Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How to Pair Girl Scout Cookies with Wine

Shortbread Cookies are Divine with Sparkling Wines and Champagnes
Anyone still sticking to their New Year’s Resolutions is about to meet up with the most unavoidable temptation of the year: Girl Scout Cookies! All along California’s Central Coast and throughout Paso Robles Wine Country, the Girl Scouts are out in full force with an ample supply of those tasty little treats. Everyone has their favorite—Thin Mints®, Samosas®, Tagalongs®--so, it’s not a matter of which cookie you’re going to eat, but which wine to pair with it.

No need to worry, we’re happy to make a few recommendations—the first, of course, is to join the Paso Robles Wine Club, so you’ll always have a variety of award winning Central Coast wines on hand to enjoy whenever you’d like. Membership is free and we offer a variety of plans to suit both your palate and your pocketbook. Now, back to those cookies….

Most people don’t realize it, but Girl Scout Cookie have been around since the early 1900s. For the first few decades, the cookies were baked at home by the girls and their moms and the only cookie that was made was a traditional shortbread cookie, sometimes topped with a sprinkling of sugar. It wasn’t until decades later that the cookies were baked commercially and trucked all over the United States.

Thankfully, they’re everywhere now and you no longer have to wait weeks to get an order. You can find the Girl Scouts selling them right outside your local Paso Robles grocery store. So grab a few dozen boxes, pick up a few wines and host a Girl Scout Cookie and wine tasting.

Here’s our 5 favorite cookies and an idea of what to pair with them:

  • Trefoils®: Based on the original recipe that started it all, these buttery shortbread cookies are perfect with a sparkling wine or Champagne.
  • Thin Mints®: The perennial favorite—chocolate mint wafers covered in chocolate mint—goes well with Syrah, or a deep ruby Port.
  • Samosas®: These popular toasted coconut, caramel and chocolate cookies are perfect with paired with a tawny Port or dessert wine.
  • Tagalongs®: Peanut butter cookies drenched in chocolate are to die for when paired with a Syrah.
  • Do-si-dos®: These delectable cookies feature a peanut buttery filling sandwiched between two perfectly round disks of oatmeal and peanut butter cookies.  

Girl Scout Cookies are a seasonal treat and the money the Girl Scouts raise goes to help support their troops. So, go ahead and buy a few (dozen) boxes and enjoy them. You’ll have fun pairing them with good wines and sharing them with your friends and family—or, if you prefer, eating them all by yourself.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Finding Your Perfect Match

Find the Right Wine for You

If you're visiting Paso Robles Wine Country, you'll have more than a few opportunities to taste wine, whether you're on a Wine Wrangler Adventure Tour or sampling a new wine over dinner. California's Central Coast has a range of geographical features and soil types and with 12 AVA's throughout the Paso Robles area, you're bound to find one--or many more--that are a perfect match for your palate.

One of the best ways to find a wine you love is to taste as many wines as possible. This will help you learn to identify the flavor profiles that are pleasing to your palate. As a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, you'll enjoy a selection of premium wines from the Central Coast delivered right to your door. This will give you an opportunity to taste hard to find boutique wines in your home, without having to figure out what to buy on your own.

By tasting wines regularly, you’ll also develop your palate and become accustomed to certain flavors in wine. To start, learn how to identify the 4 most common fruit groups found in wine. They are:

Black Fruit: Think about the taste of jam. This group includes black cherry, black raspberry, blackberry, black currant and fig. Look for these flavors in Cabernet.

Red Fruit: To best understand this group, think of candied cherries, raspberry, strawberry, cherry and cranberry. Grenache, Sangiovese and Pinot Noir are often loaded with red fruit flavors.

Tree Fruits: Summer fruits like apricots, peaches and nectarines make for this flavor, but late harvest fruits like pears and apples also fit the profile. Characteristic of white wines, like Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier.

Citrus Fruits: Crisp and sometimes tart, look for pink grapefruit, Myer lemon, Key lime, orange and even the tropical fruits, pineapple and passion fruit. You’ll likely taste these in white wines, such as Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Grigio.

Finding your perfect wine match takes time—tasting wine, exploring flavors, learning how to find identify the fruit profiles—but like any good relationship, the payoff is well worth the effort—and besides, who doesn’t like to taste more wine?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Falling in Love: Pink Bubbles for Your Valentine

Woo your true love with a bottle of pink sparkling wine

When the famous Parisian fashion designer, Coco Channel quipped, “I only drink champagne on two occasions. When I am in love and when I am not,” she quickly summed up what we all feel—there’s never a bad time for champagne. However, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner and the landscape throughout the Central Coast of California springing into bloom, at the Paso Robles Wine Club we couldn’t think about a better time to extoll the pleasures of drinking pink bubbles, of course.

