Posts Tagged ‘Paso Robles’

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 133: Extra! Extra!

May 8, 2014

In this episode, Jeff tries a wine from a paper bottle. What’s the worst that could happen?

Wine Tasted:


Paperboy Winery 2012 Paso Robles Red Blend

Stay Rad,


What’s your take on wines in alternative packaging?  Leave a comment, and let us know.


Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 105: Renegade

June 20, 2013

In this episode, Jeff pairs a different kind of red blend with a steak…

Wine Tasted:


Ancient Peaks 2010 Margarita Vineyard Renegade

Stay Rad,


What’s the worst food and wine pairing you’ve ever had?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

Paso-ing the Time with the One You Love

July 22, 2012

Many of y’all know that Kara and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary last Tuesday.

Some of you even know that we spent that day in the wine country of Paso Robles.

But nobody…


Nobody knows what went down that day…

Until now.

Paso Robles is a good two and a half hour drive South from our home, so we jumped in the ol’ car ’round 8am that morning. From the Bay Area, it’s pretty easy to get there… Just jump on the 101, and go nuts.

We arrived in Paso at 10:30. Our first destination was Justin Vineyards & Winery on the far West end of Paso Robles…


A view of the Vineyards at Justin

I’ve been a fan of Justin for a little while (Remember when I tried their 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon last year?).

Although they are most well-known for their Bordeaux style wines, we were able to taste a nice and herby Tempranillo and beautifully smokey Syrah.

Of course, my favorite tasting at Justin was their 2009 Isosceles…


Justin 2009 Isosceles

The Isosceles is Justin’s Left Bank style Bordeaux blend. It is 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Merlot, and retails for $62.

Color: Dark ruby.

Nose: A beautiful scent of blackberries and cassis with just a touch of cocoa powder.

Taste: Big black fruits, licorice, tobacco, and pepper. The limestone soils of the vineyard gives the wine a good acidity to balance with the fruit and tannin.

Score: This is a beautiful wine that drinks well now, but would taste great in about 7 years. 92 points.

The next stop on our Paso Robles adventure was Tablas Creek Vineyard


The barrels in view from the tasting room at Tablas Creek.

I’ve known about Tablas Creek for a while (mainly because of their numerous Wine Blog Award nominations and wins for Blog Tablas Creek), but have never had the opportunity to taste their wines.

It was clear to Kara and me from the get go, that we made a good choice by stopping here…


For starters, they offer you a big steel bottle of water on your way in. There’s a refrigerated dispenser that you can use to refill whenever you need to. When you’re done at the tasting room, you just leave the bottles on the counter. Every tasting room should do this. EVERY… SINGLE… TASTING ROOM.

Tablas Creek is partly owned by the Perrin family of Chateau de Beaucastel in the Chateauneuf du Pape region of France. Slowly, but surely, over the years they have been importing Rhone vines from France to plant in their vineyards. It is an extremely time-consuming, and expensive process, but I can’t think of many other places in California that can match the style and quality of the Rhone wines that we tasted on Tuesday.

Here are some of my favorites…


Tablas Creek 2010 Cotes de Tablas


Tablas Creek 2010 Mourvedre (How do you pronounce it?)


Tablas Creek 2009 Esprit de Beaucastel: Ripe blackberry and raspberry on the palate. Rich. Luscious. Dope. 92


Tablas Creek 2010 Counoise

When we were done with the tasting, we were given the tasting glasses to take home with us.

On the way out, I noticed some of the young Mourvedre vines that were waiting to be grafted, and just had to take a picture…



Tablas Creek Vineyard is easily one of the best Winery/Tasting Room experiences that I have ever had. Nothing flashy. No gimmicks. Just great wine in a friendly environment. The passion is in the wine and the people who are serving it, and it shows.

Just great.

Just go there.

Our next stop was Cypher Winery


Cypher Winery

Cypher Winery is home of the Freakshow label. In spite of the wacky labels and names for the wines, these guys bring some quality juice.

