Category Archives: San Luis Sunday

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.

The Groves on 41

I met Jennifer when I first came down here to SLO county. She is one of the warmest most genuine people you will ever meet. Being around her, you just feel like you may be family. She and I have been telling each other how we were going to get together. In fact, we had to make plans a month in advance. We are business owners, and our days are filled with making our businesses stronger.

She and I finally got together. I went to the Groves on 41, and she showed me the property. The last time I was there, I was there for a party, and did not get a private tour. Jennifer took me around to the their vacation rental, wedding venue, and into the groves.

Being out in the groves was fun. It was super muddy that day, and she and I were talking as we were walking. She was educating me about olive trees, and things to look for in the grove. As she talked, and we walked, we also were picking off the fruit that was still on the trees. I felt as though I left with a whole new understanding about olive groves. We also agreed to carry their line in the tasting room.

Here are some of the photos from the day…

Cinquain Cellars

Beth and Dave Nagengast are the owners of Cinquain Cellars, which has some awesome wines. Cinquain Cellars is on the Pleasant Valley Wine Trail, and is open with an appointment. They are also open during our special weekend events that the trail offers.

This simple 5-line poem, called a Cinquain (pronounced sink-cane), embodies the spirit of Cinquain Cellars, from nurturing 10,000 vines on their estate vineyard, to crafting small lots of artisan wines for your pleasure and theirs. They like to think of their wine as bottled poetry and hope you will agree.

If you’re interested in knowing more, here you go…The owner and winemaker, David Nagengast, graduated from the Fresno State University Enology program in 1985 with the dream of someday having his own vineyard and winery. In 2000, the search for the perfect site culminated in the purchase of a small hillside property, overlooking Hog Canyon and the Estrella River basin from 1000-ft elevation, in the Northeast area of the Paso Robles Estrella Appellation. In 2002, the 14-acre vineyard was planted with 10,000 vines including nine different Bordeaux, Rhône, and Port varieties. In 2007, the construction of their simple 1200 square-foot winery was completed. And now, after 31 years of making wines professionally for a variety of small and medium sized wineries in Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Clara County, and Oregon, the culmination of this dream is evident with the establishment of Nagengast Estate Vineyard, Cinquain Cellars and the availability of 1500 cases annually. Please, don’t be shy about making an appointment, they are happy to share their beautiful facility with you.

http://www.cinquaincellars.com/#contact

 

Here are some fun photos of the property…

Four Sisters Winery

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Located in the Paso Robles area of the Central Coast of California, the Four

Sisters Ranch has been growing grapes and producing world class, award winning,

wine for over 28 years.  Over 8 varieties of grapes are planted on over 430 acres.

The terrain is variable, from Limestone rich sandy-loom soil on hills adjacent to
the dry Estrella River bank to oak trees on hills overlooking a little and big “Grand Canyon”.
They more recently acquired their new winery and Tasting Room/Event Venue facility
where they also produce Limited Edition wines, and have room for large weddings
and celebrations. The New York Times has called their location the “best view of any
vineyard in the Central Coast” up on top of a hill with vistas of vineyards 360 degrees.
Tasting and Touring Magazine listed the Four Sisters Ranch in their 2016 Platinum Issue
as one of the 6 “Most Scenic” wineries in the Paso Robles area.  They take great pride in
being a friendly fun scenic Tasting Room with fine wines.

Four Sisters Ranch is owned and operated by a husband and wife team of two retired medical doctors: Dr. Michael Drucker and Dr. Serena Friedman. It is named after their four daughters; Sacheen, Elan, Toccara, and Sierra, who each contribute. Michael and Serena fell in love with Paso Robles in 1989, when they bought their first vineyard, and have now expanded to 433 planted acres! The first 16 years of Four Sisters Ranch involved intense, hands-on learning, experimenting, and getting down and dirty with the grapes, which were sold privately to world renowned wineries in the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Texas, Paso Robles, and beyond. Finally, in 2005, the first vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah were released under the Four Sisters Ranch label – and the rest is history! They now have have an impressive portfolio of award-winning Paso Robles wines and are thrilled to share their pride and passion with wine enthusiasts in the U.S. and internationally! In 2015, Four Sisters Ranch Vineyards & Winery expanded to a gorgeous new tasting room, winery, lab, barrel room, and event center in the northern

