Spit Happens #53 – Paso Robles

I recently spent 3 months in the US on a vacation. A large majority of that time was in the desert of New Mexico and Arizona, not quite a wine wilderness but darn close. On the way back we made a left turn and drove all the way to Paso Robles to visit some wineries and chill out in California wine country. Paso Robles has a different vibe than Napa Valley. A bit less Cabernet/Chardonnay and a bit more Syrah and Zinfandel. There is Cabernet there… just not the eye watering prices of Napa and the quality is outstanding.

One producer I always look for is Daou Winery  located on a mountaintop with breathtaking views for 75-100 miles in every direction this a winery committed to making dense age worthy reds .  The Cabernets are stellar and the Syrah/Grenache/Mourvedre is a surprising treat. Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia Highlands and Chardonnay round out the offerings. There are also library wines and magnum offering available to mailing list members. Definitely worth your time to visit and  deserving of a place in you cellar. Pretty highly regarded in the wine press as well. Not too subtle but can drink young or old.

My next choice is Justin Vineyards.  The property was planted in 1981 and the first commercial vintage was released in 1987, The Isosceles  Cabernet patterned after quality Left Bank Bordeaux is the most notable wine they make but the other wines are up to the task. A visit here is worth the effort. A beautiful facility and all the tools to make great wine.  Wine maker Scott Shirley came to Justin after a career at Hess Collection and Opus One. So he know a bit about wine making. The winery completed an upgrade in 2013 and now has accommodation and a top notch hospitality program.  What are you waiting for?

Number 3 winery is Turley Cellars. In the category I call big stupid wines for big stupid guys. Ladies fill your boots as well. Massive Zinfandels from all over California , rich robust Petite Syrah and even a Cabernet more recently. My old employer in Vancouver was  ( I think) the first export account for the winery. Early vintages of the PS from 1993 are still improving.  Always a treat to share these wines the big challenge is storage . They have super annoying shaped bottles that don’t stack in bins well and necks that don’t allow neck tags on them. Make sure Ramona gives you lots individual bottle storage options if you want to age these beasts…. PS The Old Vine Charbono ain’t half bad either. first .

Thanks for your time.

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Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food.

Cheers

David Lancelot

Spit Happens #52 – Tokaj

Have you tried Tokaj ? Have you heard of Tokaj ? If not it’s time for you to stretch your brain a bit. Tokaj is is the name of the wines from the Tokaj wine region in Hungary or the adjoining Tokaj wine region in Slovakia. This region is noted for its sweet wines made from grapes affected by noble rot, a style of wine which has a long history in this region.

From Wikipedia:

Aszú: This is the world-famous sweet, topaz-colored wine known throughout the English-speaking world as Tokay.
The original meaning of the Hungarian word aszú was “dried”, but the term aszú came to be associated with the type of wine made with botrytised (IE. “nobly” rotten) grapes. The process of making Aszú wine is as follows.

  • Aszú berries are individually picked, then collected in huge vats and trampled into the consistency of paste (known as aszú dough).
    Must or wine is poured on the aszú dough and left for 24–48 hours, stirred occasionally.
  • The wine is racked off into wooden casks or vats where fermentation is completed and the aszú wine is to mature. The casks are stored in a cool environment, and are not tightly closed, so a slow fermentation process continues in the cask, usually for several years.
  • The concentration of aszú was traditionally defined by the number of puttony of dough added to a Gönc cask (136 liter barrel) of must. Nowadays the puttony number is based on the content of sugar and sugar-free extract in the mature wine. Aszú ranges from 3 puttonyos to 6 puttonyos, with a further category called Aszú-Eszencia representing wines above 6 puttonyos. Unlike most other wines, alcohol content of aszú typically runs higher than 14%. Annual production of aszú is less than one percent of the region’s total output.

Tokay ( the English spelling ) was a term that used to be used to describe Pinot Gris from Alsace and a style of sweet wine from the Rutherglen region in Australia as well. In more recent times it has been phased out and is now a protected terminology for wines from Hungary/Slovakia exclusively.
If you are up for it I suggest trying Tokaj Aszu 5 Puttonyos Chateau Dereszla 10 listed by the BC Liquor Stores Link . Also available at Everything Wine.

This delicious Tokaj is showing some nice mature flavors and has the a depth and texture that would be a challenge for other winemakers to provide for the price.  The botrytis flavor really shines here. Brilliant with aged Gouda or the great Canadian Cheese Oka, .

Thanks for your time.

If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/.

Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot

Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food.

Cheers

David Lancelot

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