Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Talking Turkey: Choosing the Right Wine for Your Holiday Meal

Selecting the Right Wine for Your Holiday Feast with The Paso Robles Wine Club

November in Paso Robles Wine Country brings cooler temperatures and morning fog, which turns the rolling landscape into a picture perfect postcard made for the Thanksgiving holiday. The long weekend brings family and friends together to eat, drink and make merry, but with a holiday feast that includes both light and dark meat and as many savory sides as the heart desires, trying to find the perfect wine can leave any host perplexed, if not riddled with anxiety. If you’re a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, you’ve probably already set aside a few bottles for your holiday dinner, but if not, read on for a few suggestions on what to serve at your Thanksgiving feast:

Go for the bubbles! A great way to kick off the day is to pour your guests a glass of sparkling wine, cava, or Champagne to get the festivities underway. Set out a triple cream cheese with water crackers alongside so that guests have something to munch on while waiting for dinner.

Let’s Talk Turkey:  With a mix of complicated herbs and light and dark meat, it’s hard to pinpoint what wine to serve with turkey. Here’s a few wines that will go well with the bird and the sides:
·         Viognier or Sauvignon Blanc are both refreshing and with notes of honey, pear and apple would work well with the turkey, or, even a crisp, light, fruity rose.

·         Riesling strikes a balance between sugar and acidity and it can hold its own against an array of spices, so it’s a good match for sweet potato casserole, gravy and even pumpkin pie.
Think Late Harvest: Some would argue that the best part of the Thanksgiving feast is the dessert table, but finding a wine to pair with the traditional fare of pumpkin, sweet potato and pecan pie can seem impossible until you discover the magic of a late harvest wine. With their high sugar content they’re a good match for sweet, spicy desserts.

A good Thanksgiving meal will give you leftovers for days and while it’s a good idea to get outside and get a little exercise to counter all of the rich food, the long holiday weekend is also the perfect time to gather with family and friends and embark on a Wine Wrangler wine tasting tour through the Paso Robles Wine Region—or beyond to Santa Ynez or Monterey.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Effects of the Drought on Harvest 2015

Enjoy the Stars of Harvest 2105 with a membership to The Paso Robles Wine Club
In Paso Robles Wine Country and all over California’s Central Coast, people are eagerly waiting for the winter rains to begin in earnest. Weather forecasters are predicting a very wet rainy season for California and just about everyone has their fingers crossed that El Niño will provide us with some much needed relief—and moisture—after 4 long years of drought.

Grapevines love a Spartan life and can easily thrive in difficult growing situations. After all, some of the world’s best wines come from regions where water is scarce and the roots of the vines need to go deeper into the soil in search of more water. But, after several years of minimal moisture, even robust vines can begin to weaken and become more prone to diseases, such as leaf roll and red blotch. Additionally, the soil can quickly become potassium deficient, throwing the vineyard team’s focus onto triage and strategic planning.

Drought affects wine in many ways, including:

Smaller GrapesWhen vines receive less water, the grapes are smaller in size. This process makes for deeper flavors in the fruit because the fructose is more concentrated. Consequently, more water would have the opposite effect, diluting the concentration of sugars. So, theoretically, when the vines are forced to survive on less water, the wine will have more intensity in flavor.

Stress on the VineThere are several factors that can put stress on the vines and drought is certainly at the top of the list. When water is scarce, the roots of the vines will go deeper into the soil seeking more water, a process that adds other flavors to the finished product.

In theory, the more wood that comes in contact with the soil, the more those flavors will impart themselves on the finished product. Similarly, the deeper the roots go into the soil, the more surface contact they will have with the microclimate and mixed nuances of the soil. This is where wines will typically pick up flavors of graphite, iron, and minerality.

Soil Matters: When it comes to wine, soil matters, not only in regard to the varietals, but also in the style of wines and the water needs of the vines. A major component of wine making is the wine maker’s understanding of the depth and size of the vine's root system and how much water the soil can hold. Typically, alluvial, or sandy soils, need more frequent irrigation than Calcareous clay soils (which has a higher moisture content and stays cooler).

So, what are the effects of the drought on Harvest 2015?

Smaller Yield: Winemakers throughout Paso Robles Wine Country have reported a substantially smaller yield in 2015 and for some vineyards, the yield is down by as much as 50%.

Differences in Fruit: With less moisture, overall cooler temperatures, and an unusual spate of summer rain, some winemakers have noticed differences in the coloring of the fruit and some have even described the variances of hues as ‘impressive’.

What these factors point to is more concentration in flavor and as long as sugar development has been adequately controlled, even with lower yields, we could enjoy some great wines from this harvest. Wines to anticipate--Mouvẻdre and Grenache—both predicted to be stars of the 2015 Harvest.

Over the coming months, members of The Paso Robles Wine Club will enjoy tasting through a number of wines with more concentrated flavors and with each bottle they will come to more fully understand how the flavor of wine is crafted not only by the artistry of the winemaker, but by Mother Nature herself.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wine Winners

Win Big with a Paso Robles Wine Club Membership

It’s no secret that Paso Robles Wine Country wins big when it comes to wine. In fact, not too long ago, Paso Robles Wine Country was named Wine Enthusiast Magazine's 2013 Wine Region of the Year and many of our Paso Robles Wine Club members enjoyed tasting a number of unique, high quality wines from the area.

Not surprisingly, with each passing year Paso Robles and California’s Central Coast is becoming a top wine region, producing some of the top wines on the market. We’re always glad when wine aficionados and newbies take an interest in our part of the world and the really great wines in our area, so we look forward to the accolades and awards.

Just recently, Wine Enthusiast Magazine announced their 2015 Wine Star Awards—a really big deal with a focus that has no boundaries—literally—and includes reviewing wine stars, wineries, and wines from every country. After the winners are announced and they'll have ample time to bask in the glory of winning before being swept away to New York for a special dinner and award ceremony in January.

In the winner’s circle for 2015, in the category of American Winery, is our very own Justin Winery—a favorite stop on our Wine Wrangler Adventure Tour and home to some amazing wines that we can’t seem to enjoy enough. Kudos and congratulations to the team at Justin Winery and all they’ve done to put the Paso Robles Wine Region on the map.

Other categories in the 2015 Wine Star Awards include:

  • The Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Person of the Year
  • Winemaker
  • Sommelier/Wine Director
  • European Winery
  • New World Winery
  • Wine Region
  • Importer
  • Mixologist/Brand Ambassador
  • Innovator
  • Spirit Brand
  • Brewery
You can read all about it by visiting The Wine Enthusiast Magazine. And, if you'd like to enjoy a great glass of wine to sip on while you're reading up on the latest and greatest, we'd like to recommend joining our Paso Robles Wine Club, where you'll receive regular shipments of the best wines that California's Central Coast has to offer.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Red Wine Primer

Taste Unique Red Wines with a Paso Robles Wine Club Membership

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.