Paso Robles Wine Festival 2009 Part 2

by Jasper on May 23, 2009

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have we gotten too crazy yet?!?

have we gotten too crazy yet?!?

Finally, we were feeling a bit more rested after some hydration and food. Ready to tackle more wine tasting in the park!

Clavo Cellars

2005 Collusion, a blend of malbec (57%), cabernet sauvignon (28%) and petit verdot (15%), was “thick,” “not bad” and “a little sweet.”

2005 Syrah “Reckless” had a very dark color with a smoky aroma.

2006 Petit Sirah was good though might have benefited from decanting.

We’d skip this one.

at least these two look rested and ready for more

at least these two look rested and ready for more

Mitchella Vineyard and Winery

This one excited us because they offer a large number of Rhone-style wines to try.

2008 Roussane had a good mouth feel, seemed off dry, but was not that complex.

2006 Syrah. Hegui found this one “pinot noir-ish” which he did not like. Stevie thought that it tasted “merlot-style,” also negative.

2006 Shameless; a bend of syrah, Grenache, mourvedre; had a beautiful ruby color but not much body.

We’d skip this one.

Thunderbolt Winery

We were enchanted by the name of the winery, the names of some of the wines and the sexy label on the bottles. Too bad those were the best things about this one.

2006 Mermaid’s Fancy, 100% Muscat, was floral and sweet but we didn’t find it that appealing.

2006 Thunder, a Rhone blend, smelled “alcoholic,” was dark red, and had a “Paso Robles” terroir flavor. Hegui compared this to Chianti, but found that he liked it. The others weren’t that sure.

We’d skip this one.

Kenneth Volk's adorable son

Kenneth Volk's adorable son

Niner Wine Estates

We tried this one because they have some Italian varieties.

2007 Barbera Rosato is a rose of barbera. This wine was a light orange color. It was not sweet and had a pleasing taste.

2006 Sangiovese. This one was 93% sangiovese and 7% syrah. It was “creamy.” The syrah overpowers the sangiovese here, which may be why we liked it.

2005 Syrah. This had 3% petit sirah. It was good.

Niner is worth tasting again at the festival.

Kenneth Volk

We went to the Kenneth Volk Vineyards in Santa Maria the day before the wine festival so we were not really there to taste. However, Whit was so obsessed with the great man who had an early role in the development of Paso Robles as a fine wine region that we had to go check it out again! We met Ken Volk there. I asked him if he would adopt Whit but he pointed to his cute son, pouring wine next to him. Sorry Whit, too late! Whit settled for an autograph instead. They make good wines from grapes grown in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. It is definitely worth checking out their winery.


This has been a WC favorite for a couple of years. They don’t yet have a tasting room on the property so we’re forced to try their exciting wines at the festival. I want to join their wine club but have been waiting. I’m afraid that I might only like them a lot while I’m a bit tipsy from the festival. They say that the tasting room will be ready in about another year and a half. Let’s hope so!

2008 vaalea is a blend of roussane and viognier. David P would love this wine. It was pineappley and tasty.

2005 i.p.o. This is 80% cabernet sauvignon, 10% each zinfandel and syrah. This had a strong sense of place, reflecting the Paso Robles terroir brilliantly.

2006 in the red. This is 50% each cabernet sauvignon and syrah. This had a deep red color with a rough mouth feel and a long tannic finish. “It sucked the water out of my mouth.” We liked this more than the i.p.o.

2005 sisu. This is a blend of Grenache, syrah and mourvedre. It had an inky, purple color and a “pinotage smell” like bananas, “but I liked it.”

kukkula encouraged us to go to their cookout on Sunday but we couldn’t make it. This is worth a visit to the winery.

By now Hegui was saying “Do I look like a freak because I’m totally drunk!” That was a sign that it was time for him to take a break. I have to admit that I was developing palate fatigue at this point. We did try one more on the list:

Whit's autograph from Ken Volk

Whit's autograph from Ken Volk

Eberle Winery

This is the eponymous winery of Gary Eberle, whose first Paso Robles venture, Estrella River Winery, became hugely successful and eventually was sold to become Meridian Vineyards.

2006 Sangiovese. This 100% sangiovese was so iced that it was hard to taste. It was very light, perhaps like schiava?

2006 Syrah. This was 100% syrah. It had a ruby color, a peppery, tannic finish. We liked it.

2006 Zinfandel was good and “different.” We were oversaturated and could not add more.

Eberle is worth tasting again at the festival.

We tried a few more randomly after this but we were done for already.

Not all of the wineries that we wanted to try were in the park. We missed out on Jada Vineyard and Winery and Starr Ranch for example. Prof. T was telling us that the festival is snubbed by some of them because of its circus like atmosphere. We think that these stuck-up wineries are making a big mistake here. Unless they’ve been able to pre-sell all of their wines (like the famous Saxum for instance) then what do they have to lose?

The festival is a wonderful way to try a lot of different wines and to get a sense of the wine region all in a short time. We highly recommend it!

back to tasting Part 1

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Maria A. Galdos May 23, 2009 at 10:48 am

This wine tasting looks like a good time! I’ll have to make a trip out there soon! Love your musings!

Rita Tower May 23, 2009 at 2:40 pm

I didn’t know that Estrella Eberle was before Meridian that makes me want to get Eberle! I love the story on your tastings!

Jasper May 23, 2009 at 5:57 pm

I didn’t know that about Eberle either, until I read about it in a book on Central Coast wineries. It’s a pretty amazing story. Californians get so worked up about the history of wine production in Napa Valley and to a lesser extent in Sonoma County. The rest of the state gets ignored. But there’s this whole rich wine history to the Central Coast of the state. Thanks for taking the time to write about this. I think that there’s still a lot more to come about Paso Robles.

You’re right, the wine tasting at the festival was super fun. You should try it sometime.

Rita Tower May 24, 2009 at 3:22 pm

I just re-read the post and came across a word I didn’t know eponymous, so I looked it up in my old college paper back American Heritage Dictionary and it wasn’t in there, so I went to the trusty and they gave this definition:
adjective giving one’s name to a tribe, place, etc.: Romulus, the eponymous founder of Rome.
So, I learned a new word in the sentence when you talk about the origins of the “tribe” Eberle!
This is the eponymous winery of Gary Eberle, whose first Paso Robles venture, Estrella River Winery, became hugely successful and eventually was sold to become Meridian Vineyards.
Thank you Jasper for challenging me to expand my vocabulary by reading your post! I am salivating to get some Eberle now, just because I know it was the start of Meridian. Cheers!

Jasper May 24, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Let me know what you think of those wines once you try them! I’m excited about them too.

Whit May 25, 2009 at 8:55 pm

I still find it funny how quickly our tasting strategy went by the wayside (faster than one could spit the Thunderbolt offerings back into the commemorative glass). Would you believe I still haven’t opened a bottle of red since the festival! Well, I’m ready now. Recounting our adventures here has re-awakened my palate! Anyone for a Paso Rhone Style Blind Taste-off?

Heguiberto May 26, 2009 at 7:14 am

A taste-off sounds amazing! When?

neil roberts June 7, 2009 at 11:17 am

Just to let you guys know the Collusion Blend is not sweet. It is completely dry with 14% alcohol. You should try the wines with a fresher palate and try again. Thanks for stopping by and at least trying the wines, Neil.

Heguiberto June 7, 2009 at 11:32 am

Hi Neil,
Thanks for the info. We will try to check out your tasting room when we are next there

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