One of the best parts about living in this part of the world is that we get warm afternoons and cool mornings with a nice breeze and a little bit of sunshine sprinkled in with some clouds. Central Texas is a ‘Mecca’ for tourists, winter Texans, students, families and anyone looking to find a beautiful place with great resources, beautiful trees and a great bottle of wine. While, wines from Texas are really beginning to make names for themselves, we are still very partial to wines from California.
Speaking of which, do you remember when the movie, ‘Sideways’ with Paul Giamatti, Virginia Madsden and Thomas Haden Church? You know, the guy is getting married so he and is best buddy go on a ‘wine tasting’ trip through the heart of Pinot Noir country in central/northern California. The story line of the movie kind of stunk, but the appetite for wine became overwhelming after watching the film. While we are NOT die-hard Pinot Noir fans; preferring the bigger, bolder reds, we have learned – key word, learned – to appreciate better wines. One of the reasons we made a return trip to Paso Robles was not only to try new wines and varietals, but also revisit old friends and reconnect with tastes we’d learn to love five years ago.
We mentioned during our trip – reference the blog about Barr Estate Winery – that we had the opportunity to stay in the home of the vintners – on their land, in their fields of grapes was their beautiful three bedroom, three bath home with a terrific kitchen, living area, patio with pool and hot tub – and rows and rows and rows of vines loaded with fruit. Who would have known that so many vines could produce so many grapes and that so many grapes could produce so much juice! As previously mentioned, the process is fascinating; clearly, hard work, intense and totally dependent on the weather and available labor. Now, please understand, we have very little knowledge of how wine is made, but thanks to the Barr Family, Greg and Tealy especially, we had a terrific, albeit short, education on wine making. The sun shines A LOT in this part of the state and with the area being so close to the coast of the Pacific Ocean, each hilly area becomes its’ own micro-climate and the grapes ripen differently from hillside to hillside. Their flavors are each affected differently by the soil conditions, the air temperatures, the sunlight, so many factors for a single fruit with its’ ultimate destiny to end up in a bottle as wine. We don’t know about you, but to us – it’s awesome!
Thanks to the Barr Family, tonight we’re enjoying their 2008 Barr Estate Wines Malbec. We just want you to know – it’s not available everywhere, but you’d better call these folks and get some of this Malbec. It ROCKS! From the minute Tealy opened the first bottle in their tasting room, we were seduced by the oakiness of this wine. It had matured a little longer in the oak barrels than most Malbecs would, but it had benefited greatly from extra time in the barrel and then extra time in the bottle. To be enjoying a 2008 Malbec in 2012 is kind of unusual . . . most Malbecs are vinted with the intent of bring it out early and letting the fruit do all the work. This Barr Estate wine is clearly designed for a discriminating palate that appreciates a deep, dark purple color with amazing notes of earth, oak and tobacco, and the tasting yields an amazing conglomeration of black cherries, currants, raspberries and a hint of green pepper. The wine is so smooth – when you take your first sip, you’ll be mesmerized by its’ sultry taste – both at the front end, but especially at the finish. This is a beautiful, hand-crafted wine. It’s not easy to find in Texas, but we know from talking with Tealy, that it is available in the Houston area; however, we’re still trying to find someone locally who is selling it. We’ll be doing our homework in the days, weeks and months ahead to find locations for this wine’s availability in our state.
We also mentioned previously, while in Paso Robles, that the Barr’s gave us the opportunity to help sort Malbec grapes – a fairly menial task for most, but intensified by the rush of being in the middle of a process that will ultimately culminate in those folks making wine. It’s one of those ‘can’t miss’ opportunities for wine lovers to try something uncommercialized, unadvertised, and truly hand-crafted.
We hope you’ll have the chance to get a hold of this wine and when you do, please enjoy it responsibly, and recycle whenever possible.