Paso Robles AVA

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 They are passionate about the fine wines they produce from the unique microclimates and mineral rich soils of Paso Robles.The Central Coast terroir has a long growing season with warm days and cool nights that produces uniquely ripened fruit, translating into a balanced wine of world class exception. Enjoy their Rhone and Bordeaux varieties.  Many of the wines are characterized as fruit forward, long lingering, and sure to tantalize the palate. They recently added Sparkling wines, Albarino,red blends, Petite Sirah,Orange Muscat, and  desert Port Style wine to our Merlot, Malbec, 91 point Zinfandel and our Flagship wines:  Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

They use special canopy management to allow just the right amount of sunlight and ocean-infused afternoon breeze to mingle with the fruit and allow it to to mature it to its full flavor potential. For the elegant 89 points Syrah you will taste a balanced, dry and subtle fruit palate of blackberry, boysenberry and plum. This delicious food friendly wine goes well with hearty foods like pasta, wild game, duck, and flavorful soft cheeses.

The award winning “River Cab,” grown on the banks of the dry Estrella River, has a bright raspberry and dry cranberry nose, with hints of dark cherry and currant. This wine is long on the palate with balanced tannins, and pairs well with lamb, steak, veal, pasta, rice, and spirited conversation.

Their youngest wine is a Grenache/Tempranillo blend, light and easy to drink.

The 2011 Zinfandel, rated 91 points by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, was aged in Hungarian Oak barrels to balance the cool 2011 vintage. The Petite Sirah is a bold new Limited Edition Wine nick-named “3 Sips Titanic” because it cannot be judged until “after the third sip, when the tannins sink into the back of the palate and tongue.

Their  Port style desert wine is 95% Cabernet and 5% Negrette, with a unique flavor but easy drinking.

The Crew & The Wine
Their new winemaker, Craig Reed, is working tirelessly to continue to expand the portfolio with new releases of carefully handcrafted, limited-release wines. They are focusing on estate-grown red blends and small-batch varietal wines, including varietals like

Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Zinfandel, Malbec, and Tempranillo. The Estate Director & Brand Manager, Shauna Burke, oversees our three wine brands: Four Sisters Ranch, Serena’s Vineyard, and Red Hat Vineyards.She is also a Certified Sommelier and chef who lends her expertise in food and wine pairing and global wine education.

RiverStar Vineyards

 

Riverstar Vineyards is an 80-acre ranch located in the heart of San Miguel, in the Paso Robles AVA. There are 60 planted acres of grapes, including six varietals that they use to produce their estate wines. They are a family owned and operated winery, and pride themselves on utilizing the fruit grown on their vineyard to create well balanced and easy drinking wines. Riverstar is a beautiful piece of land, with a scenic meadow in the front of the property that is used for concerts, weddings, and events.

Their boutique tasting room is open Thursdays through Mondays from 11-5, where you can taste their award- winning wines and fun red blends that Riverstar has been known for. They offer a wine and cheese pairing with six of their red wines. They will soon be featuring sparkling wines as well, stay tuned!

Extend your experience at Riverstar by staying in one of their vacation rentals. The “Ranch House” is three bedrooms and two bathrooms with a wrap- around deck, just perfect for watching the gorgeous sunsets over the vines.

The “House on the Hill” is nestled in the middle of the vineyard, with a private pool in the backyard. This home is three bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms, with a fourth room that has a futon and couch to fit all your guests under one roof. More information and photos can be found on our website and on VRBO/ Homeaway.com.

Riverstar is hosting some great concerts this fall. Saturday, September 10, 2016 the Blimp Pilots, a rock n roll cover band, will be playing from 1-4 pm on the meadow. Chaco’s Mexican Grill food truck will be on site cooking up delicious tacos. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs and come hang out with them to listen to some awesome tunes, and enjoy some of their great wines!

The next event will be Saturday, October 15, 2016 and will feature the JD Project from 1-4 pm, as well as Chaco’s Mexican Grill food truck. Come celebrate this year’s successful harvest with live music and flowing wine!

Villa San Juliette

I love visiting Villa San Juliette, they are the neighbors of Ranchita Canyon Vineyard. The beauty there is magnificent, the grounds evoke an image of European splendor. The artistically rendered gates open at 11am, the driveway is punctuated by cypress tress, and olive trees. The statuary, and landscape transport your soul to a place of divine harmony. I feel as though I am in an ancient Roman painting…bring on the banquet!

