We recently celebrated my
mother’s 80th birthday by gathering the family in Pismo Beach. Lori has already written about the
celebration, and about wine tasting in Paso Robles, on her blog
post. On the way to Pismo we
stopped for wine tasting in Edna Valley.
Edna Valley is about 45
minutes south of Paso Robles, still in San Luis Obispo County. We had never been to any of these
wineries before, so Mom’s birthday was a great opportunity to explore a new
We stopped first at Tolosa
Winery. Great views there, and
a beautiful tasting room. We had
arranged a special tasting for Mom and Dad, and Lori and I, and also our
younger son Jacob and his family, including their first child, 5 months old in
the picture below. The special
tasting was a wine and cheese pairing as follows:
2011 Chardonnay (No Oak) <-> Bucheron
The No Oak Chardonnay is
crisp, fruity, light. The Bucheron
is a goat’s milk cheese from the Loire Valley in France, fairly mild, a little
bit soft. The No Oak Chardonnay
was our favorite wine of the day.
2010 Chardonnay <-> “Lamb Chopper”
A more conventional
California Chardonnay, paired with a sheep’s milk cheese from Holland.
2010 Pinot Noir <-> Taleggio
This is a cow’s milk cheese
from an area northeast of Milan, Italy.
This was the favorite cheese among those of us who like soft
2010 Cabernet Sauvignon <-> “Barely Buzzed”
This is a cow’s milk cheese
from Utah, semi-firm, with the rind rubbed with espresso and lavender. Unique and delicious.
This was a relaxed and fun tasting.
Next we went to Saucelito
Canyon Vineyard. This was a
completely different wine tasting experience for a few reasons. Where Tolosa has a large and immaculate
facility, Saucelito Canyon is small and quaint. Tolosa was Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Saucelito Canyon was
Zinfandel. Where Tolosa was a
relaxed and special tasting, at Saucelito Canyon we were joined by my brother
and sister and their families, and the noise level went up considerably. Fortunately they have a really nice
outside tasting area that we took over, so as not to disturb their other guests
inside the tasting room.
Here’s what we tasted:
2011 Sauvignon Blanc: Good, but we came here for the Zinfindels. Let’s move on.
“Backroads”: A lighter bodied Zin,
with nice fruit. Bought a couple
bottles of this, and opened one last night when we cooked a turkey breast. Worked quite well.
2011 Dos Mas: Zinfandel plus two more: Grenache and Petite Sirah. Those two more gave it a bit more
oomph, and a nice finish. This was
the favorite of a few people in our group. And it comes in a bottle with a slightly unconventional
shape, which makes it different and unusual.
2011 Muchacho: Zinfandel and Tempranillo. OK, we’ve tasted blends like Dos Mas
before; they’re fairly common. I
can’t remember tasting another Zinfandel-Tempranillo blend. And why not, why haven’t other
winemakers put these two grapes together before? This was great; my favorite and the favorite of a few others
in our group.
2011 Zinfandel Estate: For those purists who like just the
Zinfandel and only the Zinfandel, especially when it comes from 100+ year old
vines. This wine is a tribute to
the winemaker being able to get out of the way and just let great grapes make
great wine. The other favorite of
some of the group.