Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Wine Corks Explained

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Wine Corks
Perceptive wine drinkers all along California’s Central Coast have noticed that their favorite wines often come with two distinctly different wine tops—the classic cork stopper and the fairly new arrival, the screw top. Members of The Paso Robles Wine Club often receive shipments of wine with both types of bottle toppers and quite often, the question arises if one is better than the other. So to better answer the question, today’s post will look at both and provide a little history along the way.

Interestingly enough, the screw top, as it’s commonly referred, was invented in the 1950s by the French. However, traditionalists by nature, the screw top never gained popularity amongst the French winemakers and instead, was commonly used in the United States as the bottle closure of choice on some of the lowest priced wines in the market—think Boones’ Farm and Mad Dog 20/20.

In 1970, a company called Australian Consolidated Industries acquired the manufacture rights, renaming the screw top closure, Stevlin. Of course, back then, the Australian winemaking industry was a sleeping giant and winemaking was the sort of agricultural hobby that happened in conjunction with farming, and then, amongst family and friends.

Then in 2005, a group of winemakers in Australia’s Clare Valley decided to put the screw top to the test and collectively bottled 250,000 bottles with the screw top. The following year, with great anticipation, they decided to check the wine to see how it was aging; they found the wine was aging so well that they couldn’t discern a difference between the screw top and the cork. Thus, the Australian’s led the way in bringing public acceptance to screw cap wines.

Well, that is, just about everywhere, but among luxury winemakers—and drinkers—who still have reservations about the screw top. The cork, of course, has deep roots in winemaking and for many people, the ritual of using a wine opener to pull a cork is part of savoring the experience.
The introduction of the cork came by way of the Benedictine monks, or more specifically, Dom Perignon, who was looking to replace the commonly used wooden stoppers with something that wouldn’t regularly pop out of the bottle. Cork was widely available and plentiful. Made from the bark of Cork Oaks, native to Mediterranean regions, corks quickly replaced the wooden stoppers and were embraced by wine makers.

While the debate still rages on whether screw tops or corks are better, aside from personal preference, here are some guidelines: white wines and those red wines that are meant to be drank very young, are perfectly suited to the screw top. However, for big wines that are better with a little age, the cork allows for a little oxygen, perfect for softening tannins.

To sample a variety of unique and boutique wines produced in Paso Robles Wine Country, join The Paso Robles Wine Club and you’ll receive regular shipments of wine—some with screw tops, and others with corks—and all, perfectly suited for enjoying with family and friends.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

All About Reds

Learn More About Red Wines

When it comes to wine tasting, whether you’re tooling around the Paso Robles Wine Region on a wine tasting tour with The Wine Wrangler or curled up on your sofa with your latest wine shipment from the Paso Robles Wine Club, knowing about the different varietals will give you a better appreciation of wine.

Read on to learn more about the top 5 red varietals and their flavor profiles:

Mourvedre: This Native from Spain is a winner with most wine drinkers who fall in love with its earthiness and flavors of chocolate, coffee and mint.

Zinfandel: A staple in Paso Robles, this varietal thrives in a climate that has hot days and cool nights. Flavors range from intense blackberry and black pepper to anise.

Petite Sirah: This varietal also goes by the name durif and originates from France. When ripened, the small, intensely colored berries are herbaceous with flavors of blueberry and licorice. This varietal is particularly suited to a dry climate and hot weather, making it a favorite in the Paso Robles Wine Region.

Syrah: In 2004, this varietal was the 7th most grown grape in the world. This hardy varietal is prized for its flavors of chocolate and spice, anise, leather and jam.

Grenache: This varietal arrived in California in the 1860s and has been a favorite ever since. A vigorous grower, it’s particularly suited to a hot dry environment. Flavors include intense fruit, menthol and black pepper.


Expanding your knowledge about the different varietals and their flavor profiles can enhance the wine tasting experience. The next time you’re out tasting wine—whether on your own or with The Wine Wrangler, look for these varietals and the common flavors they add to wine.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Winning Wines at The California Mid State Fair

How Winning Wines are Selected at The Mid State Fair
If you’ve been to the California Mid State Fair, you’ve most likely seen the Central Coast Wine Competition. The competition is open to local wineries and both the “Gold Medal” and “Best of…” wines are on display for the public to see. The winning wines are then shown at 4 other county fairs: the Monterey County Fair, the San Benito County Fair, the Santa Barbara County Fair, and the Ventura County Fair. The additional exposure helps market the award winning wines, promotes the tasting rooms, and gives wine lovers the chance to hear the story behind the winners.

