01 Nov 2011
There seems to be a mascot for every winery I hit these days. There is the typical winery cat that lounges around outside the tasting room and adminently avoids the buzzed patrons that try to pet the “kitty kitty”. Then, there is the vineyard dog that usually is, more often than not, happy to greet guests and looks as confident running through the vines as the winemaker himself.
At Eberle Winery, a bronze boar greets each guests with the promise of luck if you drop a coin into the Eberle or “small boar” fountain. As my boyfriend Joe and I walked in, we made sure to plop a quarter into the fountain and say hello to this bronze beast. But as we soon discovered, Eberle Winery certainly does not need the luck of the boar to appease its vistors. The vast selection and quality of wine here alone is worthy of a stop.
As we entered the Redwood building housing the tasting room, I was glad to find a casual tasting room counter and pleasantly surprised to find a complimentary tasting that allowed six tastings from a list of 15 different wines! My experience has been that in most cases a winery not specializing in a few varietals usually means that most will not be great. This was not the case with Eberle Winery. Almost all their wines had something complex or flavorful to enjoy.
2007 was a standout and some of my favorites were the 2007 Sangiovese, 2007 Zinfandel, 2007 Syrah Steinbeck Vineyard and the 2007 Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon. The Sangiovese surprised with a full bodied burst of spice, cherry, raspberry, and licorice. The Zinfandel was earthy with rich color and ripe blackberry flavor. The Vineyard Cabernet was another winner, with wild berry flavors and a good tannic finish. The Vineyard Cabernet is a great pick if you have the time to age it a bit. At $19 a bottle it is a real deal! The Syrah had a rich bouquet of blueberry, cherry, oak, vanilla, and pepper. Another great one for aging. Before leaving, the wine room respresentative spoiled us by pouring a reserve 2003 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon that would have been a sin to not drink to the last drop.
With the exception of the 2003 Cabernet at $75 a bottle, all of the wines we tasted were $25 or less. This is less than you’d expect to pay in other regions like Napa or Sonoma. Look for Eberle wines at your local wine shop or some select grocery stores. We were told often times they carry them.
Eberle Winery is open to the public from September-March from 10a.m.-5p.m. and 10a.m.-6:00p.m. April-August. There is a scenic deck overlooking the Estate Vineyard. Private tours of the winery and wine caves by appointment.
Happy Wine Trekking!
08 Jun 2011
Does a dish inspire a wine selection or does the wine inspire the dish? In this case, on my visit to Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles, the wine definitely inspired the dish and the chef. Grown and bottled on the estate, the 2009 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel blanc inspired my chicken piccata cooking frenzy this evening. With notes of lemon, honey, spice, and a slight mineral finish, it was the perfect compliment to this traditonal italian dish.
Tablas Creek Winery specializes in Rhone Varietals. The Espirit is a white blend consisting of Roussane, Grenache Blanc, and Picpoul blanc grapes grown in the Rhone Valley of France. Don’t panic if you have never heard of any of these varietals. This dish could easily pair with any white wine, especially Chardonnay which flavors usually compliment, creamy buttery flavored dishes.
Here are two easy rules to follow when pairing wine and food, which I always use:
1. Compliment the dish with similar flavors in the wine. In this case, the key ingredients in the chicken piccata were lemon, capers, and butter.
2. Go opposite. For example, pairing a rich spicy pork dish with a softer, smoky red wine like Pinot Noir. Or a spicy dish with a slightly sweet wine.
3. There are no set rules to pairings. Try what works for your tastes, but I suggest trying a few traditonal pairings before you get too adventurous, especially when having dinner guests over.
4 chicken breasts rinsed and patted dry. Cut crosswise. Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper. Dredge lightly through flour. In a frying pan, add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Cook chicken 3 minutes on each side and remove to plate. Add 1/3 cuplemon juice, 1/4 cup capers (rinsed and drained) and 1/2 cup chicken broth. Bring to boil. Return chicken to pan. Cook 5 minutes or until fully cooked. Remove to plate and pour remaining sauce over chicken. Garnish with parsley.
Tablas Creek Vineyard 2009 Espirit De Beaucastel Blanc. $40. Divine.
2009 La Crema Chardonnay $14.99. Bevmo and most grocery stores.