Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Take the Mystery Out of Buying Good Wine: Join Paso Robles Wine Club

Drink Wines You Love

Everyone loves getting mail, especially when that means opening your door to find a box filled with several bottles of wine. In Paso Robles, a person can’t go wine tasting without avoiding the temptation to join at least one wine club. However, if you wanted to experience a wide variety of wines from Paso Robles Wine Country, you’d have to join more than one wine club.

Joining Paso Robles Wine Club, will give you the opportunity to taste the best of Paso Robles wines—hand-selected—from over 200 wineries. Many of the wines are boutique wines that are hard—if not impossible—to find in a wine shop or store, while others are true treasures that the average wine lover many never discover on their own.

Here are 5 reasons why you should join Paso Robles Wine Club:

Learn More About Wine: Whether you’re just beginning your journey as a wine lover, or you’ve been perfecting your skills for a long time, you’ll enjoy reading about each of the choices in your shipment. You’ll learn more about the region, the winemakers, the styles of wines, and each of the varietals.

Tap Into Our Expertise: Even people who have a good understanding of wine can feel overwhelmed in a wine shop or on the wine aisle of their local supermarket. At the Paso Robles Wine Club, we chose our wines based on our own wine expertise and understanding of the area. This takes the guess work out of wine shopping and provides you with interesting and good wines to explore.

Enjoy Exclusive Wines: One of the wonderful things about exploring wineries on California’s Central Coast is stumbling upon all of the small, boutique wineries. Many of these extraordinarily good wines never make it out of the winery, let alone into the larger distribution chain. However, many of these wines do make it to the members of the Paso Robles Wine Club.

Take Your Palate on an Adventure: Membership in a wine club has its perks. Namely, with every shipment, you get to take your palate on an adventure, tasting wines that are new to you and exploring varietals and styles you may never have encountered on your own.

Add to Your Wine Collection: Collecting wine is more than a passing fancy. Many people collect wine so that they always have a bottle on hand to celebrate life’s special events. As a member of our wine club, you’ll have a selection from which you can drink immediately, and others to tuck away for later.

If you’ve been thinking about joining a wine club, don’t just join any wine club where you’re locked into the same bottles of wine every time; join Paso Robles Wine Club and enjoy tasting a variety of unique, hand-selected wines from Paso Robles Wine Country.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Sniffs and Whiffs: Unlocking Your Sense of Smell

Become a Better Wine Taster: Unlock Your Sense of Smell

Long associated with a time of renewal, once April and May arrive, our senses seem to come alive. Of course, the sheer beauty of Paso Robles Wine Country and the surrounding areas that make up California’s Central Coast are awash in painterly colors and pastoral scenes. But, it’s the scents of nature—the freshly tilled earth, the burst of wisteria and honeysuckle and wild daffodils, the fog that hangs thick with eucalyptus—that really gets our attention.

As a wine aficionado—or a wine lover who is just beginning to unlock the secrets of wine—you’ve undoubtedly learned the value of your sense of smell in learning to appreciate wine and unlocking the preferences of your own palate. As a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, in each shipment of wine, you’ll enjoy a variety of unique and interesting wines that with a few sniffs and whiffs will bring Paso Robles Wine Country to life in your own home.

Of all the senses, our sense of smell is the most elusive. It’s hard to remember smells and even harder to describe them to others. We process smells through a complicated biological process that occurs when molecules—light and volatile (quick to evaporate) particles--make contact with the nose. Once that happens, hundreds of receptors go to work to process the aromas by tapping into the part of our brain that recalls similar smell memories.

The best way to improve your sense of smell—and to enjoy wine on a deeper level—is to actively work on training your nose. You can easily do this by becoming more aware of the world around you. What does fresh cut grass smell like, or Sunday’s bacon as it sizzles in the pan? Keep a small notebook nearby to journal these smells, using adjectives and similar experiences; later on, these notes will prove invaluable as you taste through new wines.

