The Wine Wrangler corraled up his herd at 10am sharp. Mission: Deliver 10 Wine Lovers to 6 Wineries in 6 Hours. Hmm…
As the wife of a surgery resident, there is one perk of the residency program that I have the luxury to enjoy: “Kung Fu Weekend.” Each year, the residents divide into 2-3 groups and partake in a hospital paid, though resident organized, “bonding weekend.” Last year F participated in a weekend scuba diving trip off the Channel Islands. Since I was 8-months pregnant with Tingting, I was left in a steaming hot apartment where I spent the weekend hauling laundry up and down 2 flights of stairs and caring for our 3-year-old — all while F frolicked in the kelp forests.
This year, the group decided to take a weekend retreat to Paso Robles and bond over some fine wine. There was no way the surgeon would keep me chained to our house this time, dammit!
…We spent the weekend at the picturesque Cripple Creek Mountain Ranch. On the morning of our wine tasting extravaganza, I awoke early to run Melody Mountain (twice!) and take time to appreciate the land on foot, with clear mind, clear nose, clear eyes…clear senses.
An hour after my run, the Wine Wrangler herded us into the bus and we started our excursion through Paso Robles Wine Country. The sun was shining and the air was cool as we drove through beautiful rolling hills, past grazing horses and cows, and along perfect rows of grapevines. I will admit, as we travelled from winery to winery, the scenery grew more and more blurry. These days, I find myself tipsy after half a glass of wine, so 6 wineries in under 6 hours? Needless to say, I was gradually becoming more befuddled as the day progressed.
We hit the following wineries: Tablas Creek, Halter Ranch, Justin, Tobin James, and Chumeia. At each one, we stood at the counter with our wine glasses, tasting menus, and pens for note-taking. Sniff, sip, swallow…yum. I liked that one. Hmm, and that one. Ooh, and that one! A plethora of excellent whites, reds, and ports to taste, cheese and crackers to nibble, good company and scenery to enjoy. Imagine life as a professional wine taster. How can I sign up?
Given how easy it was to linger at each winery, I was surprised we made it to 5 of the 6 scheduled wineries. I’d say Mission Accomplished. Excellent job, Wine Wrangler. I doubted you but you pulled us through.
The surgeon’s latest paycheck was spent on our favorite wines of the day:
- Tablas Creek*: Esprit de Beaucastel 2006 (45% Mourvedre, 28% Grenache, 22% Syrah, 5% Counoise)
- Halter Ranch: Syrah 2005
- Justin*: Isosceles 2005 (78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot) **Isoceles has limited availability. Currently, there is a waitlist for this wine!
- Tobin James: Sundance 2007 Sauvignon Blanc; Rock N Roll 2006 Syrah
*Overall, we found Tablas Creek and Justin to have the best wine.