Twice last year we had the opportunity to explore the wine making region of Paso Robles. Our first trip we were blown away at the diversity of wines: Rhone varietals from Tablas Creek, Bordeaux varietals from Adelaida, Zinfandel from Tobin James, and many others. Plus this region was on the verge of approval for 11 new sub AVAs.
We went back in the fall for the Wine Tourism Conference and extended the trip to do some more tasting and visiting. This time the list included Zenaida Cellars, Peachy Canyon, Still Waters, Jada, Oso Libre, Victor Hugo, Brecon and many more. You will read more about these wines (and others) plus info on where to stay and dine in upcoming articles here and at winetouristmagazine.
|Fun Times in Paso Robles with Jada, Brecon Estates, Peach Canyon, Zenaida Cellars, Victor Hugo, Oso Libre|
The winepairing weekend topic for January is New Year’s Resolutions – regions and wineries you want to explore. Well, we were ready to go back to Paso time we got home because we still have not seen a concert at Vina Robles or toured Hearst Castle.
If you are also interested in Paso Robles, then check out our friend Xochitl Maiman’s articles at I’ll Drink to That. She is a Paso fan and is always up to date on the coolest Paso wine news.
Before we left town we made a quick stop to Halter Ranch. Earlier, the kind folks at Halter Ranch had sent a sample bottle that we had planned to pair but had not yet tasted. We popped by the tasting room to check it out and got a tour from Cathy Lafayette. They offer free winery and cave tours with reservations.
Details are here. The property is a mix of preserved historic buildings and state of the art winemaking. On an idle day during the holidays, we watched a Christmas movie whose plot involved a vineyard estate. We recognized the beautiful covered bridge and realized it was filmed at Halter Ranch!
|Covered Bridge at Halter Ranch|
Our sample was the 2012 Cotes de Paso, 43% Grenache, 23% Syrah, 23% Mourvedre, 14% Tannat. Upon first tasting we thought this wine could go with just about anything – especially the glass. It is fruity, well balanced, and plays well with others.
We decided to pair it with duck breast served with cherry hazelnut compote. The medium+ body was a perfect match for the duck and the slightly cooked red cherry notes on the wine paired well with the compote flavors. The compote was on the sweeter side but this worked fine because the wine, while dry, was a soft fruit forward style. There was no leftover wine.
- 5 oz dried cherries
- ½ cup finely chopped hazelnuts
- 1 Tbs fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated
- zest and juice from one large orange
- 2 Tbs shallots
- 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- Liquid - I used ¼ cup Grand Marnier and ¾ cup water
- ( I might have used oj in place of water if I had any)
- Place all ingredients in a medium boiler and simmer low until cherries have softened. Approx. 15 minutes.
- Score fat with a sharp knife.
- Pat Dry.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Brown skin side down on stove top skillet (8-10 minutes).
- Flip and brown other side (2-3 minutes)
- Flip back skin side down. Cover and cook to desired doneness.
- Approximately 3 minutes for medium rare or 135 degrees in center.
See what wine and food adventures the winepairing weekend writers are planning.
Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla has Argentina on her mind and is sharing “Empanadas Mendocinas + ’10 La Posta del Vi natero Malbec”.
Cindy of Grape Experience suggests starting the year with “Wine & Dine: Fontana Candida Terre de Grife 2012 Frascati & Slow Cooker Artichoke Dip”.
Shaina of Take A Bite Out of Boca is offering “Herb Marinated Mushrooms with Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile”.
William of Wild For Washington Wine is giving us “ A Resolution for Greek Wine, A Recipe for Avogolemeno”.
Martin from Enoflyz Wine Blog is shaking things up with “Skillet Kale Pesto & Seitan Pizza with Querceto Chianti Classico”
Jade from Tasting Pour is pairing “Halter Ranch Cotes de Paso and Duck Breasts with Cherry Hazelnut Compote”.