As you work on your sense of smell, taste wine purposely by increasing your sensory awareness. 

Here are 3 tips to get you started:

Swirl Your Wine: Before taking your first sip of wine, swirl the wine in your glass. Doing so draws oxygen from the air and opens up the wine. This makes it easier for the molecules to go airborne and make contact with your nose.

Sniff Your Wine: Next, sniff your wine. Do so by taking small, demure sniffs, continuing to swirl the wine. You’ll likely notice that with each sniff, you smell something new, whether it’s the scent of wood or fruit, spice or floral.

Whiff Your Wine: While sniffing is demure, whiffing is bold. To whiff your wine, you’ll not only use your nose, but your mouth. You do this by opening your mouth and inhaling deeply, using both your nose and your palate. This involves the entire olfactory process into the mix and literally allows you to drink in the aroma.

As you’re sniffing and whiffing your way through the tasting experience, jot down your notes about the smells you encounter. It’s also helpful to note the wine, the AVA, and the varietal. This information will help you later on to unlock your previous tasting memories and bring a deeper awareness to your wine tasting experiences.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Best Wines for Tax Day

Pour Yourself a Glass of Wine

People all along California’s Central Coast and throughout Paso Robles Wine Country will spend the day finalizing their tax forms and then making that mad dash to the post office in order to beat the deadline. Tax season is naturally a time of anxiety and pressure, so after weeks—if not months of working your way through receipts, pay stubs, and endless forms, you’re likely ready for a glass of wine. If you’re a member of The Paso Robles Wine Club, this would be the perfect time to grab a bottle from your latest shipment and pop the cork.

If not, read on for our recommendations on the best wines to pour, depending on your status.

Getting a Refund: Of course you have every intention of tucking away your windfall for a rainy day, but on your way to the bank, why not stop off and pick up a bottle of bubbles to celebrate? No celebration is complete without that telltale pop of the cork and spray of foam that only comes from a bottle of bubbles. There are a handful of wineries on the Central Coast that produce sparkling wines, including Laetitia Vineyards and Cellars, Cass Winery, Chronic Cellars and Domaine Le Mieux. Any one of these would pair perfectly with a tax refund.

Filing an Extension: Still have far too many receipts to sort through and forms to fill out? Aside from needing an extension, you need a little time to relax and ground yourself, so pour yourself a glass of Merlot—and grab the chocolate covered nuts. The earthiness of the nuts and chocolate are the perfect match for Merlot’s big berry, fruit forward profile and the soft tannins will play expertly with the chocolate. Plus, the chocolate will flood your brain with natural feel good endorphins—exactly what you need after all the stress of taxes.

Owing Money to the IRS: Go for your favorite red. Wine—especially red wine—is full of antioxidants and flavonoids, most notably, Resveratrol, which increases HDL (the good cholesterol), protects the arteries, lowers blood pressure and lowers the risk of heart attack—all beneficial in countering the blues you’ll feel when you're writing that check to the IRS.

When Benjamin Franklin quipped the now famous, “Nothing in this world can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” it was centuries before the government ratified the 16th Amendment and made taxes inevitable. While we can’t avoid them, we can certainly make tax season more palatable by pouring ourselves a glass of wine. Cheers!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Language of Wine: Choosing the Right Words

If you're a wine lover, improving your vocabulary can make you happier

When it comes to wine tasting, whether you’re tooling around Paso Robles Wine Country 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, having a basic wine vocabulary will help you enjoy talking about the wine more confidently and fine tune your palate. There are just about as many adjectives to describe wines as there are wines, so it will take time to build your vocabulary.

Here are 3 main flavor profiles and the nuanced flavors you’ll find in each:

Flowers: Anytime we talk about the floral characteristics, we’re talking about the flavors that remind us of certain types of flowers. These can range from the delicate to the bold and include the following:

White Flowers: Typically found in white wines, white flowers include apple blossoms, gardenia and lily.
Rose: The unmistakable aroma of fresh cut roses, delicate and pretty, can be found in both red and white wines.
            Violets: Heady and deeply perfumed, think candied violets; found in red wines.

