I love a big, beautiful Cab just as much as the next girl. But when it comes to most wines, individual varietals generally don’t have the legs to stand on their own. As with most things, there are exceptions to every rule, and I’m sure some of my friends (and foes) may disagree (and will likely tell me so)…but in general, blended wines surpass their individual parts in balance, complexity and flavor.
Look at it this way: do you like to eat peanut butter by itself? Or do you prefer it with chocolate or perhaps with some jelly and bread? Like many great taste sensations: sometimes two great tastes, just taste great together. This may sound like a clever jingle (which it is), but it’s also true for wine grapes. In my opinion, there's nothing better than a wine that exhibits the bright, fruity cherry-flavors of a Cabernet Sauvignon softened by the silky-chocolate hints of a Merlot and the lingering complexity of a Cab Franc (much like our 2008 Soul Mate, I might add). Whereas to achieve this with anyone of these individual varietals, you'd be giving up one of these delectable traits. (For the rest of the story, click the READ MORE link below...)
On September 29, First Crush Savored the Central Coast with Sunset wine editor, Sara Schneider and a group of eager new Crush-tomers. After a sipping and picking about a 700 lbs. of Silver Horse Vineyard Syrah, the fun-loving group enjoyed a fabulous lunch prepared by Chef Julie Simon of Thomas Hill Organics paired with the wines of Chamisal Vineyards. Great wine and food, set to the melodious tunes by the Belmores and beautiful panoramic views from the Silver Horse Vineyard made for a fabulous day.
The First Crush "Berry-to-Bottle" tour was one of the tours featured as part of Sunset's Savor the Central Coast hosted by the San Luis Obispo County Visitors' Bureau. It was an abbreviated version of the Crush Encounters only available from First Crush in the beautiful Paso Robles wine region. Savor is a three-day event that highlights the best of the best of the Central Coast giving guests a chance to taste wines, visit attractions, enjoy farm and agriculture tours and much more.
First Crush enjoyed being a part of this fabulous event and having a chance to showcase its fabulous, fun and educational hands-on winemaking experiences. There's no other wine experiences like the First Crush available anywhere else. For the fall 2011 season, there are two remaining Crush Encounter winemaking weekends. They include Oct. 15 at the Cass Vineyard & Winery and Oct. 22 at Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery.
Harvest is finally underway in Paso Robles. Things have been getting off to a slow start and yields are low, but spirits are high. Regardless of the trials and tribulations, harvest is by far the most beautiful and exciting time in wine country. And only First Crush puts you up front and center in all of action with our hands-on, educational, fun and fantastic Crush Encounters!
So what are you waiting for? There's still time to come to the beautiful Paso Robles wine region this fall to LEARN, SEE and DO a real wine grape crush! There's nothing else like it anywhere else, and it only happens once a year, and it's only available from First Crush! If you register by this Friday, Oct. 7 for either of your remaining Crush Encounters, you can bring a friend for half off. (See website for details.)
If Vines Could Talk...
They'd tell you they've had a really tough year! Due to the late spring frost, many growers and winemakers are seeing less than 50% of their normal yield come in from the field, and due to an unseasonably cool summer, it's coming in later. Growers are hoping that the lower yields will be compensated by higher quality, and increased fruit prices in 2011. Bulk wine supply has definitely dwindled with 2009 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon vanishing faster than Houdini. And with slim pickin's this season, I think growers are right to be optimistic about 2012.
For First Crush, harvest is nearly half over. With three successful Crush Encounters under our belt, we head into the home stretch. So far, the weather and the grapes have been beautiful, and our Crush-tomers have all had a great time.We have two Crush Encounters left: one at Cass Vineyard & Winery on Oct. 15 and one at Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery on Oct. 22. Don't miss these last two opportunity to enjoy a fun and fabulous Harvest and Wine Grape Crush in Paso Robles this fall.
Don't be Crushed
Despite the woes in the field, things are still busy in the winery. We are fermenting our first-ever First Crush Syrah Rose, which was harvested with loving hands by our Crush-tomers on September 24 from the Silver Horse Vineyards. The Rose is coming along nicely and has almost finished its primary fermentation. Our Savor Crush-tomers and Calypso Crush-tomers harvested Syrah on September 29 and 30, and it too is making its magical transformation from berry to world-class wine.
