Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Allegretto Vineyard Resort by Ayres - ES PASO ROBLES

By Kat Thomas, Editor in Chief, Edible Skinny

We finished off our second night of tasting of wine tasting in Paso at the Allegretto Vineyard Resort by Ayres.  

Tucked into the beautiful hills of the Paso Robles Wine Country, on 20 acres of vineyards and olive and fruit trees, this European-style retreat is the first of its kind by the Ayres family, who has run a thriving Ayres Hotel chain throughout Southern California since 1904. 
The property is a world unto itself with 171 guest rooms and suites, a wine bar featuring the resort's own private wine label among many others, full-service spa, pool, manicured gardens, walking paths, medieval-style Abbey, hundreds of antiques, 12,000-square-foot courtyard.  The space, a passion project of world traveler Doug Ayres, includes inspired vignettes of art that emphasize the world of sacred geometry.  Antiques and artifacts from across the globe and the ages, including a five-foot stone polished to a beautiful sheen after tumbling in a river in India for 5,000 years; a towering Siddhartha statue from India; and a massive cross-section from a Sequoia tree whose rings date back to before the building of the Great Wall of China and the birth of Christ.
Allegretto was named for the Italian musical command, which is an indication to play quickly and with joy.  And it is with this happiness that we sampled four Allegretto Estate Wines.  One of my favorites was the Tannat, Bella Collina Vineyard, 2013 (since this is one of my personal favorite varietals).  With a nose of cinnamon and anise, and a palate of cherries and earth this wine makes you feel like your drinking terra firma.  Another wine we cherished was their Zinfandel, Loma Linda Vineyard 2013.  A “waltzing wine” it flaunts its palate turns of White Peppers, Blackberries, and Blueberries
We continued the gastronomic festivities at Allegretto’s restaurant: Cello Ristorante & Bar, a culinary getaway that “celebrates the Allegretto culture of joy, discovery and the good life.”  A farm to fork dining adventure that focuses on Northern Italian cuisine.  We started our meal out with some fantastic cocktails.   I dabbled in a Gold Fashioned, a modern day take on the Old Fashioned composed of Eagle Rare Bourbon, Benedictine Liqueur, Angostura Bitters, Lemon Essence, and actual Gold.   Kelly had the Paso R&R concocted of Re:Find Cucumber Vodka, Rhubarb Simple, Lime Juice, Rose Bitters, and Champagne.  The poet remarked, “It tastes like an acceptance letter to Harvard.”

We then perused the menu for some items from Executive Chef Eric Olson to nosh on while we were biding our time for the sun to set.   Between bits of a Burrata Martini, with all the classic highlights of heirloom tomatoes, Burrata, and Balsamic Vinegar and a Butter Leaf Lettuce Salad with Thyme Seared Day Boat Scallops, Morro Bay Avocado, Mango, Pickled Sushi Ginger, topped with a Creamy Eberle Chardonnay Reduction Dressing.  Trés Yummm, with 3 Ms!

After a sunset stroll of the grounds we returned to Cello our main meals.   I delighted in my Foraged Mushroom including Eggplant, Shallots, Leeks, Garlic, Italian Parsley, Shaved Truffle Cheese, and a contrasting Winter Salad topping it all off.  It was like eating the coziness of a winter sweater.   Our dining companion dived into the Crab Spaghetti which included Snow Crab Claws, Sliced Jalapenos, and Minced Scallions, Lemon, Allegretto Viognier Butter.  
Allegretto was the Pièce de résistance on a trip that allowed us to explore the expansive evolution of this burgeoning wine region.  Paso has now become a wine space that people are taking note of, in 2016 Paso Robles named Best Wine Region in the West by Sunset Magazine.
So if you’re looking for an escapes only four hours away from Los Angeles (or San Francisco), hop in that car and start heading towards your getaway.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Eberle Winery - ES PASO ROBLES

By Kat Thomas, Editor in Chief, Edible Skinny

Our next winery to explore was one of the grandfathers of Paso Robles wine: Eberle Winery, established in 1982, by Gary Eberle.   Eberle is a braggadocios man, but with every right to be.  Before finding wine he played football at Penn State and pro ball for 18 days with the Detroit Lions.  But, a National Science Fellow, the science of wine was his calling.  After a mentoring from Robert Mondavi, he has been making wine every year since 1973.  “Mondavi was the PT Barnum of wine, and I say that with the most admiration ever,” noted the wry Eberle.   
The Eberle Winery Tasting Room is open seven days a week, offering complimentary wine tasting, cave tours and spectacular views of their vineyard.  Eberle, a Swiss name for “little boar,” now does 30,000 cases per year with a focus primarily on red wines (which constitute 83% of their inventory).  According to Gary, Eberle is the busiest tasting room in Paso, and the second busiest tasting room in the state.  The winery does 90,000 guests a year, with 50% of retail sales in storefront.  “We sell everything.”  In 1991, Eberle was seeking additional space for their red wine program and decided to go underground. Today there are 16,000 square feet of underground caves and tunnel located below the winery. 
Eberle’s winemaker is also carries the last name of Eberle, although he’s not blood related.   Chris Eberle attended Cal Poly for Ag Business and Viticulture before traveling the world making wine in Europe, Australia, and South America.   Gary was looking for a winemaker and friend requested him on Facebook, the rest is history. 

Some of our favorites from this tasting included Eberle’s Cabernet Sauvignon 2013.   Eberle only makes a Reserva approximately half of the time.  “It has to be the best of the best to make it.”  This wine will be released in 2017 and according to Gary will be sold out by Christmas.  This is a wine of detail (with the label painted straight onto the glass bottle), with velvety tannins bringing up hints of cherry and cedar.   Another fantastic wine is their 2016 Muscat Canelli Double Gold.  Refreshing and semi-sweet, this wine with its flavors of Jasmine and Orange blossoms is a fantastic aperitif or to complement a decadent dessert.