Historically, one of the reasons people attended the county fair was to discover new products--and wine was no exception. California’s wine history dates back to the 1800s—well before media outlets were in place to introduce wine to people. Back then, the fair was just about the only place a winemaker could share the fruits of his labor.

After Prohibition, county fairs were instrumental in helping the wine industry regain its footing and they still play an important role. Today, the county fair helps promote local wineries, showcase local wines produced in a region, and helps guide the consumer in choosing wines.


The Paso Robles Wine Club has a similar goal. As a member, you’ll enjoy tasting through a variety of award winning wines from the Paso Robles AVA, but we go the extra mile by selecting wines from boutique producers who are still too small to show up at the Mid State Fair. In fact, membership in our wine club means that you’ll taste local wines that most locals won’t even get to taste. And, if you discover one that you really love, we’ll go the extra mile and ship more your way. Join our wine club today, and start tasting the best the region has to offer.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Choosing the Right White Wine

Let The Paso Robles Wine Club Help You Find the Right Wine
Many of our Paso Robles Wine Club Members first learn about us when they take a wine tour with our sister company, The Wine Wrangler. Based in Paso Robles, The WineWrangler offers both social and private tours throughout the beautiful Paso Robles AVA. It’s no wonder that so many people fall in love with California’s Central Coast—rolling hills dotted with vineyards and oak, pastoral backroads, and ocean vistas. We think our area is one of the best places to venture off the main road and find an idyllic picnic spot.

If you’re on a wine tour with The Wine Wrangler, your expert guide will lead you to the perfect spot and if you choose, provide you with a gourmet deli style lunch, but if your picnic basket is at the ready and you’re venturing off on your own, you might be looking for a few suggestions of the best white wines to take along.

Summer weather on California’s Central Coast can be a little warm, so choosing a white wine to accompany your picnic fare, might be best.

Here are a few recommendations:

Chardonnay: Full-bodied and velvety, Chardonnay ranges from nuanced oak, butter and caramel, with notes of melon, coconut and vanilla. Pairing well with cheese and fruit, it’s also good served alongside dense bread and cured meats.

Sauvignon Blanc: Herbaceous and grassy with notes of green apple, white peach, and apricot, 
Sauvignon pairs well with fresh cheeses—feta and chevre—pasta salad, and antipasto.

Moscato: Sweet and musky with the flavors of roses, peaches, orange and honeysuckle, Moscato is excellent when served with fresh cheeses, fruit and desserts.


Beautiful scenery and world class wines make Paso Robles Wine Country the perfect place to enjoy a picnic. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wines to Drink with Your Burgers

Enjoy Your Burger with The Paso Robles Wine Club
Paso Robles Wine Country is the perfect place for wine and food lovers and for members of The Paso Robles Wine Club a new wine shipment usually means it’s time to invite friends and family over for a wine and food pairing. Once summer arrives, though, it’s all about taking the fun outdoors, firing up the grill, popping a cork, kicking off your shoes and kicking back and enjoying the season.
One of the most popular items to throw on the grill on a summer’s day is a burger and on the California’s Central Coast we have just the wine to pair with your favorite. So whether you prefer a meaty Hearst Ranch beef burger, a hearty lamb burger, a juicy turkey burger, a succulent salmon burger, or a delicious veggie burger, read on for the best wines to pair with your burger.

Classic Cheeseburger: Not many people can resist this all American classic and when made with Hearst Ranch Beef, sharp cheddar cheese, and a brioche bun, all resistance goes by the wayside. Pair this delectable combination with classic Paso Robles Zinfandel.

Lamb Burger: We can’t decide what the best thing is about a grilled lamb burger—the succulent, moist meat or the grassy, herbaceous flavor, but one thing we do know—this burger rocks when paired with a glass of Grenache.

