Show 289, September 8, 2018: Claudia Burns, Owner, Turtle Rock Vineyards, Paso Robles

Claudia BurnsTurtle Rock Vineyards is a small, proudly family -owned winery located in Paso Robles founded by Don & Claudia Burns. “Our winemaking philosophy is simple, you can’t make great wine without great fruit. We source our fruit from some of the finest vineyards in the Templeton Gap area of Paso Robles. Through sustainable farming practices, low yields, and harvesting at optimal ripeness, we are able to make wines with both intensity and balance. We hope these wines reflect the beauty of the wonderful places these grapes are grown as well as the people who nurture them.”

“Turtle Rock Vineyards began because of Don’s love for the area where he grew up. He moved to a small property on Willow Creek Road when he was 12. The property was nestled in the Templeton Gap at 1150 feet of elevation and owned by his uncle, Tom Westberg. Realizing the potential of the property Tom planted almost 4 acres of vines, mostly Zinfandel, in the mid-eighties. Don graduated from Mission High School then moved on to Ag Business at Cal Poly. Needing a change, Don knew he wanted leave the small town of Templeton and see what else was out there.”

“In 1999 he began a two -year sailboat trip through Central America that ended in Palm Beach, FL. There, Don began working at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse where his love of wine was sparked again. With access to wine from all over the world, his fondness for the Rhone Valley began to emerge. Don would come back many harvests and work alongside of his longtime friend, Justin Smith of Saxum. He knew it was only a matter of time before he would return home.”

“It took him a little longer than he thought because he met the love of his life Claudia. Soon there was a beautiful beach wedding and the birth of their pride and joy Willow. In June 2008 it was finally time to return home. After a two- week cross country adventure with their six- month old baby girl and 15-year old dog, they arrived in Paso Robles. It was then that Tom and his wife Peggy gave Don an amazing opportunity. He was able to bring the small family vineyard back to life and reintroduce the family label, Westberg Cellars. With guidance from Tom, they opened a tasting room in a small barn on the Westberg property and poured primarily Zinfandel, Sangiovese and Chardonnay.”

“When Don was not working on the Westberg property he was next door interning with Justin Smith. That time solidified his decision on the kind of wine he wanted to make. Because the Rhone varietals were so different from the Westberg label he knew they had to come up with a new brand. Don and Claudia thought about it a lot. One day at the tasting room there was an “Aha” moment when Willow was playing with one of the farm dogs sitting on a “turtle rock”. It was a big calcareous limestone rock pulled from the Westberg vineyard years ago. Over time the rocks wear down and look like the back of a turtle shell. That was it, Turtle Rock was born…”

Claudia Burns uncorks it all for us.

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Show 207, January 21, 2017: Kyle Meyer, Co-Proprietor, Wine Exchange, Santa Ana

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeHow about some premium wine to celebrate the New Year? Our resident wine expert, Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange in Santa Ana, joins us.

Kyle previews the expectations for the 2015 vintage in California and a peek at the upcoming 2016. We’ll see what else he’ll uncork for us.

Also a look at his “Extract” profile videos of wine personalities. Kyle introduces us to Chris Cherry of Villa Creek Wines located on the much talked-about “West Side” of Paso Robles.

Always highly informative & entertaining.

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Show 201, December 10, 2016: Daniel and Georges Daou, DAOU Vineyards & Winery

Daniel DaouUltimo: Le Grand Voyage calls for incredible wines. Each year The Grand Banquet is the stellar dining experience of the Weekend festivities with courses prepared by huge celebrity chefs. Brothers Daniel and Georges Daou of DAOU Vineyards and Winery in Paso Robles will debut their Patrimony Cabernet Sauvignon at The Grand Banquet. This is the 2nd year they have been part of the Grand Banquet. We’ll chat with them.

Patrimony Cabernet Sauvignon from Daou Vineyards and WineryThe Patrimony 2013 (decanted from elegant, large format bottles) was magnificently paired with Chef Curtis Stone’s Fifth Course of Lamb Shoulder, bacon, tongue and ribs with potato, turnips and rutabaga.

DAOU Estate Collection wines are made from the finest vineyard blocks on Daou Mountain and aged extensively in hand-selected custom-crafted, new French oak barrels. These wines showcase the visionary talent of Winemaker Daniel Daou, and embody DAOU’s mission to produce first-growth Cabernet Sauvignon from the unrivaled terroir of DAOU Mountain.

DAOU Reserve Collection wines are made from premium fruit sourced from DAOU Mountain as well as select Paso Robles vineyards. Throughout the growing season, Daniel Daou is actively involved in the management of these vineyards to ensure the highest quality. These wines are distinguished by signature qualities of grace and structure.

Visitors are warmly welcomed to visit DAOU for a variety of tasting experiences by advance reservation.

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Show 184, August 13, 2016: Erick Allen, Winemaker and Proprietor, Ascension Cellars, Paso Robles

Erick AllenAscension Cellars is a premium, boutique winery specializing in barrel-select, handcrafted Rhône and Bordeaux-style wines from the central coast of California.

Ascension Cellars began when friends were enjoying a glass of wine together one summer day. “You know, this is good,” they said, “but there is something missing.” And so, the quest for something better began. They wanted wines with elegance, body, and grace that stimulated the senses. They wanted wines that they would be proud to offer to their family and friends.

What followed was good fortune by the barrel. Vast support and inspiration came not only from knowledgeable mentors in Lake Arrowhead, who have been making wine together for decades, but also from Paso Robles winemakers who gave so generously of their time and expertise.

“We source our grapes and make our wine at Cass Vineyard. We are inspired by their focus on low yield, premium quality fruit as well as the impeccable care of their vineyards. Together, we share a love of the environment and promote sustainability of nature’s resources.”

