We met Thomas Pitchon while wine tasting and eavesdropping in Paso Robles. We overheard him mention that he was the former associate winemaker for Rosenblum Cellars and now made his own wine. Curious, we struck up a conversation. After asking him a few questions, we learned that his winery, Thomas Alexander, specialized in small production Rhone blends. The longer we talked to him about his wine, the more animated he became, and the more excited we were to try his wine. We got the sense that this guy knew what he was doing. When we got home we ordered a bottle of 2009 Thomas Alexander Les Origines, a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre.
A couple of weeks later, we opened a bottle for Grandpa Picky’s 99th b-day and it was a hit. The wine was very bright and fresh with a touch of spice, and more European in style than most Paso Robles wines. It reminded me of some of Tablas Creek Vineyard‘s Rhone blends. When I asked Thomas about my assessment, he said:
“I do, in fact, source my grapes from the vineyard adjacent to Tablas Creek’s. But, moreso, I did very much strive to create a more European style wine, that is a nuanced wine, but also powerful as well. I have always been a huge fan of the Rhone. In fact, Chateauneuf du Pape dominates my wine collection. After years of making wine for Rosenblum Cellars (heavy, rich wines from all over California), I really wanted to add a deft touch to the wine. Plus, my wife is from France and I needed to keep her happy.” Read More
By Mr. Picky
One recent cold and rainy evening, I was craving something a little different than the usual glass of wine. I was eyeing the contents of the fridge, when I spotted an opened bottle of 2007 Paso Port Violeta. Ah, the perfect drink for a cold and rainy evening. As I started to pour a small glass, I got reprimanded by Mrs. Picky.
“That was a birthday gift from Aunt Linda.”
“But I’m just having a small taste.”
“It’s supposed to be for special occasions. I want this stuff to last.”
“But I’m just having a small taste.”
“But it was a birthday gift for me.”
This was a first. Mrs. Picky has never stopped me from opening a bottle of wine no matter how special it is. At first I thought she was being selfish, but slowly realized that she, like I, loved this port. Since I didn’t want to sleep on the couch, I decided to pour the port back into the bottle, but not before taking a sip of this heavenly juice.
It’s also important to point out that we are not big fans of port. But something about Violeta is so powerful that it is creating conflict in the Picky home. Violeta, Paso Port’s flagship port, is made exclusively from traditional Portuguese varietals and there is a delicate, sweet spiciness that has us wanting more. Read More
We fell in love with Lynne and Dave Teckman of Per Cazo Cellars on first meeting them a few years ago in Paso Robles. As we were driving down Vineyard Drive in Paso Robles, by chance (the definition of the Italian phrase per cazo) we pulled into their driveway, knocked on their door and were invited in for a wine tasting.
As we sat at their dining room table Lynne and Dave told us their story of how they discovered this beautiful property and how Steve Glossner, one of Paso Robles premier winemakers, offered to make their wine. The Rhone and Bordeaux blends were delicious and paired perfectly with select cheeses.
Lynne and Dave also run the Creekside B&B, which is about 50 yards from the Teckman’s home. We had the pleasure of staying there a couple of weeks ago and had a wonderful stay. The B&B was absolutely perfect with a fireplace, king-sized bed, murphy bed, luxurious linens, fully stocked kitchen, and an iPhone/iPod docking station. Outside is a private deck with a BBQ, fireplace, party lights, and chairs. A river runs by the property, which is surrounded by a “forest” of oak trees and plants. That evening we barbecued salmon, lit a fire in the fireplace, and enjoyed our Per Cazo wine. It was a truly magical stay. Read More
Although the 2009 Pali Fiddlestix Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir is the Mr. Picky Wine of the Week, it could have been any of Pali Wine Company’s stellar Pinot Noirs. They are beautifully crafted expressing their unique terroirs. It is also very affordable: 2009 Pali Alphabets Pinot Noir, 2009 Pali Riviera Pinot Noir, and the 2009 Pali Bluffs Pinot Noir sell for $15.99 a bottle at Carpinteria Wine Company. In my opinion nobody else makes Pinot Noir this good for this price.
The 2009 Fiddlestix Pinot is medium ruby in color with an expressive nose of Bing cherry, cranberry, blueberry, and iron. The palate is pure and layered, with black cherry, berry, briar and graphite notes backed up by lush tannin and good acidity. This is a rich wine that remains light on its feet, a beautiful combination of juicy fruit and classic early, minerally Pinot flavors. 110 cases produced.
Rating: Stephen Tanzer, 91 points
The following article from PrinceOfPinot.com highlights Pali Wine Co. Pinot Noirs. Read More
New research from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center finds that red wine may reduce risk of breast cancer. In the study, chemicals in red grape skins and seeds lowered estrogen levels while elevating testosterone among premenopausal women who drank eight ounces of red wine nightly for about a month. Use the Mr. Picky Moderation Wine Glass as a fun way to moderate drinking.
Drinking red wine in moderation may reduce one of the risk factors for breast cancer, providing a natural weapon to combat a major cause of death among U.S. women, new research from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center shows.
The study, published online in the Journal of Women’s Health, challenges the widely-held belief that all types of alcohol consumption heighten the risk of developing breast cancer. Doctors long have determined that alcohol increases the body’s estrogen levels, fostering the growth of cancer cells.
But the Cedars-Sinai study found that chemicals in the skins and seeds of red grapes slightly lowered estrogen levels while elevating testosterone among premenopausal women who drank eight ounces of red wine nightly for about a month.
White wine lacked the same effect. Read More
Over the holidays we dug into our 2008 Jaffurs Syrahs that we had been saving for more than a year (wine doesn’t last long in Mr. Picky’s cellar) and it was worth the wait. We tasted two beautiful Syrahs: the 2008 Jaffurs Larner Vineyard Syrah, and the 2008 Bien Nacido Vineyard Syrah from our Jaffurs wine club membership. Comparing the two Syrahs is like comparing your children: There isn’t a true favorite, and each is unique and beautiful in their own way. If you’re not familiar with Jaffurs Wine Cellars, they’re located in downtown Santa Barbara, produce some of the best Rhones in Santa Barbara County, and have one of the friendliest staffs in the wine biz.
FROM THE WINEMAKER
The 2008 Larner Vineyard Syrah – is the only wine we make exclusively from new French ENTAV Syrah clones. This means the wine has a more spice driven focus. It is elegant, dark, and fruitful. The grapes marry with the sand and limestone vineyard site giving this wine a character reminiscent of the great Northern Rhone syrahs. 43% of this wine was whole cluster fermented. (300 cases produced). Read More
2008 Dierberg Syrah Santa Ynez Valley: The Syrah grapes for this delicious 2008 Dierberg Syrah Santa Ynez Valley were sourced from the coldest microclimate within the new Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara Appelation.
WHERE TO BUY
2008 Dierberg Syrah Santa Ynez Valley can be purchased for $34 at Dierberg Estate Vineyard.