Turkey Burger: Even well past Thanksgiving, it’s pretty easy to find locally raised turkey to make this California classic. Top with thick slices of heirloom tomatoes, red onion, and avocado and pile onto a grilled bun. Pour a glass of fruity Pinot Noir and put your feet up.

Salmon Burger: A summertime favorite, salmon burgers pair well with many things growing in your garden—corn, tomatoes, tarragon—and a range of wines. Our favorite, though, is a glass of chilled rosé and if you can swing it, a place to sit where you can dig your toes into the sand and watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.

Veggie Burger: Far too often, when it comes to pairing food and wine, the vegetarian options get left out, but veggie burgers pair well with wine, too. Choosing the right wine will depend on what kind of veggie burger you’re putting on the grill—grain or bean-based, Portobello mushroom—and whether or not you’re putting cheese on it, but two of our favorite wines to pair are Riesling or rosé.


Summer’s here and there’s no better time to celebrate the burger—or enjoy a glass or wine—so fire up the grill, open up your wine shipment from The Paso Robles Wine Club and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Pretty in Pink: Summer Rosé

Enjoy Rosé with The Paso Robles Wine Club
For wine lovers up and down California’s Central Coast, there’s nothing that says summer quite like a glass of rosé--that light, refreshing, and easy sipping blush wine that seems to be ever so popular this year. But for many people who visit Paso Robles Wine Country for a weekend of wine tasting, they are often confused about where rosé comes from and how it’s made.

Rosé is made in the same manner as any wine and gets its coloring from the grape skins. Depending on how much color the wine maker decides to impart to the wine is the determining factor in how much of the must will be used in the final product. In general, rosé can range in coloring from the palest of pinks to an almost orange color.

Rosé is incredibly popular during the warm summer months as it pairs well with the lighter foods of summer. Additionally, it’s easy to drink and refreshing.

Here are a few favorites:

Mourvèdre Rosé: This rosé is beautifully coral in coloring with nuances of violet and rose, cherries, and even smoke. This is a great wine to pair with grilled lamb burgers on brioche for an elegant and tasty summer BBQ.

Pinot Noir Rosé: With its beautiful coloring and fruit flavorings—think raspberries and strawberries—this light rosé is perfect served with steamed crabs or a side of fresh Pacific Salmon grilled to perfection.

Grenache Rosé: Here’s a rosé with good body, nuances of cherries, apricots, and raspberry, hints of orange and even earthy, mineral qualities. It’s refreshing and goes fabulously with a plate of sliced meats and cheeses and a French bread. Bring this beauty along on your next picnic.


If you haven’t ventured into rosé, there’s no better time than summer to give them a try. They’re perfect with summer food, easy to drink, and the little hint of pink is sure to put a smile on your face. As a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, you’ll receive regular shipments of wines form Paso Robles Wine Country giving you the perfect way to try wines from our area—even a few rosés.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wine and Food Pairing: Creamy Pasta and Viognier

Enjoy Food and Wine Pairing with The Paso Robles Wine Club
California’s Central Coast is one of the fastest growing wine regions in the state, primarily due to the Mediterranean climate typical of Paso Robles Wine Country. At The Paso Robles Wine Club, we chose wines to share with our wine club members from both bigger well-known wineries and those smaller boutique wineries. One of the benefits of joining The Paso Robles Wine Club is that the regular wine shipments include harder to find wines from the Paso Robles AVA, making it possible to enjoy great wines from the area with friends and family. Better yet, the opportunity pair these wines with foods for an incredible experience.

One of the wine varietals that does well on California’s Central Coast is Viognier (which is pronounced “vee-own-ya). Originating in the South of France, viogniers can either be light and lean or creamy with nuances of vanilla, nutmeg, honeysuckle, tangerine, and floral notes. Since this varietal does especially well in warm sunny regions, it’s perfectly suited to the weather in the Paso Robles Wine Country. The grapes do best in regions with cool nights, another win for the Central Coast.


A favorite of ours—Ranchero Cellars Viognier—the genius of winemaker Amy Butler. The Ranchero Cellars Viognier is herbal and floral with notes of green Jasmine tea, peach, apricot, and apple. This is the perfect wine to serve with a creamy pasta primavera. Here’s a recipe to get you started: