CARL ON WINE

PASO ROBLES WINERIES

Fulldraw: A Paso up-and-comer

Fulldraw A Paso up-and-comer Following a grand day at Epoch, the Hansens, Terry, and I went to Fulldraw Vineyard, likely not a winery you know since it only makes 1,500 cases annually, a minuscule production — in comparison, Booker, its next-door neighbor, does an estimated 45,000 cases each year. But

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Epoch’s Wines in its Tasting Room

After Jordan Fiorentini’s intriguing and intoxicating tour of the inner workings of Epoch, Terry, Pat, Jim, and I retired to Epoch’s welcoming tasting room, where we were plied with seven offerings, mostly new releases, with a couple of older vintages so that we can see how Jordan’s wines matured Tasting

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A Tour of Epoch’s Inner Sanctum

Over the years, Terry and I have been blessed by several wineries who have responded enthusiastically to our requests to host a tasting for the Santa Clarita Valley Boys and Girls Club. These have been so successful and the wineries so generous that the tastings cumulatively have raised over $300,000

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Hospice du Rhone: An Embarrassment of Riches

If you’re new to wine or just want to see several producers all at once and not have to buy dozens of bottles, then I prescribe you going to a wine festival. There are several different types. For instance, coming in early March annually is the World of Pinot Noir

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The Drama that is Daou Vineyards

The Drama that is Daou Vineyards Perched at 2,200 feet Daou Vineyards sits perched at 2,200 feet in such an ideal location that it is rumored that the local eagles go there to get a bird’s eye view. You need to visit Daou not just for its wine but also

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Pisoni’s Vision for Vineyard Management

Pisoni’s Vision for Vineyard Management Back in August, after visiting with Justin Smith at Saxum, Scott Hawley at Torrin, and the staff at Daou (which will be the subject of my next column), and indulging in the unique dining experience offered by Ian Adamo at Somm’s in Paso Robles, Terry

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The Conclusion to a Memorable Meal in Paso Robles

Second half to our lunch at Somm’s Kitchen in Paso Robles: Remember that this is an intimate dining experience, just 14 guests in total. Somm’s Kitchen Paso Robles And while you may scoff at coughing up $150/person for a meal prepared by someone who denies being a chef, Ian Adamo

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Tasty Food and Wine at Somm’s Kitchen

TASTY FOOD AND OUTSTANDING WINE IN PASO ROBLES So, for $125 to $200/person (occasionally higher), you and your companion join 12 other folks for a lunch or dinner at a nondescript location on a busy street in Paso Robles for a meal prepared by someone who denies being a professional chef.  At first

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Tasting Torrin and Lagom with Scott Hawley

Following up on our August visit at Torrin Winery with owner Scott Hawley and David Newell, his director of sales and hospitality: Despite its virtual cult reputation, Torrin and its sister label, Lagom, produce a minuscule 3,000 cases annually.  So, it’s gained its status not by flooding the market but by the quality of its

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How Scott Hawley Has Evolved into a Celebrated Winemaker

On Aug. 6, Terry and I had the excellent opportunity to sit with Scott Hawley of both Torrin and Lagom Wineries, along with David Newell, his director of sales and hospitality. Winemaker Scott Hawley In a few short years, Scott has gained wide acclaim for his Rhone and Burgundy creations.  Jeb Dunnuck, formerly one of Robert

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The Family and Wines of Saxum’s Justin Smith

The Family and Wines of Saxum’s Justin Smith Justin Smith, Saxum’s proprietor and wildly successful winemaker, is, first and foremost, a family man.  This comes across in so many ways.   For instance, his dad’s mother’s maiden name is Stone. This inspired him to call his winery, Saxum, which is Latin

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Tales of Sampling a Cult Wine, Saxum No. 2

Tales of Sampling a Cult Wine, Saxum No. 2 So, yeah, we spent some time with Justin Smith (of Saxum) and drank some of his wine. We’ll discuss what we did when we left Saxum in a later column. End of story?  NO, not hardly. In my last column I talked about what

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Justin Smith & Saxum

Justin Smith & Saxum There are arguably three Kings of Rhone varietals in the New World (which essentially means every place but France). All three reside and make their wines in California. They are (and I know that my selection will be severely challenged by others), alphabetically, John Alban of

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Epoch in the time of a pandemic

As some of you may remember, I’ve written three times about Epoch Winery and its esteemed winemaker, Jordan Fiorentini. So, once more into the breach. In August 2020, my wife, Terry, and I met up with one of my sisters, June, to be specific, at Epoch in an effort to

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Anthony Yount and Denner

Growing up in the wine capital of the world — St. Louis — Anthony Yount realized at a young age that he wanted to make wine his life because, “It’s a great way to meet girls!” Well, wife Hillary, and two kids later, he’s succeeded in meeting girls (one very

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Mark Pisoni is Carrying on a Pinot Tradition

Yes, it’s been a while. This whole pandemic has significantly impacted wine tourism while having minimal effect on the wine industry otherwise. This column is about the last interview I had at a wine event almost a year ago.  Hopefully, with things improving, we’ll get back to more wine events and tastings. Meanwhile, here’s a

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Epoch’s Epic Wine-tasting for the Boys & Girls Club

Epoch’s Epic Wine-tasting for the Boys & Girls Club If you missed Epoch’s spectacular wine tasting at Salt Creek Grille, then you missed an epic event. Fabulous wine, delicious food and strong community support for an important local resource for the Santa Clarita Valley’s youth, namely the Boys & Girls

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Booker – Its Wine And Its Story

So, how is the “Force of Nature,” Eric Jensen of Paso Robles’ Booker Wines, at making wines? Well, if you’re to believe what other wine critics say about him, not too shabby. Robert Parker wrote about Booker in 2008, “The red wines are nearly off the chart in terms of

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A Force Of Nature — Paso’s Eric Jensen

Some winemakers I interview are introverted or so focused on the viticulture or oenology that they can’t reach far beyond that in polite social conversation. Well, I’m here to tell you, that ain’t Eric Jensen of Booker Wines. Nope, don’t go to a tasting with Eric anticipating a leisurely exploration

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France’s Loss Is The United States’ Gain

You must pity Guillaume Fabre of Paso Robles’ acclaimed Clos Solene. His obvious handicaps might hamper his rise in the competitive wine industry. After all, he’s merely fluent in three languages, has a lengthy heritage of French winemakers in his family, is charming as a snake, and is so handsome

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Epoch Part 2: The Vino

While we were being charmed by Jordan Fiorentini of Paso Robles’ Epoch Estate Wines, she also plied us with her bottled creations. And, yes, they definitely influenced our impressions. Like many wineries in the Paso region, Rhone varietals predominate the production. Syrah, grenache and mourvedre for the reds; grenache blanc,

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