Tag Archives: Paso Robles

Robert Hall Syrah

A big bottle from Trader Joe’s – you don’t see a lot of domestic wines there that run more than $15. I’m drinking this with salad and smoked trout.

Robert Hall Syrah (2008) Paso Robles, California – $17

20140331_200539Color: Purple in the center, fading to purplish-red on the rim, and no visible sediment.

Aroma: big black fruit aromas, with some molasses and nutmeg underneath.

Taste: a little more toward the dried and stewed fruit end of the spectrum, with more of that nutmeg and a good dollop of tannin and oak towards the finish. Good acidity, not over-extracted, and 14.5% alcohol, so this is very versatile.

I like this a lot.  It’s varietally correct and balanced, and has a lot of depth. If you’re tired of Australian Shiraz that taste baked and burned, give this a shot. Recommended.



Drinking Tonight: Caretaker Cabernet Sauvignon

A new bottling I saw at Trader Joe’s last week. I’m drinking this with some pulled pork.

Caretaker Cabernet Sauvignon (2011) Paso Robles, California – $12

Photo0324Color: garnet-ruby red.

Aroma: lots of red fruit – cranberry, cherry, red currant.

Taste: definitely on the red fruit side – loads and loads of cherry, with some kirsch (cherry brandy) notes as well. Not terribly tannic, but has a little black pepper towards the finish. This develops some more spice and earth notes, including anise and tea, as it opens up.

A good pairing choice, as it turns out. This is softer and more complicated than the usual California Cab fruit-bomb, and bears looking in to. I’ll buy a few more bottles to cellar for a 2-3 years.


Tasting Note: Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Pinot Grigio

I’ll be catching up on some tasting notes that I scribbled down in the midst of Christmas parties this week. First up, a limited-production Pinot Grigio from California’s Central Coast.

Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Pinot Grigio (2012) Paso Robles, California – $8

Color: relatively dark for a Pinot Grigio, with a straw-yellow complexion.

Aroma: apricot and honeysuckle; the cooler climate in Paso is more like the Alsace or Austria than it is sunny Italy, so the fruit notes exhibit less citrus and more stone fruit.

Taste: pleasant; this still has good acidity if you’re looking for a thirst-quencher, but it also has a smoky richness towards the back of the tongue.

This style won’t suit everyone; if you’re looking for lemony Pinot Grigio, then skip this. But I think this would make a nice foil for a rotisserie chicken or Pad Thai.