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Archive for the tag “Dessert”

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!!




A Heavenly Emporium Experience

Heavenly Emporium

I had the good fortune of attending an awesome brownie and wine pairing evening at the Grape Emporium owned by David and Annie Wilson in Atascadero and Heavenly Squared Brownie Company. You may remember I’ve written about David before as he was my Greek Ambassador counterpart, and I’ve had the opportunity to be interviewed on his radio program on several occasions. The thing about doing a tasting event like this at the Grape Emporium, is that David is a brilliant mad scientist when it comes to blending various wines and creating something all together new, which is an unusual experience in any wine shop. Read more…

I love my mother…Earth

Earth Day Food & Wine Fest at Castor Cellars

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE my planet. Whether you call her Earth, Gaia, Mother, or Terra she is the only planet we have and celebrating Earth Day is a celebration of all that we as a species should hold dear. The 8th Annual Earth Day Food and Wine Festival held at Castoro Cellars, was quite an event and according to vendors, one of the most well-organized events they’ve ever participated in. 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…

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…


Nom, nom, nom

You have to have been living under a rock to not know that we were going to the Paso Robles Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese Festival on August 24th.  Macaroni and Cheese is one of those comfort foods that instantly takes me back to childhood and hungry for Kraft Mac and cheese with hotdogs, so I was beyond looking forward to this. The Mac and Cheese Fest is a charitable event put together by American General Media to benefit Zoo to You a non-profit organization through the Paso Robles Zoo dedicated to bringing education and adventure to kids, by teaching conservation through interaction. Read more…

Can I get you a CAB?

Just some of the selection

Typically, because this blog is meant to be a guide for events and places the public can go, I don’t make a practice of blogging on Industry only events. But Thursday night I was treated by the Paso Robles CAB Collective (PRCC) and Parker Sanpei PR to one of the coolest events I’ve been to so far; and if you read this blog, you know that is saying A LOT! Especially with all the unbelievably, wonderful events I’ve been lucky enough to attend recently. The reason I enjoyed this event so much is simple, it was an incredible opportunity to meet/ re-meet and mingle with the people behind some of the best wines on the Central Coast. From winemakers to vineyard and winery staff and owners, they were all together, in one incredibly beautiful location, Daou Vineyards. The PRCC was formed in 2012, and is a grass roots, non-profit organization made up of a group of wineries to promote and improve awareness of the Paso Robles American Viticultural Area (AVA), with regard to the area’s unique ability to produce great Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux varietals. 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…

SYTYCD = So You Think You Can Drink.

SHEdrinksHEeats with Nigel and Ken

We were lucky enough to be invited to the 1st Winemaker’s Reserve dinner at Villa San-Juliette winery up in San Miguel the other night, by Parker Sanpei a local PR firm in town. We of course said yes immediately. First because we love their new winemaker Matt Ortman; who after beating out hundreds of other applicants, joined the team just this year, but also because we hadn’t had a chance to get up there yet and this was a perfect opportunity. If you read this blog regularly you may remember that I talked about this winery in the Uncorked at Forks and Corks post. Villa San-Juliette is proudly owned by two of Hollywood’s most prominent reality talent show partnerships, Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick. You may recognize them better as the producers of Seasons 1-12 of American Idol, the stars of Corkscrewed, the Wrath of Grapes  (all about the trials and tribulations of buying the vineyard) and Nigel produces and stars in the hit dance show So You Think You Can Dance , #HEeats’ favorite show. Read more…

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