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Halter Ranch

To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe. Marilyn vow Savant

Recently, I was given the assignment to interview and wine taste my way through Halter Ranch for SLOW Wine. Slow Wine and Slow Food is a movement that was started in Italy, and has made it’s way over to the states. It’s really an old idea, one that our ancestors used to value… food that is good, clean and fair.

I was delighted to meet Kevin Sass, the winemaker. Kevin was extremely generous with his time, and spent so much time taking me to locations throughout the ranch, and answering questions that he has probably answered thousands of times. I was very appreciative that he met with me, and spent so much time tolerating my interrogation.

Besides the wines being beautiful, so is the property. The iconic bridge is relatively newer. I love that the bridge gives the property a distinctive old character.

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Inside one of the buildings in the corner are artifacts that were found on the site. IMG_0590

These vessels were most likely used to pound acorns. Which were a common staple food of the Native Americans in California. Maybe even some the acorns came from the Ancestor Tree. IMG_0584.jpeg

The Ancestor Tree is the largest Oak tree on the Central Coast. It is even documented in the California Department of Forestry. Halter Ranch even has a wine that is named after the iconic tree. It is such a source of pride for them that they hold special picnics under the tree, and excursions in a jeep are made to the spot. It really is a special area. One can almost feel the reverberation of ancient history the tree exudes.

Down in the caves, there is a special dining table for gatherings that are intimate. Plus, the intoxicating aroma of all those barrels that are stored in the caves. IMG_0597.jpeg

Halter Ranch doesn’t only care for the environment, their quality wines, but also their employees and the community.

The owner recently gave a BILLION dollars to conserve land around the world. The ranch includes corridors for the animals that pass on the property. Their wines are made with care from the time they hang on the vine to bottle. The ranch is SIP certified, and they won the green medal for  sustainable wine growers. IMG_0601.jpeg

The wines I tried were 2017 CDP (Cotes De Paso), it is a cuvée, that marries Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, and Tannat in the most elegant manner. The aroma of strawberry jam, cinnamon, lavender, waken your olfaction. One of those wines that is better when you’re taking your sweet time to really enjoy and savor. It has a long lasting finish, and is jazz smooth.

I also tried the Vin de Paille. The production of this wine is done just as it is in France. The grapes are dried on straw beds for 40 days, and then they are pressed. After pressing out this golden juice the wine is fermented and aged in neutral French oak barrels. The aroma of the honey hit me first, and the essence of orange and bergamot seem to seduce you into taking more of the wine into your nostrils for another deep inhalation. The taste lingers in your mouth, and it was instantly one of my favorites. I haven’t been able to find this kind of flavor outside of France or Hungary.

Did I mention that Halter Ranch even has several different types of accommodations? Well, they do. I am providing a link to Halter Ranch, so you can check out the website yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tablas Creek Winery

…conservation of land and conservation of people frequently go hand in hand. Eleanor Roosevelt

I recently visited Tablas Creek Winery, where I met up with Jason Haas. He is a very gracious man, and he was very kind to take me on a tour of the grounds and discuss vines, soil health, compost, maps, and of course the wines.

I was super excited knowing that I was going to spend time with Jason, he is very articulate, and very knowledgeable about soils, microclimates that effect the vines, vines, soil, managing the soils, compost, and wine. I was lucky enough to hear him speak about Paso Robles and the climate sister of Rhone area of France. I wish he had a lecture series, I would attend each of them!

This was my first time visiting the winery. Once I was near the door I was greeted by water bottles that are on ice. The winery has fill up stations so no plastic bottles are brought on the grounds. IMG_0602

I must say I just loved the layout of the tasting room. A tasting area is set up right in the front a glass where everyone can see the giant barrels. The barrels are really beautiful. IMG_0621-2991670544-1563567627146.jpg

The selection of gifts they offer in the tasting room is nice too, because it is different. One thing that humorously caught my eye was a copy of “This is Paris”, which is a children’s book, and one that my children loved. We still have the book…I may have giggled out loud when I saw the book on the shelf.

After Jason and I met in the tasting room, we went outside for a walk in the vineyards. As we walked and talked, I took a few photographs of how lovely it is out there in the vineyard.

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During the winter they have sheep and llama that go through the vineyards and munch on the cover crops and kindly give back to the earth as they work/enjoy their day.

All the compost is collected in one area, and they utilize their own compost. IMG_0613

Really, the photo doesn’t do it justice. It really is a large pile. Tablas Creek has crops for all the employees. Their philosophy of doing right by the employees is fantastic. Even the employees that work the land are kept on throughout the year so that they always have job.

They don’t just grow grapes, they also grow olives, and a variety of flowers for the bees. Having other crops on the property not only help the animals, but the land itself. More bees, and more diversity in the other insects and animals are all aspects that contribute to a more sustainable “farm”. It’s a beautiful thing!