My favorite of the day was…


Freakshow 2009 “Loco” Tempranillo. This wine a good combination of dark berries, herbs, and oak. Definitely recommended.

Next, we made our way over to Turley Wine Cellars to get our Zinfandel on…


Turley Wine Cellars

Turley is well-known for making great single-vineyard Zinfandels from Napa and Paso Robles. I was a big fan of this one…


Turley 2009 Ueberroth Vineyard Zinfandel: Good blueberry fruit with herbs and spices. 90+

Many of the wineries we visited sent us home with glasses from the tasting room. Turley gave us the option of a glass or a stainless steel water bottle full of ice-cold water…


Guess which one we took?

After Turley, we mosied down the street to the new Sextant Wines tasting room…


Sextant Wines


This is the Sextant 2007 Kamal Cabernet Sauvignon. It was pretty good.

Our last winery of the day was Zenaida Cellars, where there was a ridiculously long list of wines available to taste…


Zenaida Cellars

All of their wines were great, and the folks working at the tasting room were really cool.


We came home with the Zenaida 2009 Zephyr, a semi-Rhone blend of Syrah, Zinfandel, and a splash of Viognier.

After a long day of tasting wine, we checked into our hotel and spent a bit of time at the pool before heading out to dinner at Buona Tavola


Buona Tavola

Buona Tavola specializes in Northern Italian Cuisine.  They have two locations… One in San Luis Obispo and one in, of course, Paso Robles.

The wine list was very extensive, and very reasonable.  We decided to go with this one…


The Cascina Val Del Prete 2010 Barbera D’Alba is fruit-forward and has enough complexity to be enjoyed on its own, but the subtle Earthiness and good acidity make it a great food wine as well.


While looking over the menu, I took full advantage of the fresh bread and olive tapenade on the table. “What’s that? Do I want more? Yes, please. Keep it coming!”

They have a very reasonably priced three course meal, so Kara and I jumped all over it…


Round One: Insalata al Cuore di Cesare


Round Two: Fettuccine al Sugo di Carni Miste


Round Three: A Really Good Pork Chop

I don’t know if it was the wine, or the people, the fact that it’s so fresh in my mind, or because it was our anniversary… But I cannot remember having a more all-around pleasant experience wine tasting.

I’ve heard people gush over Paso before, but I never imagined that this place really would live up to the hype.

I was wrong.

This place is fantastic.

You should go.

If you don’t believe me, it’s cool.

Just do yourself a favor.

Believe the Hype!

Stay Rad,


Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 53: GSM and JNYSRS

July 13, 2012

In the absence of Kara, and in preparation for their two-year wedding anniversary, Jeff pairs a Paso Robles GSM and Jumbo New York Strip Romaine Split…

Wine Tasted:


Trader Joe’s Reserve 2009 Paso Robles GSM

Paired With:


Jumbo New York Strip Romaine Split

Stay Rad,


Two wines. Two days. Can you dig it?

July 11, 2011

Sometimes, you decant a Trader Joe’s 2010 Grower’s Reserve Zinfandel for 3 hours.

Sometimes, that’s a bad idea.

Sometimes, you use the word “sometimes” at the beginning of a sentence, to set a mood.

Trader Joe's 2010 Grower's Reserve Zinfandel. Sometimes, you just gotta.

Look.  We got this Paso Robles zinfandel on Sunday afternoon for $4.99.  Kara asked if she should decant it.  I was like, “Sure”.  She popped it and poured it into the decanter.  Then I looked at my watch.

It was 2 o’clock.

We weren’t planning on having dinner until 5 at the earliest.

Listen.  I know that it never hurts to decant a wine.  It always helps.  Many times I’ll leave a bottle open overnight, and see improvement the next day.

But if you don’t know the wine…  It’s structure…  How it changes….  If you’re not sure about how it will last…  I would never go longer than an hour.

