Monday, June 27, 2011

True Grit: The Dirt on Paso Robles

Justin Vineyards in Paso Robles, California
Justin Vineyards in Paso Robles, California
(Revisited 02/18/2013)

Just over a decade ago – when only 35 wineries existed in the undeveloped farming community – Paso Robles barely registered on wine drinkers’ radars. While the dusty, down home atmosphere has remained relatively unchanged, today over 200 wineries stretch across 26,000 acres of this Central Coast wine region.

Named El Paso de Robles – The Pass of the Oaks – for its wide canopies of oak trees, the newly fashionable wine region actually has a rich, storied history in grape growing and winemaking. The fathers of the Mission San Miguel planted Paso’s first communion wine grapes in 1815. Thirty-five years later, Europeans began migrating to the area and planting their own vineyards with imported Zinfandel and Muscat grapes, and in the 1880s, rancher Andrew York introduced commercial winemaking to the region when he founded Ascension Winery.

While it officially received its AVA status in 1983, it wasn’t until the turn of the 21st century that Paso Robles experienced its wine renaissance. Seduced by the semi-arid climate, low humidity and low rainfall, not to mention the abundance of open space and (relatively) affordable land prices, winemakers from France, Australia, South Africa and even the Napa Valley have flooded this charming farming community; since 2000, the number of boutique wineries dotting Paso’s winding hills has more than tripled.

Rich with shallow, decomposed shale and limestone as well as mixtures of clay, sand and silt, Paso’s rolling hillsides have proven to be a goldmine for hardy red grapes like Syrah, Grenache, Zinfandel and even Cabernet Sauvignon. Thanks to the cool, coastal breezes flowing over and around the Coastal Ranges each evening, Paso also boasts some of the greatest day to night temperature fluctuations in California (sometimes as great as 50 degrees), which allows fruit to ripen without sacrificing its acidity. For a fantastic overview of the varietals produced in Paso Robles (as well as a hilarious and entertaining video), watch "Paso Man":

Wineries like Justin Winery, Terry Hoage Vineyards and Tablas Creek consistently turn out award-winning wines from these complex soils. We’ve long been fans of Tablas Creek’s biodynamically farmed Rhône style blends as well as Justin’s famous ISOSCELES, a Bordeaux-inspired blend that in 2000 was named one of the top 10 wines in the world by the Wine Spectator.

To purchase these wines and more, click here to view our current Paso Robles wines.

Side Note: Thinking of visiting Paso Robles? Check out the JUST Inn, a luxurious four-suite B&B located on the Justin Vineyards and Winery property. There are no words for how spoiled the staff will make you feel. There are also no words for the local tomato and burrata sandwich found on the menu at downtown Paso Robles’ Artisan. The creamy-crispy-butter sandwich is served with razor thin onion rings and is best enjoyed with a glass of Grenache Blanc from one of the local wineries. Tommy Oldre of Tablas Creek calls it a downtown gem. We call it the feather in Paso’s culinary cap.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Beautiful Places

Moonstone, Napa
The Bounty Hunter staff experienced a real treat this week.  We toured  two exclusive luxury villas in the Napa Valley and enjoyed a wine reception in a 32 foot high observation tower.  Partnering with BeatifulPlaces, a luxury villa rental and epicurean adventure company, our clients can now experience Wine Country in a whole new way.  Villas can be rented for as little as 3 nights or as many as 8 weeks, depending on the particular home.  We explored both the Zinfandel Wine Tower and Moonstone.

Moonstone is nestled on a 20 acre Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard, with nary a neighbor in sight.  This state of the art, ultra-modern villa rents for approximately $25,000/week, depending on the season and length of stay.  We walked around slowly, taking in all the amazing details, unable to decide which piece of the landscape we preferred: the pool, the rose garden surrounded by vines or the outside kitchen equipped with a grill and wood fire pizza oven.

Zinfandel Wine Tower, Napa
We then traveled down Zinfandel Lane to the Wine Tower, a brand new 3 bedroom modern home directly across from Raymond Winery.  This home has a large open kitchen and living space with access from two different sliders out to a large garden area.  One direction takes you to the six-person hot tub, while the other takes you to the curved stairwell that leads to the wine tower.  Fifteen of us enjoyed the beautiful 360 degree views of Napa Valley while sipping some great Bounty Hunter wines and munching on some nifty nibbles.  This property would be perfect for entertaining guests – the WOW factor is off the charts.

We enjoyed ourselves and learned first hand of the high quality villas that BeautifulPlaces represents.  If you are coming to Napa Valley or Sonoma anytime soon, we can steer you straight to our friends over at BeautifulPlaces, where you have an opportunity to experience Wine Country like the locals.

--Summer Olson, Event & PR Manager

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

An Evening with Rolls Royce…

This year we vowed to spend more time on the road, getting to know our loyal patrons and also meet some new folks who might appreciate special access to “great stuff.” Last week The Bounty Hunter, Mark Pope, and I were invited to an exclusive driving experience in the new Rolls Royce Phantom and Ghost at the Bridges Club in Rancho Santa Fe, California. In typical Bounty Hunter fashion, we brought along with us a dozen or so rare and limited wines to showcase for our friends. A little 2009 Marius Delarche Corton-Charlemagne, 2007 Gaja Ca’Marcanda Magari, 2007 Blind Justice, and a special sneak preview of the 2008 Joseph Phelps Insignia – just to name a few. As you can imagine, the cars weren’t the only thing turning heads that evening.

The event was a blast. We got the chance to catch up with some longtime customers that live in the area, as well as meet a lot of new faces who loved what we had to offer. Oh, and we also got to take a spin in a Ghost – wow! From the brilliance of fine automobile craftsmanship to the majestic setting of the Bridges Club, the event was nothing short of spectacular and a pleasure to attend.

We’re planning to participate in similar events later this year, so when we make it to your neck of the woods, rest assured there will be an invitation in your inbox.


--Stefan Matulich, Sales Director