Savoring the Central Coast
Harvest Wine Weekend
There's a lot happening in Paso Robles in October, and the Harvest Wine Weekend is one way to check in on some of the action. It's three days of tasting, touring, wining and dining. Wineries all over the region invite you to visit Paso Robles and host parties, dinners and more.
First Crush is no exception. We've teamed up with Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery to offer you three great days of winemaking fun. You can experience it in one or two days, and are invited to kick off your weekend FREE OF CHARGE at the Pomar Junction Train Wreck, Friday, Oct. 21 from 5 p.m. – dusk when you register for a one or two-day Crush Encounter. You'll enjoy VIP treatment at the TrainWreck, see and learn how wine is made with First Crush and Pomar Junction on Friday, and then get to bottle wine to take home on Sunday.
For a limited time, you can enjoy all of this for as little as $175/pp. A full day of wine making education, great food, music and fun for about the price of ONE winemaker dinner.For details and information about everything going on Harvest Wine Weekend, visit pasowine.com.
From blogs.babble.com - posted by Julievr, September 2, 2011
In celebration of California Wine Month, throughout September wineries, hotels and tour operators throughout the Golden State are offering affordable ways to experience wine country. If you’re looking to get a little extra out of summer and take advantage of a slower travel season, this is a great opportunity to explore California wine country. Deals and discounts for wine lovers during September – California Wine Month:
Rest of the story...
The name is ancient, deriving from the names of kings mentioned in the Bible. Jeroboam, for example, was a king of Israel. His name was first applied to a size of wine bottle in a work by Sir Walter Scott (another Scotsman, you will notice) and seems to have been a joke derived from the description of Jeroboam in the first book of Kings as “a mighty man of valour” who “made Israel to sin”.
Yes Virginia, Louis Pasteur did actually pay a significant role in the use of yeast in wine fermentation. Though most commonly known for his work with milk pasturization, in 1857, Louis Pasteur discovered microscopic cells reproducing in soured milk that he thought to be lactic acid yeasts. They turned out to be bacteria, but the important part of his discovery is that the yeasts were alive. Two years later, Pasteur presented, a "Note on Alcohol Fermentation" -- a paper that demonstrated that yeasts growing and reproducing caused fermentation. Prior to that time, it was thought that alcohol and carbon dioxide were produced through a theory of spontaneous generation.
It was later shown that Pasteur was partially correct and partially wrong, but Pasteur made an amazing discovery about yeast cells: they can live without oxygen. From this he concluded that "fermentation is life without oxygen." This is also not true since we now know that yeasts cause better fermentation in the presence of oxygen but at least Pasteur recognized this possibility before anyone else. Pasteur died before two German brothers discovered that yeasts "per se" aren't actually the cause of fermentation.
For more on the subject, read "The Miracle of Wine Yeast" by Jack Keller. You can also learn more about the current impacts of cultured yeast on wine production at the July 2011 First Crush Winemaking Workshop featuring yeast expert, Andre Austin of CellarWise in Paso Robles, California. The workshop will be held at the First Crush Wine Workshop, located at 2995 Pleasant Road in Paso Robles on July 23, 2011, 2 - 5 p.m. Call (805) 434-2772 for more information or to register, or register online.
When someone talks about wine culture, most of us think about how our society is influenced by the highly regarding beverage we all love so much. But to real winos, wine culture takes on a whole new meaning.
Cultured wine yeasts are widely used in both home and commercial winemaking. They have been a boon to the industry and give winemakers control over the taste and development of the wines we drink. Most wine drinkers probably aren’t even aware that winemakers choose yeasts for their wines like women choose the right shoes to match their outfits. Nor do they know the important role these microscopic transformers (a mere 8/25,000ths of an inch long) play. There are literally hundreds of cultured yeast strains available for wines. Each of them have their own distinct characteristics – just like the grape varietal they are used on – and can significantly impact the taste and style of a wine.
Andre Austin, owner of CellarWise (a winery supply store in Paso Robles) is a 15-year veteran in the industry and he knows his yeasts . He will be the featured guest speaker at the July First Crush winemaking workshop: “Yeasts & Yields,” Saturday, July 23 from 2-5 p.m. at the First Crush Wine Workshop.
Austin will talk about proper yeast re-hydration, how to select yeast strains and conduct a comparative tasting with wines made with different types of yeasts. (To read the rest of the story, follow the read more link below)
Believe it or not, blue cheese isn’t just for dessert anymore. It pairs well with both red and white table wines and some of the best cheeses for pairing with table wines are born in the U.S.A.
