We almost didn’t go to Midnight Cellars on out last trip to Paso Robles. We had already been to three wineries and I had made a rule that this time, we would cut ourselves off after three. That didn’t happen. We slid right back into our 4 to 5 wineries a day bit. Oh, well.
Walking into Midnight Cellars, it was just half an hour before most of the wineries were shutting down for the day. The winery was down the street from a few others we had visited (Caliza, Grey Wolf, Niner — no worries, I’ll talk about them all in future posts) and I had seen it when I was googling around for new places to visit during our anniversary trip to Paso.
We walk in and our greeted by a very, very old cat. Chardonnay has been around for 17 years! We were the only ones there and ordered up two tastings. The woman who helped us was very sweet. She had grown up in Paso and many of the winemakers in the area were her her childhood friends’ dads. Outside the window we caught a group of ducklings running around with mama out of sight. It was all very quaint on the 28-acre estate.
We took home the Aurora and the winery kindly waived both our tasting fees. We cracked open the bottle a few days after returning home. It’s been hot outside and we were craving a white. Right away, the wine emits a sweet smell, but it doesn’t taste saccharine. Instead, it tastes tart with tropical fruit flavors shining through. Grapefruit!
This is a crisp wine that’s a quarter each Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Marsanne. Rhone varietals represent! I’m a fan of rich, dry Rousannes and I was surprised to see it quite a bit while we were in Paso this time around (Paso tends to be a red-loyal town with few wineries that I’ve seen offering a healthy white wine tasting. One winery even told us that they stopped putting whites in their wine club shipments because so many people complained that they wanted all reds!) You could taste the citrus of the Marsanne shining through and the mixture made for a flavored dance bopping around in your mouth.
Nuts & Bolts:
Winery: Midnight Cellars
Origin: Paso Robles
Alcohol content: 13.6%
When to drink: We drank this while watching the 2nd Harry Potter as we are revisiting the entire series, but I can see this as a perfect wine for sunny picnic days. Would be great even sitting out in the yard, munching on a citrusy ceviche.
So you’ve all seen me write about my other half. He’s my humorous sounding board when I get too metaphorical about the wine I’m drinking. Well, I’ll soon be Mrs. Other Half and we did our engagement photos recently. Since wine is a passion we both share, we decided to incorporate it into our shoot.
The problem was—and not sure this is no much a problem as a dilemma—we picked a bottle that was too good. After we poured some of the 2013 Saucelito Canyon Grenache Blanc for the pictures and started sipping, we couldn’t stop.
We picked up the crisp white on Valentine’s Day while visiting San Luis Obispo, so it was sentimental. But it also came with a screw top, making it practical. Win, win.
The Rhone varietal is fruity, melony, in fact, and zesty.
Nuts and Bolts
Winery: Saucelito Canyon
Type: Grenache Blanc
Origin: San Luis Obispo
Price: $24, but we got a free tasting at the winery when we bought the bottle
Alcohol content: 14.2 %
When to drink: Get a B&B by the beach and open up this baby at sunset while sitting on the deck.
This wine comes from a sister label of Baileyana. I reviewed their Pinot Noir after my friend gave me a whole case of it post-work party.
I went to Baileyana’s Winery in San Luis Obispo with some friends after visiting Wolff Vineyards. Wolff was so much better by leaps and bounds. They brought you your pastings out on the patio and you could bring cheese and they even complimented me on my cheese choice (the Toscano soaked in Syrah from Trader Joe’s all day, everyday)! But at Baileyana’s it was hard enough to get anyone to notice you, and honestly the pours weren’t that stellar.
I bought the 2011 Tangent Grenache Blanc because on sale, it was about the same price as the tasting and if you bought a bottle, Baileyana waives the fee. So there you have it.
I opened up this screw top bottle of this straw yellow white wine and got a whiff of a grassy smell mixed in with citrus. In addition to the zest on the nose, it’s crisp in the mouth with a bit of bubbly acidity. It can be a bit sour and that citrus smell returns at the end, but the flavor quickly gets flabby by the finish.
Grenache Blanc is an interesting varietal and its seen more in Europe than in California. It tends to be blended with other whites, rather than standing on its own. It’s cousin, Grenache Noir, is certainly more well-known.
Nuts & Bolts:
- Winery: Tangent
- Type: Grenache Blanc
- Origin: San Luis Obispo
- Vintage: 2011
- Price: $10 on sale
- Alcohol content: 14.5%
- When to drink: I don’t think I’d recommend this wine on its own. If you want a good stand-alone Grenache Blanc, try the 2012 Epiphany Cellars Grenache Blanc.