I have visited VSJ many times, but have never had the opportunity to meet the two gentlemen that own the winery. Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe  are the owners, and I am told that the two met as schoolmates in Liverpool and a friendship bloomed. Both young men loved to entertain and as they grew into adulthood, this shared passion led to careers that often intersected,  as dancers, then as choreographers and as producers of entertainment enjoyed by millions of people all over the world.

Despite their demanding schedules, in 2004 these two friends made time to catch up over a dinner in Las Vegas. They asked the sommelier to surprise them with a bottle of Cab, and, when both glasses were poured, the conversation took a momentous turn. The wine was spectacular, spurring an interest in the Paso Robles AVA that would grow into a love affair. And thus, in that first sip, the dream of Villa San-Juliette Vineyard & Winery was born.

Smitten as they were, just one year later Ken and Nigel purchased a pastoral 168-acre property located at the northern edge of the Paso Robles AVA in the small town of San Miguel, California. A healthy vineyard was already established across rolling slopes and ideal soils, so Ken and Nigel directed their energies towards enhancing the natural beauty of the vineyard with a tasting room styled after the Tuscan villas that Nigel had enjoyed during trips to Italy.

Ken and Nigel’s belief in Paso Robles wine country comes to fulfillment in Villa San-Ju- liette’s comfortable tasting room, superb wines, and idyllic vineyard views.

The two are the producers of American Idol. They also produce many other talent shows, as well as own the winery. In 2013 the winery became SIP certified, which is no easy feat. One must be able to demonstrate their sustainability, water, animal conservation, soil health, and the overall carbon footprint are measured.

Their wines have won several awards too, so it’s so worth a visit. Every time I have visited, I have been fascinated by what appears to be a sculptured wind vane. I recently was told that the “Fat Monk” is a second label. I can’t personally attest to it’s yumminess, but the Fat Monk looks super cool.

Ranchita Canyon Vineyard

The original vineyard was planted in 1970. There are some neat history and stories  that Bill will share with any of his patrons that come out to visit him.There are still vines from that original planting — Old Vine Zinfandel, and Old Vine Petite Sirah. Since purchasing the property in 1999 they have made additional plantings, and now have 11 different varieties planted. They are primarily growers, and sell about 85% – 90% of their wine grapes to other wineries. Here are some of the views from the patio…
They were home wine makers, and opened their commercial winery in 2008. Their plan was to remain small, and focus on their handcrafted estate wines. They presently make 23 different wines, including Old Vine Zin and Petite Sirah, 2 other Zins, all 5 Bordeaux varieties, Sangiovese & a Super Tuscan, Grenache, numerous unique blends, and 3 different Port wines. In 2003 they planted 160 olive trees, so now you can taste their estate olive oil too!
Their twins, Anna & Adam, were 3 years old when they moved to the vineyard, and the twins now have just finished their sophomore years in college – how time flies. They love to help in the vineyard and winery when they are home on breaks and for the summer. Next year will be old enough to help in the tasting room.
Their primary winery is an old metal Butler building, and they have renovated the front into a very nice tasting room. They extended the patio to give more room for people to sit and enjoy the beautiful views, since they are the highest vineyard on the east side.

Teresa and Bill are the owners, growers, wine makers, etc., and you will usually meet one of them pouring wine and olive oil in the tasting room. Bill was kind enough to allow me to come in, and take photos and talk to him about his winery, vineyard, olive orchard.

They have one employee for the vineyard – Ricardo, and he has been with them for many years. They bring in crews for pruning, thinning, harvesting, etc. It’s a beautiful place and Bill is great, and so easy to talk to, he has great passion for his land!

Anna and Adam (the twins)  were in 4H and FFA, and for years they raised goats or steers for auction at the Mid-State Fair, in Paso Robles, CA – using the proceeds for their college funds. That led the family to purchase 3 black angus heifers a number of years ago. The “herd” is now 6, with 3 cows and 3 heifers – and all should be carrying calves at this point. Thus, their “herd” could grow to 12 by year’s end. They also sold 3 steers earlier this year.
Saturday August 6th is the Central Coast Beef & Wine Festival at Halter Ranch. They are one of 10 wineries that also raise cattle, and will be featured at the event. It is a fundraiser for Must Charities, and the Cattle Women Agricultural Education Scholarships. There will be food, wine, music, etc., at the event.