I love wine and I love cheese. But what I really love is a great wine and cheese pairing so I’m also looking for excuses to come up with new ones. When I came up with the idea to create a Red, White & Blues party some people thought I was crazy. I had one cheese expert tell me “you can’t pair blue cheese with white wine.”
Well, I am crazy but don’t ever tell me I “can’t” do something! I sipped and sampled for several days so that I could prove the wine and cheese pairing experts wrong…and I did. So…this Fourth of July I am declaring my independence by hosting a “Red, White & Blues party and celebrating the freedom to pair whatever wine we want with blue cheese. But all in good taste, of course.
Through this experience, I learned a lot about blue cheese and came up with some great pairings. To learn more about blue cheese and my findings.
But the best part, I’m going to share the fruits (or in this case, cheeses) of my labor with you. This Sunday, July 3, join us out at the First Crush Wine Workshop for our “Red, White & Blues” party. We’ll help get your 4th of July celebration off with a bang! You can taste our great wines with some creamy cheeses (and other goodies) enjoy cool blues and have a great time.
A true blue tradition
Just like America, it is thought that blue cheese was discovered by accident. Fittingly, for our Fourth of July celebration, blue (or in some cases, bleu) cheese is mired in tradition and has a rich history. Gorgonzola is one of the oldest known blue cheeses but it is the British that have perfected and protected the high standards of blue cheeses primarily made from cow’s milk. Roquefort is said to have been invented in 1070 AD, but it wasn’t until the 11th century that it received it acquired its blue veins that cheese lovers know and love.
Join us for our June winemaking workshop and find out how different types of oak influence wines. Joe Farley, representative for Radoux Barrels and the winemaker for F/S Cellars joins us for Shoots & Barrels on June 25, 2011 from 1-4 p.m.
In the winery, we're going to find out what a difference a barrel can make. You'll learn how barrels are made, the characteristics of different types of oak and oak alternatives, and taste how different types of oak influence wine taste by tasting wines aged in different types of oak.
Winemaker Joe Farley is the F in FS – a family-owned winery in Paso Robles. Joe has been passionate about wine since his time at Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo. Since graduating in the 80’s, Joe has worked as vineyard manager for Martin Vineyards, (formerly Martin Weyrich Winery) and assistant vineyard manager for French Camp Vineyards – one of the largest wine grape growing operations in San Luis Obispo County. He also been assistant winemaker for Martin & Weyrich, his former family-owned winery called Abby D’Or and Tobin James Winery. Joe knows that great wines begin with the nurturing of the grapes, and he oversees the whole process from “berry to bottle,” making him a perfect presenter for our June “Berry to Bottle” winemaking workshop.
Next, viticulturist Lowell Zelinski is going to take you out into the "blooming" vineyard and talk about bloom time, and what it means to both the grower and the vine, and talk about fruit set, tissue sampling, fertility decisions, early yield estimates and shoot positioning. He’s also going to tell you what a “petiole” is then show you how to collect petiole samples and why.
Reservations recommended. Call (805) 434-2772 or check availability online.
Our 2011 Wine Grape Escapes are better than ever. Every Grape Escape lets you experience wine country during our most exiting and spectacular time of year -- CRUSH! You'll get a taste of winemaking while having a fantastic time in the vineyard and the winery. You'll enjoy fabulous wine country cuisine, premium Paso Robles wines and learn about the region, its wines and how they're made from the people (growers, winemakers, and chefs) that actually make Paso Robles one of the hottest wine regions in the country.
HERE ARE SOME EXCITING NEW (& OLD) FEATURES:
1, 2 and 3-day programs with new pricing and featuresSunday Brunch & Bottle lets you bottle and take home wine that weekendAll-inclusive hotel package options are back! You can once again purchase a "complete" Grape Escape Package with discounted hotel options from four of Paso's best hotels: the Paso Robles Courtyard Marriott, the Holiday Inn Express, La Quinta and La Bellasera Inn & Suites. These are great rates that are only available from First Crush with the purchase of your Wine Grape Escape.
So....sip, crush and stomp your way into a wine lover bliss in the beautiful Paso Robles Wine Country this fall. Space is limited and early registration discounts are available so don't delay, register today!
DETAILS & AVAILABILITY
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Winery/Office: 2975 Limestone WayPaso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 434-2772 Fax (805) 434-3337