Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Winery Reviews: Paso Robles

Over the last weekend we went to a number of wineries in the Paso Robles Area and tasted some fantastic wine.

Norman Winery

Here are the places we went:

  • Wild Coyote Winery
    We had a great time. We went to this and the next two wineries with Jeff, Pam and Harold. We got a personal tour of the new B&B they are building. Their wine is fantastic. We were especially impressed with the 2002 Zinfandel, which is a huge complex Zinfandel that just dances on the palatte. It is big without being too jammy, a wonderful wine.
  • Carmody McKnight
    A very pretty winery with very good wines and excellent facilities. This winery is way out in the far west of the Paso Robles appelation. It is almost over the hill from Hearst Castle. The wines were pretty good and the Cabernet Savignon was much better than I expected.
  • Norman Vineyards
    This is one of my favorites. You can skip over most of the rest of their wines and go right to the reds. Like Carmody McKnight they make a pretty decent cab. They make some great Bordeaux blends and some wonderful Zinfandels. We had had their monster Zinfandel the night before so we knew this was going to be great. To me the monster is the arctypical Paso Zinfandel. It is big and fruity but not too jammy. It has rich layers that sing a song of the oak trees and rolling hills and hot days and cool evening breezes. We love it. What we didn't know is they have an even better Zinfandel. They have one named Mephistopheles that is nicknamed "the panty dropper." It is huge and explosive on the pallatte. Their blends include the wonderful Bordeaux blend, No Nonsence Red and their even more wonderful blend named Crescendo.
  • Castoro
    Harold, Jeff, Sue and I went there after lunch and maybe our taste buds were fried. They were consistently good, as usual, but nothing here tempted us to buy. We tasted the last of their Giubbini wines. This vineyard is going to be releasing its fruit in wines produced under a different label in the future. This Zinfandel was still good but not as jammy as I remember previous vintages to be.
  • Tobin James
    Sue and I went there and the next winery on Monday. I wanted to go to Tobin James because Elaine had gone there and I knew they have signed copies of the book, Sideways for sale. I tasted Zinfandels and Syrahs their and was generally happy with them. I met a student at CalPoly SLO their and we discussed how working in winerys was the perfect student job.
  • Garretson
    We saved the best for last here. This winery is in a very industrial area. Despite the fact that it is right off highway 46 it is off the beaten path and does not look like a winery at all. They only do Rhones, but they do that very well. Their Syrahs are the best I have ever had. They make a Syrah they call “The Bulladóir” that is absolutely amazing, it is the best Syrah I have ever had in my life, and is unlike anything I have ever tasted. The color is almost black and the nose is so unique that I can't describe it. This is a deep wine that has soul.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Where did all these pigs come from?

Parking space hog
Never mind the environmental impact of driving these gas hogs! This driver had the nerves to hog two space in this crowded parking lot at SJSU. There are a lot of pigs out there.

I have this theory. My theory is if you want to get to work on time, leave early! I drive to work down Almaden Expressway in San Jose. I drive an economy car and drive the speed limit in the far right lane. There is no reason to drive like an idiot. It has a 45 mph speed limit. Most traffic goes 60 mph in the morning. Even though I have two lanes to my left I often have an idiot, usually driving big either a big pickup or a SUV (often a Lexus) getting right on my back bumper trying to bully me into speeding or pulling off the road. I just lock my cruise control at 45mph. I have had them honk at me! This is nuts.

We cannot become part of the problem. I say don't give in to these bullys!

Here is a little story. Today we were on a club bike ride. We were stopped in the left turn. A car pulls up in the lane to our right. The driver stops at the light, opens the door and dumps a pile of trash in the street. Then the light turns green and she drives away. She did not seem to care that we were standing right next to her or that we were yelling at her. She forgot to throw away the trash behind the wheel.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Wine Review: Cinnabar, Mercury Rising, 2002 Bordeaux Blend, Meritage

Cinnabar, Mercury Rising, 2002 Bordeaux Blend, Meritage [Our Rating, 7],  Purchased at Wine Club, $13.99, Decent but not great. a decent Meritage Blend

Wine Review: Waterbrook Winery 2002 Melange, Columbia Valley

Waterbrook Winery 2002 Melange, Columbia Valley [Our Rating, 8+ ],  Very Nice Meritage, a solid 8. Nice nose, opens up well. Easy to drink, well balanced, just like the review says, fabulous and affordable! Wine Club $11, List $16

Wine Spectator
90, Ripe and plump, generous with its spicy, mocha-scented cherry and blackberry flavors, persisting smoothly through the long, harmonious finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2010. 19,000 cases made. (HS)

Wine Press Northwest
 Outstanding! Waterbrook Winery 2002 Melange, Columbia Valley. Year after year, Waterbrook astounds us with this intense and inexpensive blend, which this year contains Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese. It's a fabulous and affordable red that reveals aromas and flavors of milk chocolate, ripe berries and exotic spices. Sweet tannins and terrific acidity yield perfect balance and a lingering finish. Priced to enjoy regularly with grilled meats. Wine Press Northwest- Summer 2004

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Wine Review: Burrell School 2000 Estate Merlot, Santa Cruz Mountains

Burrell School 2000 Estate Merlot, Santa Cruz Mountains [Our Rating, 7 ], This was a decent wine, but not great. This wines seems light, lacking body or structure. My mother-in-law likes it a lot but to Sue and I it seemed weak, and lacking of boldness or character. Kinda flat, almost watered down. We liked the 2001 a lot, what a difference a year makes. Perhaps this is past its peak.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Movie Review: Van Hellsing

Van Hellsing [Our Rating, 7.5 ], Fantasy and old fashioned scary movies combined. There is Dracula, Wierwolves, Frankenstien, Jekyl/Hyde and everything in this movie. Not a bad movie, we rented it on Netflix and it was entertaining. This, Susie and a nice bottle of Shiraz is a good way to spend a Friday night.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Wine Review: Ross Estate 2002 Shiraz, Barossa Valley

Ross Estate 2002 (Shiraz/Syrah) Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Austrailia, Estate [Our Rating, 8.5 ], We both like this a lot great nose and color, pleasant and smooth with a light peppery finish. Purchased at Wine Club, $19.99 Retail $37, Wine Spectator 86:

Dark and tarry, not a heavyweight but dense with cherry and licorice flavors, finishing with a bite of tannins. Best from 2005 through 2008. 500 cases made. (HS)

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Wine Review: Cline Red Truck 2003 [Revisit!]

Bought during Sonora Trip December 2004 [My Rating, 8], There are so many variables in tasting wine. Mood, taste buds, pairings, any residue of soap in the glass, not to mention storage and even the quality of the cork, can change the way a wine tastes, or tastes to us, at any given time! This time we liked it better, it wasn't great, but not bad either. It is a blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Cab Franc with a bit of Merlot. It was fine for an evening of paying bills and watching Survivor.

According to Cline: Medium-bodied and complex, flavors of chocolate, berries, cherries and licorice abound. The black pepper finish settles with smooth tannins. You can drink red truck anywhere, anytime (it pairs well with pizza and tomato based dishes). And for you die-hard Cline fans, take it for a spin and floor it baby, metaphorically speaking of course!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Wine Review: Castoro 2000 Diciannove

Castoro 2000 Diciannove, a blend [Our Rating, 9 ], Red Wine: Our rating 9 - Great nose, color and taste. This is really good. It needed to lay down a bit. A very pleasant wine, mostly Cab Franc. Mix of Cab Franc-Cab Sauv-Zin-Petit Verdot-Petit Sirah --Steve