Roll out the Barrels is a 4 day food, wine, and music, kick off to summer event in San Luis Obispo, and this year was the 23rd Anniversary. Doug and I have been wanting to go for years but the event always sells out. They start the event with Barrels in the Plaza which is a “Grown here, Made here” winery and restaurant pairing event that takes place in Mission Plaza. The second night are Winemaker Dinners, and Saturday and Sunday is the Passport to Wine Country- an open house event. This is the event we attended. Two full days of winery to winery wine tasting, food pairings, and music. Our goal was to hit 7 wineries a day for a 14 winery total. Needless to say there were a LOT of wines tasted. So I figure I’ll talk about some of our favorites and link to those with winery descriptions for some of the others.
Doug, I, and several other members of the #ShareSLO Street team checked in at Chamisal Vineyards, got our Passport to Wine (our guide) and got it stamped, a wristband, and glass, and headed on back into the winery. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for a day like this. We tasted several wines including the 2012 Stainless Chardonnay, 2012 Estate Pinot Gris that was paired with an unusual coconut infused cheese, the 2010 Califa Pinot. I enjoyed the 2010 Estate Pinot Noir but the hands down favorite for me and everyone else was the Stainless Pinot Noir. It was unusual and freshly flavorful with of course, no oak because it was put into stainless steel. Made from 54% Clone 828 and 46% Clone 2A with bright fruits like cherry, and cranberry for dryness. It’s a very fruit forward wine with hints of candy apple and berries.
We moved on to Talley Vineyards who offered 1 ticket for the food and 3 tickets for wine tasting. Their offerings included a Bishop’s Peak Malbec, a choice of 2 Chardonnays, a Talley and a Bishop’s Peak, Mano Tinta and a barrel tasting of their upcoming Pinot Noir. All the wines could be paired with a pulled pork slider and potato chips that was being offered to snack on. I enjoyed the barrel tasting, the new Pinot Noir is gonna be really good. The Mano Tinta I didn’t taste but Doug did and liked it. Mano Tinta is Spanish for “Red Hand” and it’s made specifically for a charitable endowment that the Talley family put together- that offers support to their farm workers and their families here is SLO. It is a blend of 43% Malbec, 23% Petite Sirah, 18% Petite Verdot, 13% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon.
I REEEAALLY wanted to get over to Wolff Vineyards because I had seen Clint a couple of weeks ago and he’d told me that they were going to be having Syrah infused meatball subs at the winery, which sounded amaaahzing! Doug may be HEeats but I’m a big foodie too, and when wine is in my food, fuhgetaboutit! So while everyone else stayed at Talley to listen to the Damon Castillo band – a local favorite, I of course dragged Doug and our friend Pat to Wolff. Not to mention we had a schedule to keep and a goal to meet! At Wolff I tasted the 2009 Petite Sirah and the 2010 Syrah (which needless to say went best with the meatballs). I also had some 2009 Pinot Noir and the newest vintage of Brixies Red, named after their black Lab Brixie.
Then it was off to Sinor-LaVallee to meet up with the rest of the group again. I really wanted to get over there because I had never been before and they were only participating the first day of the event. As we checked in they poured us some 2012 Pinot Gris which I really enjoyed and would be a top pick for me. It was really crisp, clean, and refreshing with tropical fruit. 50% of this wine was tank fermented 30% in French oak barrels and 20% was Native fermented in 55 gallon stainless steel drums. We also got to taste the 2011 Pinot Noir from the Talley-Rincon vineyard, 2011 Aubaine Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2011 Anniversary Pinot Noir and the 2010 Syrah from La Galets Vineyard.
We all went across the street (literally) to Kynsi Winery, which I’ve written about in my “Fedora four…” blog. We had to check in and get tickets for our tasting and then stood in line for a Tri-tip sandwich with all the fixin’s while another local band “The Crisptones” played. The winery was tasting their 2010 Chardonnay from Edna Valley, which is from a Clone 76 with hints of tropical fruits. I didn’t get a chance to taste any more because even though I hadn’t used all my tickets they were closing. Kynsi was also serving their 2009 Edna Valley Pinot Noir, their 2009 Bien Nacido Pinot Noir, and their Harvest Cuvee called Hutash.
We booked it over to Edna Valley Vineyard because we knew that Chipwrecked potato chips was serving fresh made chocolate covered potato chips sprinkled with sea salt, which sadly by the time we’d gotten there, they had already packed up. Although other members of the team including Doug and Pat tasted more, I only tasted 1 wine the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, it was dry with minerality and citrus. Then we were off and running to Claiborne and Churchill before they closed.
If you are a regular reader of this blog you know we’ve written about Claiborne and Churchill before. We made it with a few minutes to spare thankfully and were most appreciative of them doing some tastings for us even while they were cleaning up. I started with the Dry Riesling but knowing that we were the last people there and the winery was minutes away from closing I skipped straight to the dessert wines. Made from Orange Muscat, C&C has made a lovely Douce Amie dessert wine. The name means “sweet friend” but more in the vein of a lover or sweetheart. And boy is this ever a VERY friendly and delicately sweet wine that wraps your tongue in florals and fruity aromas like a gentle kiss. The 2011 Port Obispo is the complete opposite- rich, deep and juicy. Fortified with grape spirits as a kicker, that gives it an alcohol content of 18% this dessert wine is no shrinking violet. Made up of 60% Merlot and 40% Petite Sirah this guy screams for a rich chocolate…anything.
Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.
#ShareSLO @ShareSLO #ROTB2013