Friday, April 30, 2010

2010 Mid-Winters In Paso Robles

By Len Bose
Len and Jennifer Bose on their wine-tasting trip to Paso Robles.
While most of you were sailing in the 81st annual 2010 Midwinter regatta or sailing in the Vallarta Race, some of us were catching up with our annual maintenance. Please understand as a yacht broker, when I take time off from work, I go racing or to Catalina with the family, that’s pretty much it.
Around this time of year, my wife Jennifer reminds me it's our wedding anniversary, and very gently asks where we might be going. My reply is normally, “Let's load up the boat and head to Catalina.”
Well about every five years, Jennifer looks at me, places her hands on her hips and tells me: “Not again. I want to go somewhere were there are no boats and just relax.”
So, what’s a sailor going to do? Go drinking of course, or to put it more eloquently – wine tasting. Yeah, that’s it, let's go wine tasting!
It’s also strange that about every five years I sell a boat to a vintner; it’s always good to “talk the talk.” Now, I just need to learn to “walk the walk,” because after 17 years with my love, staying at a Motel 6 and doing 10 tastings in a day is no longer an option. This time, I needed to do my homework and plan a strategy and route in mind. So, I tried to recall the first winemaker I sold a boat to some 20 years ago – Cliff Giacobine. Cliff has since passed away, but what I recall was always talking about Italian wines. I thought this was strange, because the year was 1990. He had been growing Zinfandel for years and had just started planting Syrah. Now jump ahead 20 years: the Rhone style is getting most of the attention in Paso Robles. And I can still recall Cliff talking about Italian wines.
So while researching the trip, I found, whose headline on the website read: "Inspired by Italy – Crafted in California.” This winery is owned and operated by Stephanie and Brian Terrizzi, whose philosphy reads: "Creating giornata started with a dream to create wines from Italian grapes grown in California employing the sensibility and philosophy of Italian winemaking."
What I liked most about this vintner was that after I sent an email requesting a tasting time, Brian called me personally. The Terrizzis don't have a tasting room yet, so you meet Stephy at a local wine bar called 15 Degrees C, which refers to a nice cellar temperature for a red wine. There is no better way to get a true feel for a region than getting an overview from a local wine bar.
Jennifer and I had a chance to try the “il Campo” and the Sangiovese. This is when Jennifer said "yummy," and we purchased a bottle of the 2007 Gemellaia, two bottles of the 2007 Nebbiolo along with a bottle of the 08 il Campo. It might be because of the past comments made by my old friend Cliff, but my gut tells me to keep my eye on giornata wines. I would also like to point out that I was not charged for the tasting.
So now it was time go drinking ... I mean wine tasting. Attached is my google maps. Because Jennifer and I went tasting on a Sunday and Monday, the yellow pins mark the wineries open Thursday through Sunday.
We pulled off the 101 onto Vineyard Drive. I called Booker wines because I had read that they were closed for tasting due to a fire. This wasn't really a problem as Turley Wines is on the way to the 46. Turley Zins are the "best in the world," and the owners are mighty proud of their product. This didn't keep us from buying a bottle of Dogtown and a bottle of Turley olive oil.
With the time now at 3 p.m., I decided to pass on L’Aventure. On a side note, you can find L’Aventure wines for sale at The Wine Club in Santa Ana.
Next on the list was Zin Ally. You have to stop by and see Frank. He only makes 300 cases of Zin a year, but his father used to own Pesenti Vineyards, which is now owned by Turley. This winery is a must see and an outstanding value.
Just down the Hill is Four Vines. The tasting room was packed, and just not a comfortable place for Jen and me. If you are under the age of 40, stop by and enjoy a tasting.
Next on our list was Dover Canyon. This winery has one of the better views of Paso Robles, and we stayed well over an hour tasting 12 different types of wine. I really liked this place; we walked out with two bottles of their Rebel Rose’ and two Bottles of their 2007 Osso Seccho.
We then pushed to the Far Out region of Paso and stopped by Le Cuvier. The tasting room is a couple of picnic benches in the middle of the winery with everyone working around you. To me it does not get any better than this. And as for the wines, all Jennifer could say was, “We'll take that one and that one and ..." I am just glad our son Andrew wasn't with us, because we might have just left him there in trade.
With time running out, we started back to the bed and breakfast we were staying at with the hopes we could make it to Villa Creek. We pulled in front of Villa Creek at 5:20 p.m., and they had already closed. But to tell you the truth, we were done tasting for the day.

View from Belvino Viaggio, their charming bed and breakfast.
We arrived at Belvino Viaggio, our quaint lodging, at just before six o' clock, with a very warm greeting from Lois Fox owner/innkeeper. To keep the article short, we loved it! We've never stayed at a better place in Paso.
We were the only ones there on Sunday and Monday nights, and we'll be back. We shared some wine and cheese and just took in the breathtaking view with Lois, who talked about her upcoming bare boat charter in La Paz.
Jennifer and I have been wine tasting a number of times, and our routine is to have a picnic in the room for dinner. As the moon came over the city lights it was the end of a perfect first day.

On day two, we took out our party hats after a nice walk through the orchard below the B&B, and started out on our course. First stop – Lone Madrone, with a farm-style wine tasting room and a comfortable feeling.
Next was Linne Calodo. This is one of the new high-end places in town with some of the better wines from Paso. The whole place is breathtaking. With their flagship wine being named “Problem Child” it made me laugh and think of my good friend Dan Rosen and his boat of the same name. The wines are pricey but it’s worth the stop.
Our next waypoint was Denner Wines – and just like Linne Calodo – this is one of the new wineries in town where no expense has been spared. Jennifer and I used one of their picnic benches for lunch, and spent an hour just enjoying the view.
We continued traveling north on Vineyard, and as we approached Norman we noticed the time was 3 p.m., and we were already running out of steam. We made our last stop – Tablas Creek. By the time we arrived there, Jennifer had caught her second wind and started by saying “yummy” and “we will take that one and that one and …"
It was approaching 5 p.m., and we needed to go back and change to get ready for dinner at Artisan. We wrapped up our 17th wedding anniversary in style, with a three-course meal, and of course, the wine pairing.

To tell you the truth, I hit every lay line and made it around this course like I knew what I was doing. When Jennifer went to work today she still had a big smile on her face, leaving the house with a big, “I love you.” Well, it will be great until my MasterCard bill arrives. If any of you readers would like a copy of my wine notes and some of the information I gathered, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Now it's time to get ready for the Cabo race.

Sea ya'
Len Bose
Len Bose is a contributing writer to the Daily Voice and owner of Len Bose Yacht Sales.

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