The best thing about being reunited with old friends is the feeling of comfort knowing that you’re back where you belong. Five years ago when we ventured to Paso Robles for the first time, we enjoyed some wines from RN Estate wines. Now, to completely understand our tasting and story of RN Wines, you have to understand that these wines are not commercially available. First, you must make an appointment with the owner, Roger Nicolas, and second you must be on time for said appointment! Five years ag o. . . thanks to Rebecca, who used to work at Peachy Canyon, we had that appointment with the owner, Roger Nicolas. However, five years ago, we were NOT on time for the appointment and to this day, we remember the “tongue lashing” we received from Roger about being on time and having to catch up with the others in the tasting. Of course, five years ago it all ended up for the better because we enjoyed some amazing wines and learned A LOT about the wines he made by hand. It was, in short, an education in wine and life! On top of the wines, when you taste wines from a winemaker’s home, you are literally coming into his space and are subject to his environment. Five years ago, Jean was sitting at Roger’s dining room table that looked out over beautiful vineyards and rolling hills and felt a hot breath on her face which was followed by a lick on the face from Diego! To imagine this picture, think of sitting in a chair and having a large dog looking at you face to face as you sit there. Diego was (is) Roger’s Great Dane and he was definitely more than just a house dog . . . HE was the ‘announcer’ of all people coming to Roger’s house!
Fast forward to today and we have revisited RN Estate, Roger greeted us outside the house as we arrived EARLY for our 11 a.m. tasting. Of course, the barking from the courtyard came not only from Diego who was still a part of Roger’s clan but also a 14 month old “puppy” Great Dane who was still learning the “social graces” of being a dog! You have to love that if you love dogs!! We never did get to meet the “puppy” but heard from him early and often as he barked every time the wind blew a leaf in the wrong direction!!!
Today’s wines from RN Estate were nothing short of spectacular. We tasted two different Pinot Noirs that Roger has crafted and with different grapes from different parts of Paso Robles, it is truly amazing how they can be so incredibly different. Both tasty, the one from totally, Paso Robles fruit was AMAZING! This led him to tastings of his blends which are masterfully made by hand with primarily Paso Robles fruit. You can taste in each of his wines and “old world” style that is counter to today’s “bigger is bolder” style of wine making. As a Frenchman, Roger has the lineage to not only talk the talk but walk the walk. His wines are designed to fit with food and food fit with his wines, and it was obvious from our tasting that the care and nurturing that it takes to make great wine has come through loud and clear with his latest vintages! We were not just impressed and excited, but we anxiously wanted to add his wines to our list of favorites . . . which we DID!
Finding Roger’s wines isn’t easy. When and if you can get a hold of them – lay them down for at least six months or longer. Because he makes his wines in the Rhone and Bordeaux tradition, these wines have a life of five to ten years beyond today. Wines like his are meant to be enjoyed today, tomorrow and in the future. These wines feature a lot of fruit on the nose and a lot of structure on the taste. You get amazing scents and tastes even without food, but the mind plays tricks on you because the thought of a rack of lamb or smoked pork loin are on your mind as you sample this delicious wine.
We have gathered and continue to gather GREAT stories on this trip from people and wines we’ve met and tried. Roger is but one of a huge number of people that make a trip to Paso Robles a MUST DO for any wine afecionado. We’ll continue to share these stories with you and your job is to continue enjoying our stories.
We also made a trip down memory line by visiting Preachy Canyon and Castoro Cellars (where they make Dam Fine Wine – we blogged about Zinfusion on Day Three). In addition we made some new friends at Ben Hogan (yes, you can even hit a bucket of balls while tasting wine!!), Croad and L”Adventure. The crazy part is that you can visit as many, or as few wineries as you want in a given day. As they say, “so much wine, too little time”.
So. . .please enjoy that bottle of wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible!