Rhone Zone: 2008 Halter Ranch Côtes de Paso Blanc
I've long believed that good food, good eating, [and may I add drinking well] is all about risk. Whether we're talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters or working for organized crime 'associates,' food, for me, has always been an adventure” ― Anthony Bourdain
Thank you, Mr. Bourdain, for that beautiful bit of inspiration, like Anthony's need for food exploration or should I say the desire for food adventures. His desire for adventure mirrors my own thirst for wine adventures and the discovering of vinelands and without 'risk' where is the reward? Unbeknownst to my younger self, I would develop a passion late in life for wine-related exploration, and with so many different grape varieties in the viniferous world in which I live, I dare say I may not have enough time left on this mortal coil to give them all a swirl.
With my last trip to Italy [a country with hundreds of different varietals] still fresh on my mind and firmly tucked under my now bulging belt, having checked with the "Wine Varietal Scoreboard" it appears I may have racked-up nearly 20 new grapes in one fell swoop. I had the chance to swirl and slurp wines produced from grapes like Grechetto, Falanghina, Malvasia del Lazio, Malvasia Nera, Aglianico from Taurasi, and Sagrantino from Montefalco to name a few. Big thanks to my new friends from Croatia [of whom I look forward to visiting next year] who were on hand to let us swirl, slurp and gulp new-to-me grapes like; Graševina, Plavac Mali, and Pošip. But like our fearless leader in Washington, I won't spike the football just yet, as I'm still in the first quarter.
Almost immediately after I returned from Italy, it was time to pack up my wine-wagon, repack my well-traveled luggage and head up the coast from San Diego to yet another fantastic wine destination known as Paso Robles [a short 4-5 hour drive]. Once a well-known area for Zinfandel [and in some cases it still is], it's now fast becoming a term I may have coined; called the Rhone-Zone. With that said, I recently unscrewed [I know not the same ring] wine from a great little west-side winery called Halter Ranch.
The wine in today's review spot-light is their 2008 Côtes de Paso Blanc. A bottle of wine which was unimpressive at the time, it was Mrs. Cuvee that insisted that we secure this one bottle to take home and like the good-husband [wink] I gave in, knowing this was not a hill I wanted to die on. It wasn't that I didn't like it, I just thought to spend $24 bucks for a drink now and drink often style of wine was a bit more than I wanted to pay. This wine demonstrates the need and the benefits of bottle aging and maturing, it cannot be overstated.
So I socked this wine away in the pantry, where it sat for two years, before chilling and cracking it open just last night. As you may have surmised already, I scored this beautiful yet typical Rhone blend, with Roussanne leading the way at 64%, followed by Marsanne at 12% and Viognier bringing up the rear with 4%, on my last trip to Paso Robles for the Passport Weekend.
In the glass this stainless steel tank and oak barrel fermented Rhone blend had a strong straw colored presence, leaning remarkably toward gold. On the palate, this wine displayed a gentle slap of quince, wet-stone, a pinch of citrus, abundant honeysuckle, and a nice dusting of a meaty, ripe white peach and crisp apples.
Wow, beautiful fruit from the tail to tip, zippy acidity keeping things fresh, inviting sip after sip, medium body, all wrapped up in a pretty bow, making for a zesty, personality-filled dry-white that sings a mouth-watering note. My score for this wine is 91 points, a score I would not have given w/o this much bottle age. But that said I'm presently looking for more, and I fear that I'm too late to secure a few more bottles [sigh].
It's great to be back in the saddle again, writing, catching up on all my notes and getting things back in order around here. Thanks so much for sticking with me during the couple weeks, I've been out exploring so that I can bring new and exciting wine-finds to a palate near you. Until next time folks, continue to sip long and prosper cheers!