On Wine and Music

Glass-of-WineWine and Music was the January 2013 theme for our church wine group. The organizer asked me for some ideas (which I provided), but I was hoping she wouldn’t select this particular because it may be difficult.

I did my research before the event just in case. Good news is they came through in flying colors! Below are the results of my research and what attendees brought. (I divided the names into categories).

Let me know if you have others!

Red Guitar

High Note
(Pasquier-Meunier) A Capella Red

BR Cohn (Doobie Brothers manager)
Dreaming Tree (Dave Mathews)
Blenheim (Dave Mathews)
Remick Ridge (Tommy Smothers)
Scaggs (Boz Scaggs)
Maestro Sanguineti

Harmony Hill
Il Cantante
Adegade Cantor
Deep Purple
For a Song
R&B Cellars

Que Sera
Shoo Fly (Don’t Bother Me)
Eroica (Beethoven 3rd Symphony)
Hey Mambo

On a Wine Bandit

Wine tastings led by a wine maker can often lead to not only surprises, but sometimes, unexpected additions to the program. At a tasting earlier this year, Charles Bieler started everyone off with an extra.

It was a white wine that I would describe as fresh, a kiss a sweetness and an essence of pear. This slightly dry wine was a heavier (not as lean) as one would expect from a starter wine, but this wine was suited for the warm afternoon on the deck. Participants were pleased with this pinot grigio, yet the winemaker would not show us the bottle until we finished discussing this wine.

This story jumps ahead a few months to our church’s wine and fellowship group. Yep – I said our church – and this group is one of the longest running groups at the church! As part of the program portion for our group, I knew this pinot grigio had to play a role, so I did a taste test to the 30 in the group. Each had three glasses, with each glass containing a different pinot grigio at a different price point. The question was simple: which is your favorite?

As I uncovered to identify each sample, a few people preferred the $10 version (Stella), while a few more liked the $15 wine (Tiefenbrunner); but by far, the majority of the attendees liked this mystery wine the best – including a particular good friend and wine enthusiast who raved about it.

Watching his reaction to learning that this wine came in a one liter green box with a plastic screw cap priced at $7 for a was priceless. Although he enjoys a wide variety of wine and has a respectable pallet, he (like everyone) has his quirks, which includes not wanting to be seen purchasing wine in a bright green box.

No – this story is not about my friend’s quirkiness, but one about the wine in the bright, green box. In general, I unquestionably prefer red wine to white. However, this one was interesting because of the way someone introduced to me and how I used. Besides, many of us like a good value.

This wine in the bright green box is inexpensive and contains more wine (1000 ml compared to a normal bottle with 750 ml). Since then I tried the cabernet sauvignon version in the purple box, but it did not win me over. If you are looking for that casual white wine to enjoy on a nice day, look for Bandit in the bright green box at your grocery store. By the way, it also comes in a half-liter box, which is perfect for one with a straw.

On Paso Wines

ReadyZinGrapesThe Paso Robles (CA) wine region is known for its red wines – especially red blends. Although it’s not online (at least not yet), the October ’09 Wine Enthusiast issue has an excellent article about this region, its wines, and some ratings.

With 150+ wineries in the area, I did my share of online research to develop a trip strategy – plus I had suggestions from Caitlin Pianetta (Pianetta Winery, who we met in Cincinnati earlier this year), and from the Adelaide Inn staff (where we stayed) – so we had plenty to keep us busy during a 3-day stay. Unfortunately, I discovered the Daily Wine Dispatch after returning home.

Since Paso wineries specialize in red wines, expect to see many more reds than whites. Most wineries will have viognier, chardonnay, muscat, or white blends. Paso whites are generally unoaked andrefreshing with possibly a note of crispness, thus easy to drink.

Paso reds are allover the map with zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and petite syrah leading the way – although cabernet franc, tempranillo, sangiovese, petite verdot, and others are abound. Given the number of red varietals grown in this area, no wonder Paso winemakers excel with blends, including Meritage, Rhone, and Bordeaux styles.

As with any wine region, tasters will encounter wineries they may not know plus wines from known wineries that are only sold at the winery – thus one reason to do your pre-trip homework and be aware of what is available in your home stores.

Future posts will feature east side, west side, and downtown Paso Robles winery notes.

Others Posts about this Trip