Tag Archives: Central Coast

Camp Fire Wines

This is a long overdue post from the end of last summer.
We went on a two-nighter camping trip out to the redwood forest in Big Basin.

Considering we were in Santa Cruz County there were only two wineries worthy of the journey!

Bonny Doon and Ridge.

Bonny Doon’s Albariño is one of California’s best, lovely lime and tangerine with lots of acidity crispness.
At $18 too, quite a bargain. The current vintage is from a different vineyard, however without even tasting it I am sure it will be good. Perfect apéritf.

Bonny Doon Albariño

2013 Bonny Doon Albariño

Geyserville was the first Ridge wine I had, it was one from the mid-nighties, from then on I’ve been a fan, collecting different vintages, varietals and trying them randomly….2009 was indeed a superb wine. Soft cherry fruit, pepper, bramble, hint of clove spice, mint – we had these with wild boar and sage sausage and merguez, with harrissa mayonnaise. Being from California I’ll always have soft spot for zinfandel, this guy is a benchmark for the rest.


2009 Ridge Geyserville

2009 Ridge Geyserville


Me and Bonny Doon have got some history. From my first encounter when I set out on the near impossible task of sourcing a bottle of Cardinal Zin in the English country side for a zinfandel presentation at college (I even had the t-shirt!). To some ten years later when I finally got to meet Randal Grahm himself; where I had hard time keeping up with him as he went from tank to barrel trying his newest vintage that had just finished fermentation. To the encounter with Le Cigar Volant below…What in God’s holy name are you blathering about?

Well, I’ll tell you what I’m blathering about man…after having tried all these wines, served these wines and admired these wines….this 2009 Le Cigare Volant Réserve (en bonbonne, no doubt), is by far the finest Bonny Doon I’ve ever had. This wine is silky soft on the palate and gushing with pure blackberry fruit, there’s some mint, black licorice, wild mountain herbs and it just lasts and lasts on the finish. This is not a big wine and the alcohol is on the surprisingly low side at 13.4%. Regardless, this wine is fantastic, and for some god forsaken reason there’s still some left on their website.

I vividly remember sipping this wine well into the night just amazed at its

Well done.

2009 Le Cigare Volant

2009 Le Cigare Volant – best served with steak on the bloody side











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Curry + Wine Challenge

So we had a little tasting at Spiltwine towers recently with a Halter Ranch rosé and and skin contact white (AKA orange wine) from Piedrasassi.

The food was Indian ‘beans on toast’ – a homemade chickpea curry on a garlic flat bread with a dollop of yoghurt, few sprigs of coriander, couple mint leaves and a squirt of lime. (expertly made by the in-house chef @mariannehumble)

1978 Bollywood Poster ASSIGNMENT BOMBAY

2011 Piedrassi Central Coast White Wine ($42) is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Albariño – the wine is very fresh and citrussy, it’s so grippy I am sure if tasted with a blindfold lots would mistake it for a Beaujolais.

While the 2012 Halter Ranch rosé ($19) is a Grenache dominated blend that also has some Syrah, Mourvedre, and the rarely seen, Picpoul Blanc. The wine is not sweet but has lots of candied fruit, almost like a watermelon Jolly Rancher.

Orange wine is a white made like a red, rosé is very much a red masquerading as a white. While the Halter Ranch was made in a traditional style, destemmed and left on the skins for 24 hours then pressed and left to ferment in a tank.

The orange wine was picked and destemmed by hand and each grape was placed (berry by berry) in a puncheon, The grapes stay one year in puncheon, before pressing. After pressing, four months in barrel and 2 months in tank. Bottled with no fining or filtration and minimal SO2.

Curry is one of the more challenging foods to match wine with, and the text-books tend to lean towards the sweet side for pairing.
This curry wasn’t vindaloo hot, but it had some kick and both Piedrassasi and the Halter Ranch added a refreshing fruit quality to the meal.
Just think about these types of wines next time you are ordering a take-away!

piedrasassi halter ranch

Halter Ranch is located in Paso Robles

8910 Adelaida Rd Paso Robles, CA 93446
(888) 367-9977

Piedrasassi is located at the Wine Ghetto in Lompoc

1501 E. Chestnut Ave.
Lompoc, CA

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