Tag Archive for viognier

Review: 2013 Zenaida Cellars Zephyr

We came across Zenaida Cellars towards the end of a recent Paso Robles trip. It was supposed to be our last winery of the stay as we made our way out of town, but upon the recommendation of the woman serving us 10:30 a.m., we headed up the road to Ecluse. We are now members at Ecluse and I am always so grateful for the recommendation.

In addition to the wonderful recommendation, Zenaida had solid wines of its own. The 2013 Zephyr, especially. This blend is 55% Syrah, 40% Zin, 5% Viognier (!!!, more on the !!! later).

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It’s smooth, velvety and just lovely. The meaty red blend has notes of cherry (it’s fruit-forward no doubt), too. Now you may ask, what’s with all those exclamation points? Well I was surprised to see Viognier, a white varietal, mixed in with the predominantly Syrah/Zin blend. Not only was this a yummy wine, but it provided a teaching moment. File under: TIL!

The white grape once was commonly blended with Syrah in France as the varietals grow alongside each other in a region in the northern Rhone Valley. The practice still occurs in France, but not as often as back in the day. You will also see it done in Australia.

As an aside, Zenaida also has a cute little loft on the property where you can stay. The room was out of our budget, but if you’ve got the dough, it’s a good location.

Nuts & Bolts:

Winery: Zenaida Cellars
Type: Syrah (55%), Zin (40%), Viognier (5%)
Origin: Paso Robles
Vintage: 2013
Price: $42
Alcohol content: 15.8%
When to drink: With a juicy, rear steak.

Review: 2015 Midnight Cellars Aurora

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.

"Oh yea, that's from the winery with the 1,000 year old cat." Sipping @midnightcellars' đź’«Aurora đź’« tonight

A photo posted by Wine For The Win (@wineforthewin) on

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
Type: Aurora
Origin: Paso Robles
Vintage: 2015
Price: $29
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.

Review: 2011 Saucelito Canyon Cotes de Blanc

While weekend getawaying in San Luis Obispo with three lovely ladies, I imbibed the 2011 Saucelito Canyon Cotes de Blanc.

This blend smells of peaches and melon and lays heavy on the tongue, lingering for awhile, in a good way. It has a pleasant hint of butteriness and its light minerality gives it a dash of crisp bubbly. The blend of Grenache Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne is a drier white and it’s sweet, but not too sweet, a perfect match for the thai salad I ate with it for dinner at Big Sky Cafe, a wonderful foody haunt in SLO. IMG_20140502_181259

The next day we drove by the winery as we headed to the wine trail. Sadly, we didn’t make it there in time, but I heard they have stand-out Zinfandel. For another visit!

Nuts and Bolts

  • Winery: Saucelito Canyon
  • Type: White Blend (62% Grenache Blanc, 16% Sauvignon Blanc, 8% Viognier, 8% Marsanne, 6% Roussanne)
  • Origin: Central Coast
  • Vintage: 2011
  • Price: $22 (at the restaurant, probably less in stores)
  • Alcohol content: Whoops, forgot to jot it down!
  • When to drink: This would be lovely for a midmorning brunch/lunch featuring something with a little spiccccy.

 

Paso Robles Man: The most interesting man in the world?

I know I’m late to the gushfest, but I can’t help but share this amazing video of the Paso Wine Man. He gives us the lowdown on vino variety, and let me tell you: it’s amazing. Come on, he compares shitty Chardonnay to a bleached out blonde beauty queens and the real deal to a true California beauty, stripped of the fake tan. What about Pinot Noir? It’s “earthy” and “ephemeral,” just like him. And real men? They’re not afraid of a pink rose. They’re afraid of the road not taken. And clowns. He even looks kind of like a blonde Kevin Spacey and he has the “House of Cards” narrator style down. In my book, he definitely beats Mr. Dos Equis. My favorite part: when he jumps out of an explosion, describing Cabernet Sauvignon as “brooding” and a “summer blockbuster.” What’s your favorite?