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Adelaida is for (Chocolate) Lovers

Wine and Chocolate

There are so many things to love about Adelaida Winery, though it’s hard not to start with Glenn Mitton who is the Wine Librarian, Brand Ambassador and just one of our all around favorite people. His silky British accent, vibrant blue eyes and ready smile are immediately disarming and draw you into being willing to listen to pretty much anything he has to say. He could read the phone book and I’d happily sit and listen.

Wine and Chocolate Seminar

He’s always been a wonderful host when I’ve brought people to the property; taking us on great personalized tours of the vineyards, winery and the new stunningly appointed tasting room. He’s unbelievably knowledgeable with a long history in the wine industry starting with having owned a wine shop in his native Northern England, all the way to his current position at Adelaida. So when he mentioned he’d be moderating a wine and chocolate pairing at the winery for Valentine’s day last year, there was NO WAY we were going to miss it.

Let me start by saying I’ve been to a couple of these “types” of pairing events at other wineries so I came in with a preconceived notion of what to expect. You know, some great wine paired with different flavored truffles or chocolate nibs from a local chocolatier- maybe some brownie bites, stuff like that.  Well, let me say my preconceived notion was completely blown out of the water when we were ushered down into the winery where tables were set up and menus were placed at each seat announcing that local Chef, Alex Martin of Crush Catering, would be serving a complete 5 course luncheon menu of chocolate themed dishes paired with some of Adelaida’s signature wines.

Prepping for the tasting!

Upon arrival in the winery we were greeted with a glass of Chardonnay and encouraged to mingle and pick a seat. Glenn had set up a screen onto which he projected an informative slide show, with the  presentation focusing on the origins of chocolate, and of each vineyard and wine presented.

Our first dish was a Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad, topped with toasted walnuts, compressed red onion, quinoa, rustic arugula and drizzled with a chocolate balsamic vinaigrette which was well paired with a 2013 Grenache from Anna’s Vineyard.

Anna’s Vineyard is host to 6 red and 4 white Rhone varietals. It is a mountainous 51 acres on the west side of Paso Robles, that at the higher elevations is strictly divided between the 6 red varietals which were planted between 2001 and 2004. They lie between 1,595 and 1,935 feet in elevation, 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean, on a steep 30 degree south-facing slope that offers ideal sun exposure. While the 4 white varietals were planted in 2007 at the lower elevations to promote a pooling effect of cool air.

Tasting notes- AROMA: Strawberry/black cherry compote, mulling spices, sweet pipe tobacco FLAVOR: Strawberry/black cherry concentrate, orange zest, English-breakfast tea

Next came Charred Cauliflower and Shishito Peppers with a Catalan style pesto, chocolate, parsley and almonds. In that I’m not a spicy heat fan (Shishitos can be unpredictable and this batch were on the hot side, naturally Doug loved them) I took a tiny bite of the peppers to get the general idea and left the rest for Doug. The dish was paired with the Mourvedre Signature Anna’s Vineyard 2014.

The Signature label signifies grapes designated as coming from the best steep sloped, sun exposed vineyard site and as having gone through a “best of” barrel selection process. Adelaida has refined their sustainability farming practices; thus they’ve been able to include deficit irrigation, mid-season pruning and shade cloth, which extends the ripening cycle and increases the phenolics.

Tasting notes- AROMA: Redcurrant, dried underbrush and sweet spiced cherries FLAVOR: Red currant jelly, deep red flowers with thyme and spiced box notes


The first “main dish” course was a traditional 24 hour braised Guatemalan Pork Pepian, sprinkled with pumpkin seeds, Aztec chocolate, radish and a long pepper crema served with the 2014 Anna’s Vineyard Syrah.

The vineyard management for the Syrah vines has them on a drip watering system and planted on lime tolerant root-stock using vertical shoot training. The 2014 drought conditions brought with it, an historically early bud break in the vineyard. That combined with a mid summer cool-down in August, subsequently extended the fruit hang-time allowing for the grapes to be picked later than in previous vintages. The grapes were harvested, fermented in stainless open top tanks, and moved to barrel for aging. This blend of terrior and Winemaker Jeremy Weintraub’s process, created a deeply colored and densely fruited masculine wine, that paired very well with the dish.

Tasting notes; AROMA: blueberries, smoke and bacon FLAVOR: aromas are reconfirmed in the fleshy, savory flavors of blackberries, salami, leather, lightly spiced with black pepper.

Our favorite pairing overall was the Sou Vide Beef Brisket with a smoked bacon-mole poblano chili, Kiler Ridge Tuscan olive oil, and upland cress paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Signature Viking Vineyard 2014.