The wines are delectable! Here are the wines I tasted..

Patelin de Tablas 18 The strawberries and white blossoms keep you coming back for more “nose in the glass”. The aromas are captivating and uplighting…I could just smell this all day long! The acidity is crisp and has a velvety mouthfeel. This is a food friendly wine, and belongs in my summer picnic basket.

Esprit de Tablas 2016 Blended with Mourvèdre, Grenache, Syrah, and Counoise, the smell of rich earthiness, tabacco and leather with mineral notes. The fruit is luscious black fruit, cranberries, and some violets.

Esprit de Tables Blanc 2016 is a blend of Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Picpoul. Herb de Provence is the best description of the aromas lofting out of the glass. The medium plus body has a little oily texture with some racy acidity. The flavor of apricots, apples and peaches will remind you home in the summer. 

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Get over to the winery and have a great time. It’s not only beautiful and has delicious wines to offer, but they are taking care of the land they occupy.

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Giornata Wines

Recently, I was out on an excursion, and visiting wineries. It is something I have not been able to do as often as I would like to do. Plus, the rumor is that we have over 200+ wineries here in Paso Robles alone.

I called to make an appointment to visit with Brian and Stephanie Terrizzi to talk and taste some wines. Their winery is located in Tin City. A little district that is becoming a little hub of activity. The wonderful couple also own a Etto, a pasta shop full of wonderful Italian goodies. They even have a selection of their Giornata Wines, for sale at the shop, in case you don’t make it over to the winery. The two of them are very passionate about their wine and food.

When I arrived at the winery, I was talking to Brian about wine and production, as well as Italian foods we love. Stephanie came in about 20 minutes later, and we talked about growing food organically. She is a strong advocate of not wasting water, no pesticides, and keeping the land clean. The two of them were so engaging and I could have stayed so much longer, but we all have lives to live too. They were very gracious to me as I talked, listened, and sampled their wine.

One of my favorites was the Falanghina. I have never tried a Falanghina wine…ever, so I really didn’t know what to expect, but guess what? This is exactly why people need to try different wines…the tasting room is called a “tasting room” for a reason. IMG_2509

Here is how I perceived the wine… it is a mouth watering joyful experience, with subtle hues of stone fruits, apple and pear with a mineral finish. The alcohol is subdued, while the flavors of the grape are allowed to sing in exaltation! It was my favorite! I purchased a bottle, and the family had it with our dinner. 

The winery isn’t open everyday, so check the website for more information about both the winery and pasta shop. Brian and Stephy19

This is in the winery area of their building. Brian and Stephanie are in front of their egg, which is an inert vessel.

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American Girl Dolls

“Just don’t pretend you know more about your characters than they do, because you don’t. Stay open to them. It’s teatime and all the dolls are at the table. Listen. It’s that simple.” Anne Lamott

It seems like yesterday my daughter packed up her 20 American Girl Dolls. We moved to the country, and she started collecting animals.

In the last five years that we have lived in the country, we have had chickens, cats, ducks, cows, goats, miniature donkeys, sheep, and dogs. She and I have stayed the night in the barn (very cold, and very uncomfortable) to make sure the baby goats make it. Got up earlier than we ever wanted to warm up bottles and go feed the babies. She has been a trooper through it all. Embracing country life like it was something that is meant for her.

She has even saved countless little lives of birds, dogs, cats, and even a deer.

We fed it some goat milk until it was strong enough to walk, and then took it to a refuge. They wrote to us to let us know that it was getting stronger, and they would release it when it was more mature.

She graduates soon, and will be heading off to college. The years of her polo playing, powder puff, and hanging out with her high school friends will be in the rearview mirror.

Some of the animals…

I know my husband and I are so happy that her high school years have been everything that she always wished. I loved teaching her how to drive, and make soap. Now, as this chapter of her life comes to close, and she is about to embark on her next chapter. I just want to say what an honor it has been to raise you into the young lady you are now!

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Wine Club

“Good wine is a good familiar creature if it well used.” William Shakespeare

We like to take good care of our wine club members. At San Marcos Creek, we are showing off our second label to our club members. Usually, this label is for distribution only, but we are also doing some extra special with our second label… we are donating our proceeds to the arts. IMG_0844

We just met with some non profit organizations to start to lay down the foundation of how we will go about giving money to the arts. We want young and old to benefit from this project we are embarking on in the coming months. We know we want to start by giving to our local area in San Luis Obispo County. We want all the arts to be included in the plan, from painting, sculpture, dance and drawing. We want projects that include alzheimer’s, because we are aware of studies that have shown that the dance (learning steps), and painting help keep the mind active. Art therapy for young and the elderly, something that needs more attention and study.

