Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chosing the Right Wines for Your Easter Feast

Pick the right wine for your Easter Feast

California’s Central Coast is bursting with beauty, the spring landscape a feast for the eyes. A glance of the calendar—or a walk down any candy aisle—serves as a quick reminder that Easter is just days away. For members of The Paso Robles Wine Club, you might have a bottle or two set aside for the holiday feast—but, if you’re in need of suggestions of the best wines to pair with your Easter Feast, read on…

The Easter menu can vary widely, depending on family tradition and how many guests you’re planning to serve.

Here are 3 of the more popular options and wines to fit each menu:

Baked Ham: A traditional on the Easter menu, ham comes in many variations from the salty smoked country hams to the more mild and definitely sweeter honey baked hams. No matter the glaze—often tropical or peachy—the main flavor profile of ham is salt. The best way to balance the saltiness is by selecting a fruit forward wine. Chose a fruity Paso Robles Zinfandel or a Pinot to bring out the best in your holiday ham.

Leg or Lamb: Lamb, whether a sizeable leg, roasted in a hot oven, or a rack—perfect for two--coated in bread crumbs and carefully roasted to perfection, often has a starring role on the Easter menu—especially on California’s Central Coast where there’s such a high availability of local lamb. With a characteristic gaminess and earthy profile, lamb is best served with a Paso Robles Cabernet or Zinfandel rich with black fruit—blueberries, blackberries, plum—and the sweetness of violets and rose. For the best match, choose a wine with a little gaminess—a perfect match for the wild and herbaceous flavors of lamb.

Easter Brunch: Always a popular springtime option, an Easter Brunch can be formal or casual and can offer everything from the traditional ham to a mix of seafood, from plump shrimp to delicate salmon. Trying to find the right wine to suite every item—and every palate—is nearly impossible, so the best option is to choose a Paso Robles Rosé. Many people mistakenly think that all Rosés taste the same, but since they’re made from a variety of grapes, they vary in both flavor and profile. Try to select one that will nicely match the majority of your brunch items, such a sweet Zinfandel Rosé, a floral Mourvèdre Rosé, a fruity Sangiovese Rosé or a savory Tempranillo Rosé.

A rite of spring and a most enjoyable affair, the Easter Feast is perfect for trying a new wine, something that members of The Paso Robles Wine Club enjoy throughout the year when they receive their regular shipments of Paso Robles boutique and unique wines, which always includes something to share with family and friends for a special occasions.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

3 Tips for Enjoying a Picnic in Paso Robles Wine Country

Enjoy a Spring Picnic

If you live along California’s Central Coast, March is not an usual time of the year to start thinking about going on a  picnic—even if just about everywhere else in the country, people are still trying to dig out of winter.

We’re lucky to live in an area as beautiful as Paso Robles Wine Country and even luckier to have beautiful spring landscapes to enjoy—and it doesn’t hurt that with over 200 wineries, we always have new wines to taste. And we never have to choose between the two, because we can—and do-- spend the day wine tasting and picnicking.

If you’re a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, each of your regular shipments includes several wines that are perfect to take along on a picnic. Aside from enjoying the wine, packing a local wine into your next picnic basket is the best way to enjoy it. You’ll revel in the natural scenic beauty of the Central Coast and with increased sensory perception, will find your palate more sensitive and open to the flavor profiles in the wine.

Wondering what to bring along for the perfect Paso Robles Wine Country picnic? 

Here are our 3 tips for enjoying yourself:

Pack Your Basket: While you’ll want to pack foods that pair well with your chosen wine, you don’t want to overlook the wonderful seasonal fare. For spring, a fresh goat cheese and a baguette, perhaps some sliced ham, fresh strawberries, even a simple tossed grain salad with baby spinach and fresh herbs are all foods that travel well and are satisfying. For dessert, pick up a jar of artisan jam or local honey to slather on the bread and a piece of good cheese from Rinconada Dairy.

Don’t Rush Yourself: Of course, the reason you’re packing a picnic basket is to enjoy eating it among the beauty of nature, but don’t think of your day as just getting to a destination. The best discoveries come when you allow yourself the luxury of wandering and exploring at a leisurely pace. Don’t forget to pack your camera—and a jacket—and plan on making plenty of side stops along the way.

Make Room for Souvenirs: One of the best things about living along California’s Central Coast is being able to drive from one picturesque town to the next—and wander through each. Whether you’re in the mood for a little antiquing in Cambria, a quick shopping spree in downtown Paso Robles, or a walk along the main road of historic Santa Margarita, make sure you leave a little extra room in your trunk for a trinket, be it a bottle of wine you’ve never tried or a vintage find for your garden.

