think I’m a Brit (I know… I don’t get it, either); to the tape:
“The Most Wanted 100 Essential Blogs: Christmas Edition is an online list of the most influential blogs in the UK (within their categories) of the past six months. We have painstakingly scoured the web to find ten publishing leaders in each of the ten categories. The Most Wanted 100 Essential Blogs: Christmas Edition aims to be a definitive list, a go-to resource if you’re looking for some inspiration about what to do, make, give and consume over the Christmas season.”
Hmmm… sorry, old chap, but I’m quite thoroughly American, I’m afraid. And it’s a bit early for Christmas, don’t you think? And don’t get me started on Christmas shopping – that shiz doesn’t start for me until December at the earliest. Anyway, don’t tell them I’m not British, otherwise they might take me off the list.
Speaking of the list, here’s the full complement of Most Wanted’s awarded wine blogs below (in what I think is no particular order, though truth be told I’m not so sure) – and it’s the real meat of this post, because if you’re geeking out over wine then you really ought to be checking out these sites on a regular basis.
Everybody knows that I “love” the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board [ Editor’s note: this is a boldfaced lie; I think the PLCB acts like a Communist monopoly and therefore I actually hate the PLCB ].
At least, I loved the recent move by Governor Tom Corbett to appoint Joseph “Skip” Brion (that’s his real nickname, by the way) the new PLCB Chairman, since both Corbett and Brion appear to be in favor of privatizing the state Commonwealth’s monopoly alcohol sales system – and they’re supporting House Bill eleven (HB11) which seeks to amend the existing Liquor Code “providing for the privatization of sales of wine and spirits in this Commonwealth through abolition of the State Liquor Stores.”
But as much as I’d love to see privatization take hold and the free market rein when it comes to alcohol sales in my home state Commonwealth, it’s become clear to me that, technically speaking, HB11 is actually not in the best interests of PA’s wine-consuming public; I would describe HB11 as Bull Honkey. As in, a big, stinking, steaming load of Bull Honkey.
Why? Two reasons, my vino-loving friends, neither of which portends any favorable outcomes from HB11 when it comes to actually letting the free market into the ring of PA’s liquor sales and distribution…
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- 06 Spring Mountain Vineyard Elivette (Napa Valley): Black currant, black plum, black tea, & maybe a little bit too much black angus. $125 A- >>find this wine>>
- 09 Laurenz V. Charming Gruner Veltliner (Kamptal): Classic Kamptal, which means it’s also a classic match for an enormous tasty salad $26 B+ >>find this wine>>
- 09 Turk Kremser Weinberge Gruner Veltliner (Kremstal): Stately; those apples & herbs have finesse but also a ton of… well, of *pep*. $20 B >>find this wine>>
- 10 Pffafl Haidviertel Gruner Veltliner (Weinviertel): Citrus that drinks big as its name; stick around for the orange blossom finish. $22 B >>find this wine>>
- 10 Leth Steinagrund Gruner Veltliner Reserve (Wagram): Well-coordinated juggling act of tropical fruit, green peas, flint & spices. $18 B >>find this wine>>
- 10 Huber Gruner Veltliner (Traisental): Kind of like Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc dancing, but they’re not quite fully in the Gruve. $16 B- >>find this wine>>
- 10 Aveleda Alvarinho (Minho): Maybe not as stellar as the ’09, but still pretty friggin’ stellar. Tropical, lively & a total bargain. $13 B >>find this wine>>
- 09 Trapiche Broquel Bonarda (Mendoza): Equal parts blueberry compote, black cherry and vanilla extract. Good if U like ’em woody. $15 B >>find this wine>>
- 06 Farina Gran Dama de Toro (Toro): Concentration of a Buddhist monk; black fruit of a brambly bush; wood of a Buick Roadmaster wagon $45 B+ >>find this wine>>
- 07 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley): Come for the pure, stately blackberry & cassis, stay for the crazy cellar-able value $52 A- >>find this wine>>
- 09 Jordan Chardonnay (Russian River Valley): Like handmade furniture the joints almost totally dovetail in this refined, lively Chard $29 B+ >>find this wine>>