A SLEEPOVER IN ARROYO GRANDE
(Saucelito Canyon Vineyard)
When last we “talked,” Richard and I were enjoying a beautiful day wine tasting in Arroyo Grande with friends Candace and Craig and their daughter Liza. The day was not only beautiful because of the weather (a much welcomed reprieve from the 100 degrees + we were experiencing in L.A.), but also because of the lovely countryside dotted with vineyards.
We pulled into the Saucelito Canyon Vineyard tasting room amid the vineyards
and, after seeing how crowded it was inside,
we again opted to taste outside.
We started our flight with the 2010 Zinfandel Estate ($32) – a full-bodied red wine that had a fruity “nose” and rich berry taste and gravelly terroir. (OK, that’s French which, I’m told doesn’t have a single English word translation and means a wine’s sense of place; the soil in which the vines grow; how much sun the grapes get, the topography – all add up to the wine’s unique personality. “Topography,” “soil” – in other words, “dirt.” But there’s nothing dirty about this wine, just a wonderful earthy taste. See, I found one English word – earthy. Well, maybe not. Recommended pairing from the winemaker: a T-bone steak with peppered shoestring fries or a smoked mozzarella and chipotle pizza. My mouth’s watering just typing that.
The 2010 Zinfandel Dos Ranchos ($32) – is a robust (love that word) wine with a wonderful spicy ‘kick’ to it. Pairing suggestions: Open a bottle the next time you grill a rack of lamb or broil some lamb chops or try it with a balsamic-glazed portabello burger. Now I’m really hungry.
Next was the 2010 Tempranillo ($28) – a dry, smoky, hearty wine that I really enjoyed and would be perfect paired with a marinated steak or, perhaps, a tandoori chicken with garlic, as the winemaker suggests.
As the tasting day was winding down, Tom Greenough, Saucelito Canyon’s young winemaker joined us as we sipped a 2010 Sauvage Estate red ($34) - a blend of French varietals.
Like all the reds, there was nothing “insipid” about this wine… dark, deep and delicious. No food needed - just give me a straw. (Gotta wrap this blog up – my stomach’s growling and my taste buds are craving any one of these Saucelito Canyon reds.)
As we chatted with Tom we learned that the vineyard started in 1880 on an original land grant when three acres of zin grapes were planted. A century later, Tom’s father, Bill, bought and restored the vineyard, which had been abandoned years earlier, and started making zinfandels using modern methods in sustainable wine growing coupled with his own ideas on winemaking. Son Tom, who became the winery’s winemaker in 2009, has carried on the family traditions.
As the tasting room witching hour approached, we were sated and happy as we reluctantly left Saucelito Canyon Vineyard nestle in the countryside amid the old zin vines.
Ciao – I’m off to lunch now.
Saucelito Canyon Vineyard
3180 Biddle Ranch Road
San Luis Obispo, CA. 93401