By Mark Aselstine
To start, I’d like to thank Matt Keegan for allowing me the chance to publish this article on his Jet Venue site. As a start up monthly wine club business I’m constantly looking for ways to not only talk about my new business, but share what I’ve learned as well.
My name is Mark Aselstine and I recently started Uncorked Ventures with my brother-in-law Matt Krause with the intention of getting hard to find wine into consumer hands, at the right price. Over the years I’ve seen the wine industry made out to be entirely complicated and stuffy, when there is no reason that it shouldn’t be both fun and approachable.
In that vein, I thought it might be interesting to feature a wine region of California that offers wines that are, generally speaking, much more approachable and food friendly then some of the traditional Napa Cabernet Sauvignon that fetch such high prices.
I hope you’ll find this short entry a good guide for both personal consumption as well as full of ideas if you need to stock a wine bar before a flight.
Paso Robles is one of true up and coming wine regions in the world, Already producing some of the finest Rhone styled wines in the world, the prices being charged for this world class wines often settle under $40 per bottle making them quite affordable compared with many of the $100+ bottles being sold from Napa or Bordeaux.
If you’re looking to get started in Paso, I have a few suggested wineries to try:
Terry Hoague: A family owned and operated winery on the western hills of Paso Robles, Terry Hoague produces some outstanding wine, all of it Rhone varietals which include outstanding Grenache and Syrah. He also has an interesting story, playing 13 years in the NFL before settling in as a winemaker. If you get a chance to meet Terry and his wife Jennifer (Jennifer is the one with the amazing palate) you’ll find them to be some of the nicest and most engaging people in the wine industry. His 5 Blocks Syrah and Pick Grenache are outstanding wines both in terms of quality and value. Easy drinking and food friendly most easily describe these wines.
Alta Colina: One of the smallest wineries you’re likely to find anywhere, they produce only 600 cases of wine allocated across 6 wines. Three of these wines were recently scored at over 90 points by famed wine critic Robert Parker with special standouts being their GSM (Grenache-Syrah-Moudevre blend) as well as their Old 900 Syrah. An intimate tasting room, typically staffed by daughter Maggie underscores the family owned, small production, hands on approach taken by this winery.
L’Aventure Winery: Probably the first winery in Paso Robles to achieve national and critical acclaim, L’Aventure is a project of Stephan Asseo. Stephen spent over two decades crafting wine at some of the foremost estates in Bordeaux, then he decided that he wanted to experiment with blends that included both Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Of course, this is strictly forbidden due to French winemaking laws, so after some time he found his way to Paso Robles where he thought the warm day time temperatures when combined with cold nights would produce world class wines. Of note are his Cote-a-Cote as well as his Optimus blend which is the wine he traveled to the new world to make.
I hope you find these wine and winery recommendations useful and that they help either your own wine cellar, or your clients to grow outside of the typical Napa and Sonoma recommendations.
For more information you can reach Mark or Matt at:
P.O. Box 6577
San Mateo, CA 94403
Photo: Kafziel at en.wikipedia