It makes me feel good that we are sharing this aspect of what we are doing with our members, and allowing them exclusive access to our second label. Our members also get 20% off their stay at the inn and crush pad. Which have scored 9.6 from booking.com 2 years in a row.

 

IMG_0854 Our newest farm vacation rental at Terreni D’ Oro. It’s not online yet, but if you email me @kimberly@sanmarcoscreek.com I can set you up on the calendar.

Our Plus, a little extra gift is a notebook with our logo in their shipment this month, along with our newsletter. IMG_0845

We sell our wines online San Marcos Creek. 

 

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Thomas Hill Organics

We have a wonderful restaurant here in Paso, Thomas Hill Organics. I was recently invited to a private pairing. Wines from four different wineries were paired with food that the chef made. Each one of us also had the opportunity to talk to the journalist that were visiting the area. The other wineries had their wine makers there, and I was the only one that was an owner. Everyone was so engaging and it was an excellent atmosphere for the journalist and all of us. The seating arrangement was intimate, and the exchange wasn’t just about us, but about the pairing of the food. How food changes the taste of the wine, and how all the different aspects of the dish change the taste of the wine. I was the first one there, so here is what the seating arrangement looked like before everyone got there…

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Our first course was paired with an Albarino. It truly is a seafood lover wine. IMG_0304.jpg

Salmon, jalapeno peppers, olive, tomatoes, and wafer slice of watermelon. It was so delicious!

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This was paired with our Zinfandel. This is a prime cut of grass fed beef, topped with a clove of garlic. Polenta is the side dish for this course. I usually don’t eat beef, but I was surprised how well it paired with the Zin.

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This Really Happened

“I’m not really scared of a lot of things. I’m scared of possums. And I’m scared of raccoons sometimes, it depends on how big it is – I’m scared of the smaller raccoons because the bigger ones are slower.” Vince Staples

Last week, I needed to find something to do before I picked up my daughter from her trip with the school. So, I thought, I will just go to the Mission, and say a prayer for all my family, friends, and those that have touched my life.

I pulled out my phone, and I see a possum. I take a photo, and then..

He or she, saw me, and continued to come down the stairs to me. It was daylight, and all I could think about was “rabies”. A nocturnal animal that is out durning the day, and trying to interact with a human? I made a weird sound, then both of us took off in opposite directions

After I said my prayers, I saw it again as I was leaving. This time, it headed under the bushes. Spooked me out a little bit.

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Anna and Mom

“Empowering women is key to building a future we want.”

Amartya Sen
Anna and I met several years ago, and many things have transpired since we first met. I remember the day we met like it was yesterday. A mutual friend of ours said “the two of you have so much in common, you two must meet.” She said the three of us would meet for lunch, so we all agreed to meet. Well, our mutual friend did not even show up, but we are glad she did not show. The two of us talked, and talked about our dreams, being women entrepreneurs, and our lives. We closed the place down, and they worked around us.
Over they years we have watched our children grow up, and she and I are like sisters we never had. Now, my dear friend and sister from another mother is living her dream of having her own shop  Anna and Mom, the coolest thing is when I went to see her shop, I saw her vision. The one that she talked about out loud at our first luncheon.
Already, her shop has more items for sale, than the first day that I got to view it. I love the way she recycled the toys her children played with when they were young, and all the items made by hand! It is a store that was built from her dreams.
Please, take the time to go to her shop online, or go see it in person. Women that help other women in their business make a stronger world. Let’s do this ladies…
Here are some photos from the first day I saw her store…

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Templeton Farmers Market

“The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways.” John F. Kennedy

Recently, I was at the Templeton Farmers Market. I loved seeing all the farmers there selling what they grow on their farm. I haven’t got to the point that I can sell my wares at a Farmers Market, but I did have our wine there to taste for that day.

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Before I actually set up, I was walking around the outside of the perimeter of the park. When I look at the prices of items that are for sale, I just can’t believe that the prices were pretty on par with super market prices.

 

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Oso Libre

My husband and I met Chris through another friend. We knew him before we owned a winery ourselves. Roberto and Chris took a trip to our 500 acre ranch, where Chris fell in love with our land. He uses the land for his cows. His cows run on the ranch before they go on to become his famous angus burgers.

His family got the name Oso Libre (which means free bears) from their name… Chris and Linda Behr and one of his sons Jeff Freeland and his wife Elizabeth…with the blend they came up with Oso Libre…pretty cool!

I can personally attest to the quality of the wines. One of my favorites, is the 2014 Volado Viognier, it’s crisp, and dry, yet refreshing. I believe every time I have been over to visit I have to purchase a bottle of it. It goes so well with chicken or fish. Although it is fantastic when paired with a meal, it is good enough to stand alone.

The tasting room is beautifully decorated, and the ambiance is warm and inviting. It is refined elegance! The staff welcomes everyone that comes through the doors.