casa del vino

Where wine is on the table everyday

Day 32 – Say The Magic Word…

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Back in 2007, we made our first trip to the Central Coast of California, Paso Robles to be exact, and it was there that our true love for California wines was molded.  Flying into San Jose’s airport and renting a convertible for the trip down Highway 1 to Monterrey was a blast.  We spent the night in Monterrey – woke up the next morning and walked across the street to a Whole Foods Market where we stocked up on cheeses and breads and other “wine-friendly” food items, otherwise known as our lunch.  It was the start of a great adventure in wine tasting and wine education.  Along the way, we met some really cool people – Rebecca at Peachy Canyon was not only a great ambassador for their wine, but she arranged for us to visit a local proprietor who makes his own wines.  Roger with RN Estate Wines is a famous French Chef who decided a few years back to make his own wine in the French tradition.  We had a specific tasting appointment with Roger and as wine tasting trips often do, we were running late.  NOT GOOD when your host is French and he has already started with the other couple doing the wine tasting.  The good news for us was that we know how to catch up quickly . . . which we did.  His wines were nothing short of amazing – we oooohed and ahhhed with each sip.  This was no ordinary wine . . . this was really good, California wine made in true Rhone and Bordeaux fashion.  The more we sampled and asked questions the more that Roger began to realize that, we – not the other couple – were the customers to be “selling to”.

As a side note, Jean had gone back to the car to get her camera and was a tad bit later getting to the table than the rest of us.  She still remembers talking with our friends and feeling hot breath on her right side as she was talking to her left side.  Realizing the Brian was no where in the immediate picture, she turned to her right only to look, literally, eye to eye with ‘Diego’, the Great Dane dog owned by Roger.  Now, these dogs could intimidate just about ANY dog lover, but Jean said something like, “Hello, Diego” at which time Diego promptly gave Jean a nice ‘kiss’ and was gone.  It was the moment that memories are made of!  We have enjoyed Roger’s wine many times, and look forward to tasting his newest creations in the weeks ahead when we return to the land of Zin.

So, what prompted this trip down memory lane was tonight’s wine . . . our 2010 Hahn Meritage was a thing of beauty.  More about the wine in a moment, but during this same trip, we decided to stop at the Hahn Winery on our way back to San Jose for the return flight home.  We were really looking forward to tasting their wines until we were met at the entrance by a young man who informed us that there was a special wine event going on for members only, and instead of playing the part of members of the wine club, we promptly turned the car around and never gave the place a second thought!  We’ve bought several Hahn wines over the past five plus years and we really enjoy them – imagine what they must be like at the winery!  Instead,  we did have a great adventure at another winery where the wine was so-so, but met Jesse and Connie and returned home with more yellow raisins, pecans and other food items that Jesse marketed – good thing the airlines didn’t charge by the pound for luggage in those days.

This wine that we sampled tonight is a blend and it doesn’t disappoint.  We enjoyed with some grilled beef, sauteed mushrooms, roasted potatoes with red peppers and steamy asparagus.  Oh how this wine went well with dinner, and you’ll be pleased to include this with your next meal – red meat, pork, or salmon.  We can see this wine being the perfect compliment to a variety of foods, but we also would be just as happy enjoying it with a fire in the pit on a cool evening.  It’s your choice.  You’ll notice an aromatic of berries, leather and cedar on the nose but be pleasantly surprised by blackberries and vanilla on the finish.  A slight peppery taste really added to the food we were enjoying.  It’s a young wine, and while we completely enjoyed it, we think that this will be awesome at this time next year, so lay it down to make it even better!  We picked this gem up at the infamous “Twin Sale” – and admit it’s above our $20 price point, but well worth the extra jingle.

The Central Coast has some really great wines at affordable prices and that’s one of the benefits of going off ‘the beaten path’ when you go to California.  And, speaking of California, one of our favorite, old time actors’ birthday is today – Groucho Marx, one of the Marx Brothers would have been a hundred and something today.  For those of you who have seen, and know, Brian, NO he is NOT related to Groucho!  Thanks for asking.

Until tomorrow, please remember to enjoy these wines responsibly and recycle whenever possible.


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