Posts Tagged With: zinfandel

Wine Tasting in Paso Robles Part 1

G and I were in Orange County, California last month for a friend’s birthday celebration and decided to drive up to Paso Robles for a few days. The area is popping up in articles all over the place as a hot destination, with many wineries that are producing quality wines comparable to those coming out of Napa and Sonoma. So, we decided to head up there to see what all the fuss was about.

We took Route 101, aka El Camino Real, the historic road connecting the former Alta California‘s 21 missions. It follows the Pacific coastline, occasionally winding through hills and valleys that give one the feeling of being in the old west. Before heading inland to Paso Robles, we drove out to Moonstone Beach to have lunch.

It was cool and cloudy, and the only place open for lunch was the Moonstone Beach Bar and Grill. Great location, but mediocre food. The highlight was seeing a few seals lazing on the rocks. One of them even looked up and waved at us!

Moonstone Beach Seal

From there, we made the short drive inland to Paso Robles. The first place we stopped was Turley.

Turley Wine Cellars

It was definitely one of the better tasting rooms. Joella poured a lovely selection for us, as she told us about the history of the winery. My favorite wine from the list was the 2012 Dusi Vineyard. We put together a case – including a few bottles of the Red Velvet Zinfandel, a nice table wine only sold in the tasting room – to ship home.

Turley Tasting Room

Turley Tasting Menu
Joelle suggested we head over to ZinAlley next, which is just around the corner from Turley. The gate and tasting room doors were wide open, but after standing around for several minutes we noticed a sawhorse outside with a sign that said “Tasting Room Closed” on it. Yes, we felt like idiots. What a shame, since the place was very cool.
Next stop was Thacher Winery. I attended Thacher School in Ojai my sophomore year of high school…it was founded by the winemaker’s great grandfather. We met Sherman Thacher outside and introduced ourselves. He was very friendly and escorted us into the tasting room to sample his wine, some of which have earned several gold medals. Our favorite was the Controlled Chaos, which is a nice blend of Mourvèdre, Zinfandel, and Grenache.
From there, we made our way along the winding road into Paso Robles, to check into our hotel. I admit, it was a splurge, but completely worth it! The Hotel Cheval is absolutely fabulous, with 16 suites that open onto a beautiful courtyard. The staff were all super friendly and the Pony Club Bar has a great nightly happy hour, with half price glasses of wine.
Our first day ended with dinner at Artisan, supposedly the number one restaurant in town. I loved the black truffle pizza, but G was disappointed in his steak – it was overcooked and very dry. Fortunately, the wine was good! Stay tuned for Wine Tasting in Paso Robles Part 2!
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Categories: Travel, Wine, Thou Art My Red Muse | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

New Wine for a New Year

Since I got my book up on Amazon earlier this month, G and I have been celebrating by opening good bottles of wine at night. Not that we intentionally open bad bottles, but we have been spoiling ourselves a little. (It helped when he found some great deals on some of our favorite wines online.)

We’ve also been drinking less, so we can justify drinking a more expensive bottle. 🙂

Here is a new wine we just discovered:


Poizin – “The Wine to Die For.” We opened a 2010 Zinfandel. It hails from Armida Winery in Sonoma County, California. G read the back of the bottle to me while I was getting dinner ready.

As she stands in the clearing the cold wind dances through the trees, swirling her golden mane over her diaphanous, silken black gown.

“What the hell does di-a-phan-ous mean?” he asked. I stopped what I was doing and looked at him.

“What the hell are you reading?” I asked back. “It means transparent.” He went on:

The full moon melts into the paleness of her skin. As she stirs the cauldron of zinfandel she chants an other worldly incantation. From vials as old as the echoes of time she adds minute pinches of her ancestry. Her slender fingers rub together as the grains fall, releasing their magic as they touch the fermenting must. On her face is the look of both good and evil, of love and hate, of life and sex and all that stirs you. What is this unearthly potion? It is Poizin, the wine to die for.

“Well okay then, let’s try it!” I said enthusiastically.

It was fabulous! Very fruity on the nose, smooth and rich going down. Chocolaty, even. We both really liked it. And at around $25, it’s affordable.

Ours didn’t come in a coffin, but check this out:

Photo Credit: Steve Tobak

Photo Credit: Steve Tobak


Try it and let me know what you think!

Categories: Uncategorized, Wine, Thou Art My Red Muse | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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