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An (After) Christmas Wine Story

It was a fantastic holiday week and Mike and I enjoyed some amazing wine. The recycle bin was full after New Year’s Eve and the wine was thoroughly enjoyed. This is the second half of the holiday edition of Exploring the Wine Glass. If you missed the first half of the week’s wine and food pairings, you can catch up; A Christmas Wine Story.

December 27th 

I dropped my parents off at the airport and then picked Mike up from work and we went to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo for their annual Zoo lights. I wanted to go so badly last year, but we ended up not having the time. I didn’t want to miss out this year. I think many zoos do this, but in case you are unfamiliar with the concept, they keep the zoo dark and it is only lit up by Christmas lights.  It is so beautiful, I wish the animals were out, but you can’t have it all.  We ordered pizza on the way home and opened a bottle of Anglim Mourvèdre.

Anglim is a small family-owned label located in downtown Paso Robles that is known for Rhône varietals and blends. Their tasting room is located in the old train depot on Pine Street. Like us, they source their fruit. They produce just over 3,000 cases a year. It isn’t easy to find a Mourvèdre and they have made a good one. The fruit is from Hastings Ranch Vineyard,  in the Adelaida District. 

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 December 28th

There were lots and lots of left overs from this past week, so tonight we decided to clear out the refrigerator. It was a hodge podge of a meal – a little of this, a little of that. Although the food wasn’t new and exciting we chose an interesting bottle from Cass – a Marsanne. 

Mike and I haven’t had much Marsanne. I guess that is a shame since it is a food friendly white wine grape known to pair best with seafood and shellfish, especially lobster, crab, shrimp, seabass, clams and mussels. (which wouldn’t be on plate ever) However, Marsanne also pairs perfectly with chicken, veal, pork dishes, spicy flavors and Asian cuisine. Since i was finishing up my Pad Thai from PF Changs, Marsanne worked well.

Cass is located in the Geneseo District sub-AVA, southeast of the town of Paso Robles. The estate vineyard, located above the Huer Huero River is 145-acres and is planted to 12 varieties. An interesting tidbit about Cass’ vines are that they are ENTAV certified.  ENTAV is an agency of the French government that is responsible for certification of winegrape clones for the wine industry in France. These certified French clones are only allowed to be sold in 3 licensed nurseries in California and Cass is among the one of the first vineyards in California to have the vineyards be planted entirely under this certification.Dracaena Wines

December 29th

“sharing” the front seat with Vegas – notice who has more space

We woke up this morning and drove down to Paso Robles. We had to move some of our 2015 Cabernet Franc from our fulfillment center. We were planning on not taking Vegas, as there wouldn’t be room in the truck when we loaded the wine, but he had different plans. When we were leaving, Vegas stood in front of the door to the garage and did that head tilt, sad eyes and butt wag that just screams, “I’m going, right?”  

We tried to tell him he wasn’t going. We even hid his peanut butter filled Kong, but he wouldn’t budge. Instead he somehow made his eyes even bigger and wagged his butt more while looking back and forth between us and the garage. Needless to say, two minutes later, he was jumping into the back of the truck and all three of us were on our way down to Paso. 

On the way back to Fresno, Mike received a text from one of his co-workers. They were heading out to a local wine bar and asked if we wanted to join them. The timing worked out, so we went.  While looking over the wine list, Mike chose a Pinot (which I forgot to take a picture of) and I saw that there was Ammunition “The Equalizer” on the list. I recommended this wine Mike’s colleagues and they happily agreed. It was a big hit! Read my post, Ignite Your Palate With Ammunition Wines to find out more about this up and coming winery. 

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December 30th

It was a quiet day today! I think the first day that we didn’t have anything planned. We started the day with a nice long walk with Vegas on one of the trails here in Fresno. Then came home and enjoyed the nice weather. For dinner, Mike made me one of my favorite meals. Homemade mac and cheese.  He doesn’t ever follow a recipe, so every time is a little different, and this one was one of his top! It was so good. 

In our glass, we had a 2010 Aaron Petite Sirah. I love his motto: Life is an Epic Journey; Go Big or Go Home. A statement that is true in life and wine. A motto that I think I live by. More often than not, I jump in with both feet and let the chips fall where they may. If you don’t try something, you never know the results! As Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” 

We found Aaron years ago, before he was located in Tin City. In fact, the first wine of his we purchased was under his Aequorea label, which is Latin for “Of the Sea” and specializes in single vineyard Pinot Noir. 

 New Year’s Eve

It is hard to believe that 2017 has come to an end. It seems like only yesterday I was saying goodbye to 2016. For our New Year’s Eve meal, we decided to go to Parma, a small family owned Italian restaurant in Fresno (that just happens to carry our wine.)

We opened up with a J. Lohr Carol’s Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc that we paired with a Caprese salad. We love this wine. It is one that we repeatedly purchase when we are visiting the winery. Many people are familiar with the “grocery store” J. Lohr, but if you are ever in Paso, be sure to stop in at the tasting room. There is an entire line of wines, like the Carol’s Vineyard, that are exceptional and are not available any place else.

It was time for the main course and a red wine. We put the screw cap back on the Sauvignon Blanc and opened a Booker Vineyard Tempranillo. The minute this wine was opened and I brought the glass up to my nose, I was in love. We found Booker because they have a weimaraner named Lucy. Our first visit may have been to see a dog, but our subsequent visits are for the wine (and weim.) 

Booker gets its name from two orphan brothers, Claude and Dick Booker, who purchased the land in the late 1920’s.  As the years past they accumulated over 1200 acres. Upon their death they left 100% of their estate to charity. In 2001,  Eric and Lisa Jensen purchased 100 acres of the property and released their first vintage in 2005. 

Mike ordered Parmesan risotto wrapped in pancetta and I couldn’t see anything else on the menu after my eyes saw pumpkin ravioli. I love pumpkin and as long as it is on the menu, it is tough for me to order anything else.

We came home after dinner and began watching Dick Clark’s Rocking New Year’s Eve and celebrated the new year for both time zones. Upon the New York celebration, I, of course, had to saber a bottle of sparkling. We played Napa Valley Monopoly and sipped on our Chandon Brut Rosé until it was time to celebrate California’s new year! It’s a little dark, but it worked like a charm. We found the cork the next morning a good 30 feet away. 

It’s been one amazing week for wine, food and a family. I hope you have had a fantastic holiday season and I wish all of you a healthy and happy New Year. In the new year, may your hand always be stretched out in friendship, but never in want and may all your troubles last as long as your new year’s resolutions.  😛 

~Sláinte!