The Viking Vineyard is a a true mountain site whose original vines date back to 1991 and is comprised of 16.5 acres- 13 of which are wholly dedicated to Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s proximity to the ocean allows for the maritime influences the Paso Robles Adelaida District is known for; and is planted with grafted lime tolerant root-stock in limestone soil that sits on an extremely steep, south-facing slope. This makes for quite a challenging grape growing environment. As a result, the vine spacing is the tightest of all seven of Adelaida’s vineyards-with 4 feet between the vines and 8 feet between the rows. The vineyard has an average yield of 2 – 2.5 tons per acre of Cabernet. They harvested the Cabernet was toward the end of September from the upper elevation’s best blocks. A small, selection of destemmed grapes were then “barrel fermented” with native yeast, in new French oak. Because this winery specific method is so labor intensive, this process is reserved only for  the best lot designations i.e. Signature status. It entails removing and resealing the barrel end cap, then the barrels are loaded on to a unique rack system and spun. This allows for the incorporation of a more integrated toasted oak complexity into the fermenting must. The “free run” finished wine was then put into to specially coopered French oak barrels made from slow-growing oaks in the northern forests, and allowed to mature for 20 months.

Tasting notes  AROMA: saturated fruitiness, plump textured and supple with a sense of crystallized blackberries and melted licorice FLAVOR: long finish accenting the mocha-like richness of fine cigar tobacco wrapper and graphite tinged soft tannins. Drink now through 2029.

For dessert we were treated to Espresso-Dark Chocolate Baked Mousse, salted caramel, port creme Chantilly, and poached cherries coupled with The Don Port 2011. The mix of Portuguese grapes-Touriga Nacional, Tinto Cao and Souzou were planted in 2001, on sandy loam soil, covering a west-facing slope at the entrance to the winery, in an area known as Bobcat Crossing. The Port is named for winery co-founder Don Van Steenwyk, and is Adelaida’s interpretation of a Vintage Port.

This is not a late harvest style wine, the grapes were harvested at normal red wine Brix levels and co-fermented on native yeast. Towards the end of the primary fermentation, the remaining residual sugar measurements are taken, and a grape spirit is added to the must. This raises the alcohol level to 20% and kills the yeast cells. The wine was then moved to neutral oak barrels and aged for five years in the casks. 

 Tasting notes AROMA bing cherries, grenadine, rose petals, allspice, milk chocolate FLAVOR dried cherries, fruitcake, pomegranate, sweet cedar sweet red fruits and Christmas spices with a long finish. Drink now through 2024.

This was an incredible experience with interesting pairings and inspired dishes…I mean who doesn’t love wine and chocolate? I mean, we know somewhere people like that exist and all, but thankfully no one we know! LOL

Since Valentine’s day falls mid-week this year on the weekend after Valentine’s day (Feb 17-18), Adelaida will be hosting a Saturday night winemaker dinner, and a Rhone Rangers grand tasting in conjunction with Broken Earth Winery on Sunday. Both great, not to be missed events.

Once we hit forty, women only have about four taste buds left: one for vodka, one for wine, one for cheese, and one for chocolate. ~Gina Barreca



Great upcoming events: BlendFest 2/9-11/18; Chocolate Festival 2/10/18; Adelaida Winemaker Dinner 2/17/18; SLO Craft Beer Festival 2/23-24/18; Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting 2/18/18; Vintage Paso Zin Weekend 3/16-18/18; Wine Waves and Beyond 5/4-5/18; Paso Wine Fest 5/17-20/18; BeerFest 5/26/18; Roll Out the Barrels 6/21-23/18; Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival 6/13/18; Harvest on the Coast 11/2-4-18


Cheers at the Pier

Come join us at “Cheers at the Pier” at The Inn at The Pier in Pismo Beach to ring in the New Year! 💥🍾🎊

We’ll be there for BOTH ball drops!!




