Showing posts with label Templeton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Templeton. Show all posts

Monday, May 6, 2024

Don't Call This Chardonnay Cheap - Call It Affordable

Grocery chain Trader Joe's is a place you learn to love very quickly. Nice prices on things like wine, beer, cheese and nuts are fine, but the fact that the product is of high quality is a real bonus.

TJ's carries wines from a variety of producers, but the 2023 Trader Joe's Coastal Chardonnay is reportedly made by Castoro Cellars in the Paso Robles town of Templeton. Central Coast grapes went into the private label wine, which is unoaked. Alcohol is reasonable at 13$ abv and it sells at Trader Joe's for a bit less than $7. 

This wine has more of a yellow tint than I would expect from an unoaked Chardonnay. The nose is clean, though. Brilliant aromas of flowers, pears, peaches and apples come through with nary a trace of wood aging. The palate is rich and full, with fruit flavors dominating. Acidity is fresh and zippy, and nearly razor sharp. The fruit lasts on the finish and the wine is a perfect match for seafood, white sauce pasta or chicken.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Paso Robles And The Delightful Cab

Just off Highway 46, on Paso Robles' east side, sits Vina Robles Winery. Their tasting room is there, too, as is their bistro, serving a seasonal menu which features locally grown food prepared on-site. Founder Hans Nef felt his Swiss heritage blended well with the opportunities that America offered him. The winery website tells us that Mr. Nef died in 2019 due to an accident while swimming off the Cape Verde islands. The winery is now in the hands of Nef's two daughters. 

Winemaker Kevin Willenborg takes the grapes from their six SIP-certified sustainable estate vineyards and creates wines that promise to honor the past while looking into the future. He has a minimal intervention policy of staying out of the way and letting the grapes do their thing.

Besides sustainability, Vina Robles partners with One Tree Planted, an organization which tries to improve the world one tree at a time. A portion of the Vina Robles wine, The Arborist, goes to that charitable outfit. The wine was named The Arborist after an actual arborist saved the life of a 300-year-old oak tree that sits in one of their vineyards.

The Vina Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 features Cabernet Sauvignon grapes taken from two of their estate vineyards. As they explain it on their website, Huerhuero Vineyard is in the hilly terrain between the El Pomar and Geneseo Districts. It gets the cool Pacific breezes that blow through the Templeton Gap in the afternoon. Creston Valley Vineyard has high terrain, a southern exposure and shallow, limestone-laced soils. The wine was aged for 20 months in oak barrels, with a bit of Petit Verdot added at the eight-month mark. The Cab has alcohol at 14.5% abv and retails for $32.

The wine is dark in color and features a complex nose of currant, plum, black cherry and oak spice - all layered with the chalky minerality that is a hallmark of Paso Robles Cabs. That limestone minerality comes through especially strong on the palate. The dark red fruit plays a big role, the sweet oak is just right and the tannins are medium-firm.

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Paso Robles Wine: AronHill Vineyards

A quick stop at AronHill Vineyards, along 46 West outside Paso Robles, produced these fast tasting notes. All the non-estate grapes used come from Paso's westside as well.

2015 Estate Primrose - A new release, Primitivo rosé. The nose is floral and cherry-laced, with nice acid, good tartness and red fruit on the palate.  $28

2010 Estate Primitivo - From the AronHill library collection. There’s pepper and raspberry on the nose, with great acidity, tannins and flavors of smoky dried plums and boysenberry.  $40

2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon - Cherry vanilla aromas, earthy cherry flavors with a minty note $40

Berrichon - BDX blend. 40% Estate Cabernet with 30% Merlot, 20% Malbec, 10% Petite Verdot.  It smells and tastes of bright, earthy cherry and has a eucalyptus note.  $48

Kickass Britchen Red - Estate Primitivo, Zinfandel and Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose has a light cherry-and-orange zest angle, while the palate is a zippy cherry-raspberry experience with an herbal note.  $32

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Paso Robles Wine - Rocky Creek Cellars

A visit to wine country isn’t really complete without an encounter with a unique personality at the tasting bar. John Somogyi was that personality for me on a recent trip into California's San Luis Obispo County. Rocky Creek Cellars is a great place to stop while driving the lovely 46 West in Templeton, near Paso Robles.

The convoluted roads twist and turn around the little building that houses him and his wines. You can see it, you just don’t know how you'll get to it. Suddenly, a well-traveled back road appears and you're parking the car.

Somogyi’s stories pile one on top of another until disbelief makes way for amazement.  His dad and uncle were both Olympic athletes. He was sent to Oakland as a 12-year-old to live with relatives after the Hungarian revolution of 1956. He has worked in construction, lumber, and smiles broadly while telling of his adventures in Big Sur that led him to settle in the Central Coast. Somogyi - suh MO jee - left behind climbing 300-foot tall trees to open the winery. He still likes to build things from wood, and the bar in his tasting room was crafted by his own hand.

Somogyi likes to age his wines - all are cellared for at least three years - and he likes wine with food. He’ll go on for a good while about how recent health issues have limited his diet, and it’s easy to tell from his protestations that he’d give anything to have his preferred cuisine routine back with him.

Many of the grapes he sources very locally are grown in a microclimate that he says gets 29 inches of rain yearly, as opposed to less than eight inches a few miles over in Paso Robles. His York Mountain location in Templeton is where most of his fruit is grown

Rocky Creek 2009 Pinot Noir - Ripe, several years in barrel, smooth and earthy $30

Rocky Creek 2010 Sangiovese - Delightful, bright cherry $30

Rocky Creek 2006 Syrah - Medium dark, earthy, grapey $28

Rocky Creek 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon - Excellent, smooth and silky with good ol’ Paso earth $34

Rocky Creek 2009 Petite Sirah - Soft and lovely $30

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