Fruit: All wines have some fruit flavor to them, but depending on the varietal and style of wine, they can be fruit forward or slightly nuanced. Here are three of the most common:

            Jammy: Think ripe fruits; this flavor profile is common in high alcohol red wines.
Tropical Fruit: You might never think you’d come across tropical fruit flavors in wine, but this is a common profile in white wines. These tropical flavors include banana, pineapple, coconut and lychee.
Citrus: Another common flavor profile in white wines, citrus encompasses lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange and citrus zest.

Spice: Spice, of course, denotes any of the warm spices found in wines. These include the wintry warm spices typical of holiday fare, such as cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, but can also include woodsy flavors.

Anise: You’ll recognize this flavor almost immediately as it tastes like licorice or those delicious Italian cookies.
Clove: Clove is woodsy in flavor and sweet; generally, clove is present in aged-oak.
Musky: This bold flavor profile isn’t for the faint of heart. Animalistic, sweaty and spicy, this can be an intense flavor; typical of red wines, particularly those in the Old World style.

Becoming better at wine tasting requires more than just drinking more wine (although, there’s no harm in that), but a commitment to building a bigger wine vocabulary and a clearer understanding of the different flavor profiles and varietals. To improve your depth, get out and taste more wine, or sign up for our wine club membership today and enjoy the convenience of tasting a wide variety of boutique and award-winning wines from Paso Robles Wine Country in your own home.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wine Tasting and Easter Candy: Why You Should Raid the Easter Basket

Go Ahead--Raid the Easter Basket to Enjoy with Wine
Spring has finally sprung along California’s Central Coast and all throughout Paso Robles Wine Country thoughts are turning to the Easter holiday. If you’re a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, you’ve probably already gone through your latest shipment and found the perfect wine for the holiday meal, but don’t stop there—one of the best ways to enjoy wine this holiday is to wait until the kids are asleep and then raid their Easter baskets. Read on to learn what Easter candies to pair with which wines, then kick back and enjoy.

Here are our favorite ways to enjoy wine with Easter candy:

The White Chocolate Easter Bunny: Since white chocolate does not contain cocoa, it is not really chocolate at all, but white chocolate is a classic Easter favorite. With notes of honey and caramel, it pairs well with Muscat, Demi-sac or sweet Champagne—and go ahead and eat the ears first if it makes you happy.

Pastel M&M’s®: It’s hotly debated whether or not the pastel M&M’s® taste any different than the regular ones, so grab a bag and find out for yourself. The mild mannered milk chocolate is made by diluting cocoa beans in milk leaving the finished product creamy, lush and round in the finish. Pair your M&M’s®--or any milk chocolate Easter treat—with a creamy Sherry or aged Port for a palate pleasing sensation.

Marshmallow Peeps®: Ah, the beloved marshmallow treats so coveted by some fans that they’ll take advantage of the Easter season to fortify their stockpile. These airy, marshmallow sweet treats are the perfect match for a bottle of bubbly rosẻ--a match guaranteed to add to the festive holiday feel.

Dark Chocolate Truffles: Don’t feel guilty if you go for the dark chocolate truffles. Long 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. Wait until the kids are asleep and then pair your truffles with a late harvest Zinfandel for a mind-boggling taste sensation.

Red Velvet and Raspberry Jelly Eggs: Can’t seem to get enough of those wildly fruity Easter eggs? Well, sweets for the sweet—the combination of dark red fruits and jelly suspended in chocolate is a traditional Easter treat. Serve them with a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot for a palate pleasing match

It’s customary to enjoy the Easter feast with a good wine, but most people overlook the delights awaiting them in those Easter baskets. Have a little fun this year by pairing your favorite Easter candies with a few good wines and treat your palate to a fun end to the holiday.