Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Wine Tasting with Nina

One of my favorite things about living in San Luis Obispo county is the wineries! It seems a few new wondrous tasting rooms pop up every month.

Ron and I have been talking for months with our friend and fellow cuisiniere, Nina, about bringing her to some of our fave vineyards that she hadn't experienced, and the day finally came! We packed a picnic lunch and headed out to Paso Robles.

First stop, Di Raimondo's Cheese Shop on 13th Street. 

Cheese is a wine-tasting necessity, and Di Raimondo's is the premiere place in all of north county.

Jeannie and John were both in the shop that day, slicing samples for the customers. We tried 4 varieties from around the globe, and selected the Pilota, a mild, creamy, semi-soft goat's milk and cow's milk cheese, and an aged Gouda (one of my faves).

We picked out a few ounces of Olives Provencal to help round out our picnic lunch. It was time to begin the wine journey.

We started with fresh palettes at Maloy O'Neill.

People find it hard to believe when we tell them that EVERY WINE at this treasure chest is a gold doubloon! 

Even their Chardonnay is lovely! Really.

Plus, the tasting room at Maloy O'Neill is like a charming little Italian villa, with pretty gifts.

And if you happen to visit when winemaker Shannon and his wife Maureen are there, you will have an exceptional wine tasting experience! Ask about Tootsie, their uncommon Irish Wolf Hound!

Next, we headed over to the 46 West and went to Lone Madrone. This is a newer winery that took over Sycamore Farms and what used to be Bonny Doon. 

The tasting room is beautiful and filled with lots of great wine-related gifts, bottled herbs, lavender products from local growers, unique furniture and decorative outdoor items.

The tasting room pourers are well-versed in the world of wine!

We had our picnic lunch near the herb gardens.

Nina made Arugula-Prosciutto Rolls, very delicious. I made a Curry Chicken Salad with golden raisins. We had our cheeses, olives, a loaf of French bread, and a dry Salami. A perfect little feast!

With most of our afternoon gone, we decided to visit Denner, a winery that none of us had been to but the place was recommended by friends who are wine lovers.

Our final stop was Four Vines. I wanted Nina to go home with some special bottles of wine that she and her husband didn't have in their collection.

The Petite Syrah (called "The Heretic") is a fave, and their "Loco," is excellent Tempranillo blend. Not to be overlooked is "Anarchy," a fab blend of Syrah, Zinfandel, and Mourvedre.

We all did, indeed, go home with several deep, dark and delicious red wines from Maloy O'Neill, Lone Madrone and Four Vines.

Nina also got some very special gifts for her husband's upcoming birthday, which she purchased at Lone Madrone.

Then I went home and took a little nap!

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