There’s no need to head off in search of a bottle of French bubbly—there are several fabulous sparkling wines produced throughout Paso Robles Wine Country. The Wine Wrangler offers a variety of wine tasting tours where you can enjoy sampling some of the county’s finest, or you can head off in search of one of these blushing beauties:

Goat Bubbles Rosẻ: With grapes grown in the Solomon Hills Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley AVA, Flying Goat Cellars ups the romance with this pretty pink sparkler with notes of apple and kiwi. Enjoy it with steamed Dungeness crabs dipped in draw butter and served alongside crusty sourdough bread.

Pomegranate Cuvẻe: Pretty in pink goes heart-thumping rougẻ--a pink sparkler with the added benefit of pomegranate—long revered for added vitality. Woo your sweetheart with this beauty, or better yet, enjoy it overlooking the spectacular romantic landscape of Carmondy-Mcknight with a picnic lunch and a book of poems.

Derby Sparkling Brut Rosẻ: This salmon-hued palate pleaser from Derby Vineyards has everything a girl could want from the notes of raspberry and almond to the soft pretty bubbles.

Whether you’re looking to pop a bottle of bubbly, or pop the question, there’s nothing more fun or festive than going pink. And, if you’re looking to win someone’s heart for keeps, we suggest a gift membership to the Paso Robles Wine Club. With regular shipments of Central Coast wines throughout the year, you’ll never be out of that special someone’s mind—or heart. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Match Made in Heaven: Wine and Chocolate

Sweethearts Unite: Pairing Wine and Chocolate

The road to true love is made a lot smoother with a gift of chocolate and wine. Membership to The Paso Robles Wine Club will surely make any wine lover’s heart pound with excitement, but to really help guide Cupid’s arrow, add a box—or two—of decadent handmade chocolates.

Pairing chocolate and wine isn’t something new—especially on Valentine’s Day. Those fabulous velvet covered heart-shaped candy boxes bedecked with everything from silk flowers to elaborate bows date back to the 1890s—and some versions were even made of blown glass. These treasures were the surest way to a woman’s heart and since chocolate fires the same feel good synapses in the brain that love does it was a gift that practically guaranteed a few smooches in return.

Like wine, chocolate is an agricultural product. Chocolate doesn’t grow on trees, but the cocoa tree produces fruit containing cocoa beans. The trees take anywhere from 5 to 8 years to mature, with one tree capable of producing 5 pounds of chocolate. Once the cocoa beans are extracted from the fruit, they are sundried and then roasted prior to being turned into any of the more popular varieties of chocolate.

For a truly memorable Valentine’s Day gift, take your sweetheart on a wine tasting tour with the Wine Wrangler and along the way, pick up a selection of wines to bring home and pair with chocolate. Or, if you’re already a member of The Paso Robles Wine Club, pick a few bottles from your recent shipment.

Here are our favorite chocolates and the wines that we like to pair with them:

White Chocolate: Actually, white chocolate isn’t chocolate at all since it doesn’t contain cocoa, but this confectionary is a perennial favorite for the unique and adventurous and with notes of honey and caramel, it pairs well with Muscat or a Demi-sac or sweet Champagne.

Milk Chocolate: Long a favorite of children for its mild mannered appeal, this classic has gotten the grownup treatment in recent years. Made by diluting cocoa beans in milk, the finished product is creamy, lush and round in the finish. Pair milk chocolate with a creamy Sherry or aged Port for a palate pleasing sensation.

Bittersweet Chocolate: Mysterious, hard to pin down and alluring, bittersweet chocolate is made from adding small amounts of sugar to chocolate liquor. It runs the gamut from slightly sweet and smoky to more confectionary and less bitter. An excellent match for Grenache.

Dark Chocolate: A favorite of health nuts because it has low amounts of added sugar and lots of flavonoids, dark chocolate is rich in cocoa and has a definitive depth, dimension and complexity. Serve it with a late harvest Zinfandel for a mind-boggling taste sensation.

Chocolate Covered Cherries and Dipped Strawberries: Sweets for the sweets—perfect cherries and juicy strawberries enrobed in chocolate are a decadent and classical Valentine’s Day treat. Serve them with a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot for a match made in heaven.

Whether you’re spending the day on a wine tour or opening your latest shipment of boutique wines from The Paso Robles Wine Club, pairing wines from California’s Central Coast with chocolates is the fastest way to your true love’s heart.