Eventually, all wines will fall apart.  The better the wine, the longer it takes for that to happen.

Do you feel me?

After making a T-Joe’s type of dinner, I sat down to try the wine.

BBQ pulled chicken w/ dijon broccoli slaw. Montel Jordan would be all, "Shadadada dap dabadahhhh. This is how we do it!"

Color:  This wine was straight purple.  When pouring it into the glass, I noticed that it was almost a light pink.

Nose:  Dusty strawberries and wood.  Hmmmmm.

Taste:  Jammy fruit.  There were these mouth-coating smooth tannins, a sharp cranberry, and a touch of cherry fruit roll-up.  Not bad.

But then…

I started diving into the food…

The dish I made was quite sweat in nature.  A Texas style, if you will.  After going back to the wine, the sweetness of the BBQ wiped out the jammy fruit.  What was left of the wine was this unpleasant acidity.  I figured that maybe it was just a bad food pairing, but after the meal, I went back to the wine and all I could taste was that same hollow gross acidity.

Score:  I was gonna give it an 86, but had to change it to an 84.

Sometimes, decanting is a good thing.

Sometimes, food and wine go together.

Sometimes, a wine falls apart on you.

Sometimes, food reveals flaws.

Shall we move on?

Today, Kara whipped together a really neat looking and tasting dinner…

Tabouleh cucumber romaine split and a simple salad w/ goat cheese. Pee Wee Herman would be all, "Mmmmmmm. Vegetably."

With it, she served up the Bruzzone 2009 Estate Chardonnay from the Santa Cruz Mountains.  This wine was a gift from Thevegetarians for Kara’s birthday, so I didn’t bother looking up the price (that’s rude).  I’m sure you can find out how much it was by clicking the link on the wine.

Bruzzone 2009 Estate Chardonnay next to some balls.

Color:  Light gold.  This wine looks like chardonnay.

Nose:  Pear.  Apple.  Petrol.  Toast.  Not bad.

Taste:  The first thing I noticed was the mouthfeel.  This wine is THICK!  Very viscous.  It’s almost oily.  Also… this wine is a spicy oak bomb.  There are nice notes of apple and peach.  Like the zin from yesterday, I’m also noticing a fruit roll-up flavor in there.  There is a little custard on this wine.

This is a BIG chardonnay.  Almost too big, but not.

It did not pair well with the tabouleh.  I would love to try it with some vanilla ice cream.

Score:  I’m not going to give this wine a score, since it was a gift.  I did like it, however.  If I were going to score it, I’d give it an 87.

So there you have it.

Two wines in two days.

Sometimes, that’s how I roll.

Stay Rad,


This Justin: Man tries a new wine and likes it.

June 22, 2011

Justin time!

“Have you ever tried Justin?”

“No,” I responded to the wine buyer at Rocca’s Market in San Martin, “but I’ve heard good things.”

“It’s good stuff.  Enjoy!”

The Justin 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles cost me $23.99.  It’s usually a good sign when you get a set of Farmers’ Almanac-type notes from the wine maker on the label.  It gives you a good sense of the respect that a winery has for the terroir.  I was happy to learn that the Justin Cab is 100% free run juice.

Opened it Justin time for dinner.

Color:  This wine is a dark beet red.  Look…

Justin case you wanted to see it.

Nose:  There is an immediate smell of lush dark plums.  There are hints of smoke, leather, and blackberry.  There is also this chalky mocha thing that I love.  You know me by now.  I’m a teacher.  I love chalk!

Taste:  Up front, there is a tart cran-raspberry cocktail flavor.  The tannins are very soft, round, and pleasant.  Probably because it is free run juice; it is very silky.  It has a long, tart, mouth-watering finish.  There is just a little bit of a buttery pie crust (or maybe crescent roll) component.

I’m a big fan of the Justin.  This wine would pair well with a thick bloody steak.  Give it a 91, and buy it.

I’m Justin love with this one.

Stay Rad,


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