My Greek Odyssey – Alpha

Poseidon’s Temple Greece

Being a wine ambassador for an amazing Greek winery (Domaine Porto Carras) and 2 regions of Greece, the Mount Melaton PDO and the Sithonian Peninsula PGI comes with more than a couple of incredible perks but the topper was the trip to Greece.
It started with a 22 hour multi leg flight from Los Angeles through JFK, on to Rome and finally landing in Athens. You would think after a flight like that all we’d want to do was get 22 hours worth of sleep; well you’re right about that, but the Greeks weren’t about to let that happen! We arrived and were welcomed with a wonderful home-made luncheon at our friend’s family’s house with traditional food like fresh feta and bread, tomato-cucumber-green pepper salad, pastitsio, and tzatziki in Kavouri Athens and took a 2 hour nap. Then we headed out to Nea Smyrni where we were staying, and starting at 10p.m. it was out until 2 a.m. in the town square where we had souvlaki and cocktails with friends and friends of friends. One of the things I noticed about Greece’s restaurants/cafes/tavernas in general is they are all indoor/outdoor and people rarely if ever sit inside. Read more…

Tiny Bubbles…By the Sea

Champagne Sabre


We attended the first annual BubblyFest by the sea, and although there are similar events in Europe and even South Africa, this is the only Sparkling Wine and Champagne Festival in the United States. Being that October is probably one of the most temperate times of year here on the Central Coast, the weather averages 75 degrees during the day and can drop to around 50 at night, this month is ideal for having a festival like this. The outdoor, weekend long event opened with a Great Gatsby themed cocktail party, and closing brunch taking place at Dolphin Bay Resort and the Grand Tasting along with a Press Preview, held at the SeaCrest Resort. As I mentioned the final event, was a Sunday brunch; unfortunately we were unable to attend that event so I can’t comment and will only be discussing the events we actually attended. Read more…

Bacon. It’s Not Just for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Anymore.

San Luis Obispo Bacon Fest

In late November of 2013 we attended the SLO Bacon Fest at the conference center at the world-famous Madonna Inn. We were ecstatic to find a local event after attending one of the best events ever created, Bacon and Barrels, in Santa Ynez earlier in the summer. More on that event later. Read more…

Overstuffed and thoroughly satisfied!

Chef series

The best way to start the new year is with amazing food and wine. This year on January 1st we did just that, after being exclusively invited by Lido at Dolphin Bay to be one of the first to experience the debut of their “Dinner with the Chefs” series. And boy howdy what an evening of delicious decadence that was! Let me start by saying that since the last exclusive blog we did on Lido, there has been a major change in kitchen leadership. Jacob Moss and Maegen Loring have taken over as Co-Executive Chefs and debuted a menu that will knock your socks off. Read more…

A ‘Stache, a Bash and a Smash!

It’s a ‘Stache Bash!!!

I’m a a big proponent of charitable organizations and the good works they do. Many of the events I’ve been lucky enough to attend and write about are fundraisers for charities; you may remember Must Charities from Forks and Corks, Zoo to you from the Mac and Cheese fest, and CAPSLO from An Afternoon of Epicurean Delights. Recently one of my favorite restaurant/bars in San Luis Obispo Sidecar, put on a great fundraiser for Movember, a global charity that focuses on men’s health; specifically raising funds and awareness to combat prostate and testicular cancer as well as mental health challenges. Participation is encouraged by men, growing mustaches or a Mo (“Mo” is slang for mustache) for all 30-days of November. The movement began in Melbourne Australia in 2003 when 30 Mo Bros first grew mustaches. It has since grown globally inspiring more than 4 million “Mo Bros” and “Mo Sistas” to participate across 21 countries worldwide. Read more…

Savoring the Sunset

Sunset at the Castle

Sunsets are gorgeous, but there is something magical about sunsets on the Central Coast. Maybe it’s the clear, smog, free skies or the sparkling blue of the Pacific in conjunction with those smog, free skies. Whatever it is, when you add watching it from the balconies of a 1920s era castle that sunset becomes absolutely MIND BLOWING! Sadly pictures taken with an Iphone 4 can’t do it justice. Read more…

Get your Mac on!!

I don’t know about you but the words Macaroni and Cheese instantly take me back to my childhood and is one of the ultimate comfort foods. My favorite is Kraft Mac and cheese…it has to be Kraft, and I like mine mixed with hotdogs. But this upcoming weekend August 24th, the Paso Robles Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese Festival is taking place at Le Vigne Winery.

Read more…

The Rooster hangs 24!

We’ve all heard of winemaker dinners and wine and food pairings but with all the great Craft breweries popping up, so are the beerbrewer dinners and beer and food pairings. As you know I’ve really started getting into the Craft beer experience as a result of SLO Craft Beer week, and the other night attended our first beerbrewer’s dinner put on by Hangar 24 Brewery in conjunction with Central Coast Distributing (CCD) at Rooster Creek a local restaurant. Located in Redlands, California, Hangar 24 is named for the hangar that owner and master brewer Ben Cook, used to visit with friends to share his home-brewed beer, and banter about aviation after an afternoon of flying. Since then, he’s opened his own brewery and created some unusual beers and delicious ales. Read more…

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