One of the best times of the year to enjoy Paso Robles Wine Country is in the spring. Rolling green hills, colorful blooming quince, plum, almond and cherry trees dot the horizon and the wildflowers are in full bloom. Grab a bottle of wine from your latest Paso Robles Wine Club shipment (or one you’ve been saving for a special day), pack a picnic lunch and hit the road!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Blind Tasting: Challenging Your Palate

Tasting Blind Develops Your Palate
Love wine, but feel like you’re sticking with the same bottle over and over again? Our palates easily and quickly become lazy when we drink the same wines repeatedly and even worse, those wonderful nuances that first drew us to our favorite varietal can get lost in the shuffle. 

As a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, you receive regular shipments of unique, boutique Paso Robles wines throughout the year, so your palate can stay sharp. But if you’re not a member, you may be drinking the same tried and true bottle over and over again and most likely, not enjoying it as much.

Just as you lose muscle tone when you’re not exercising regularly, the same is true of your palate. When you reach for the same wine—or food—with little variance, your palate doesn't have to work to figure out new flavor profiles.

If you have ever wondered what tasting blind could do for your palate, wonder no more, because it’s time to share how making the simple move to cover up a wine label can help you become a better and more creative taster, challenge your palate and help you enjoy wine even more—as if that’s even possible.

Learn the value of objectivity: We’d like to think that labels don’t matter, but when it comes to wine, it’s challenging not to make judgments about what’s in the glass once we see what’s on the label. By tasting blind, wine has to be evaluated solely by what’s in the glass and the flavors that the palate picks up. By removing the unconscious bias, our palate is more precise and we judge the wine by its own merits. Other parameters such as region, soil, winemaker and price then become secondary measures.

Tap into your memory: The real fun of tasting wine is tapping into those distant but ever so familiar flavors from our own experiences—especially childhood. When we taste wine and pick up the flavors of cotton candy or red hots or cherry taffy, we’re doing more than just working our palates; we’re working our brains, too.

Enjoy the discussion: The best blind wine tasting happens in a small group. The first task is for everyone to taste the wine—no talking here—and to make notes, then once everyone has completed their ‘work’, it’s time to open up the conversation and compare notes. The beauty of this is that you’ll learn from others and in the process, teach them, as well.

If you haven’t experienced a blind wine tasting, there’s no better time than now to start planning. If you’re a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, grab a few bottles from your recent shipment, or head to the store and select 4 or 5 wines. A blind tasting works best when you stay in the same region and style, but aside from covering up the labels, there really are no rules.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Spring in the Vineyard

Paso Robles Wine Country: Spring in the Vineyards

In spring, all along California’s Central Coast and throughout Paso Robles Wine Country, the vineyards are starting to come alive. Seemingly overnight, the vineyard managers, crews, and winemakers are back at work (although in reality, they never left). The bare bones of the vines begin to show the green of bud break and soon enough, the canopy will explode and the vines will run wild until the fruit forms. Spring is a busy time of year in the vineyard—good news for Paso Robles Wine Club members who are looking forward to tasting new vintages in the coming years.

In spring, the dormant vineyard bursts with life and activity and there is much work to be done. Here are some of the things that are happening in the spring vineyard:

Cultivating Fertility: After the winter rains, the greenery needs to be mown. This mowing helps cultivate a fertile soil by adding rich nutrients.

Building Soil Tilth: For many, this may be a foreign concept, but in the vineyard, building soil tilth is the process of cultivating healthy soil to support root growth as well as making sure there is adequate air filtration so that water can move through the soil and reach the roots. Finally, soil tilth is about establishing and maintaining a healthy soil ecosystem that allows the vines to flourish.

Maintaining the Vineyard: Maintenance goes on all year long, but in the spring, the vineyard crew is on high alert for any pests or diseases which could endanger the vines. They’ll also train the shoots for maximum sun exposure, but in general, they won’t pick up their pruning shears until early May.

Work in the vineyards ensures wine lovers everywhere that they will enjoy many good wines in the months to come. As a member of The Paso Robles Wine Club, you’ll enjoy regular shipments of award-winning boutique wines from Paso Robles Wine Country. Each shipment is hand-selected and delivered to your door to enjoy at your leisure with friends and family, or tuck into your cellar for a special occasion.