“Our love of French Rhône and Bordeaux wines influence every wine we craft. We believe in a limited, light-handed approach to winemaking, allowing the true typicity of each varietal and the terroir of the vineyard to shine through as the star of each vintage, preserving the wine’s link to its place of origin. This allows us to create wines that are distinctive and hypnotic with personality, charm, balance and grace.”

“We embrace the use of stainless steel, cold core fermentation for our white wines, showcasing the floral tropical notes, fruit flavors, bright minerality and acidity of each varietal. Once our white wines are blended, we preserve these qualities by aging the wines in neutral, French oak barrels with limited contact to oxygen prior to bottling.”

“We barrel age our red wines for two years in French and American Appalachian Oak barrels where the use of new oak is done sparingly. We blend our Rhône and Bordeaux varietals to produce wines that are more complex, better balanced, and richer than single, varietal wines.”

Winemaker & Proprietor Erick Allen is our guest.

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Show 143, October 24, 2015: 5th Annual Garagiste Wine Festival, Paso Robles, CA

Garagiste FestivalThe 5th Annual Garagiste Wine Festival returns to Paso Robles from November 5th to 8th. The Garagiste Wine Festivals are the first and only wine festivals dedicated to the undiscovered and under-recognized American artisan “garagiste” producers who are making some of the best, most exciting, handcrafted small-lot production wines in the world.

It’s three days of fun and educational wine-centric events in a superb wine region. No wine snobbery here.

“We founded The Garagiste Festivals five years ago to gather and bring attention to, the growing but under-the-radar population of micro-production winemakers who we knew were making some of the most exciting, cutting-edge wines in the world,” said Doug Minnick, Co-founder of The Garagiste Festival. “As our Festivals have grown and expanded, they have helped spur the growth of our participating wineries, as well as of the Garagiste movement itself. It has been a true win-win-win: matching consumers with the hard-to-find artists they enjoy discovering, helping garagiste wineries find a highly targeted and self-selected audience, and all in support of our work with Cal Poly.”

The festivals (3 per year) are produced by Garagiste Events, a non-profit dedicated to furthering the education of future winemakers and those training for employment within the wine industry. Proceeds from the festivals support the Garagiste Festival Scholarship fund of the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo Wine and Viticulture Department.

Co-Founder Doug Minnick joins us with the preview.

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Show 112, February 28, 2015: San Antonio Winery, Los Angeles

San Antonio WineryThe historic San Antonio Winery was founded in Downtown Los Angeles in 1917. In 1910, Santo Cambianica left his home of Berzo San Fermo, located in the northern Italian province of Lombardia. After registering at Ellis Island, he arrived in New York and then traveled across the country to Downtown Los Angeles. He quickly became well known as an honest, hard-working, and deeply devout Catholic, the very same qualities he was known for back home.

It took a few years of saving money, building his relationships, and planting his feet in the Italian-American community to start his own company and live the American Dream. Santo founded the San Antonio Winery in 1917 on Lamar Street, dedicating it to his Patron Saint Anthony. It’s still there to this day.

By 1933, following the Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression, nearly all of Los Angeles’ 100 wineries were shut down for good. However, despite Prohibition, San Antonio Winery was able to flourish, becoming the number one provider of altar wines for The Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

“We are blessed today to have four generations of family contributing to our success. Our vineyards are now located in Paso Robles, Monterey and Napa Valley. We are proud to be the most awarded winery in Los Angeles. We invite you to become part of our family by visiting the San Antonio Winery.”

The San Antonio Winery campus in Downtown Los Angeles is a great attraction for visitors with living history. It’s a working winery, comfortable and spacious tasting room, and destination restaurant serving many of Maddalena’s (Riboli) classic Italian – American recipes.

On air we tasted the new 2013 Opaque Darkness Red Blend, Paso Robles, from the Riboli Family Wine Estates. It’s a provocative blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Petit Sirah and Petit Verdot from their estate vineyards. It’s aged in French and American oak barrels for 10 months.

Raymond Shorter from the San Antonio Winery is our guest and brings us up to date.

 

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Show 112, February 28, 2015: Tara Gomez, Winemaker & General Manager, Kita Wines

Tara GomezKita Wines, a premium brand launched by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, has earned numerous distinctions in the handful of years since it became part of the Santa Ynez Valley wine scene. Kita means “our valley oak” in the native language of the Chumash people.

It starts with where the grapes primarily come from – a vineyard situated at the gateway to Santa Barbara County’s renowned Happy Canyon wine region. It’s here at Camp 4 that the soil and climate combine to produce some of the valley’s most sought-after grapes.

Owning both a vineyard and winery has meant the Santa Ynez Chumash are also making history. In fact, the California Legislature has recognized Chumash as the first tribe to have a vineyard and winemaking operation in the country run by tribal people.

At the recent 2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Kita was awarded two prestigious Double Golds. One was for the 2012 Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills Hilliard Bruce and the other for the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Ynez Valley Camp 4 Vineyard.

Kita’s winemaker and general manager, Tara Gomez, is our guest. Her winemaking degree is from Fresno State. Tara interned at Fess Parker Winery during her college years and worked grape harvests in Spain before starting the Kita Wines venture in 2010. Previously she was the Enologist at both Fess Parker and, later, J. Lohr Winery in Paso Robles. She also had her own wine label way before starting Kita.

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Show 111, February 21, 2015: Artisan Uprising winery, Paso Robles

David and William Vondrasek Specializing in very limited production, ultra premium wines grown in Paso Robles, California, Artisan Uprising was created by brothers David and William Vondrasek after years of making wines solely for their family.

“Originally inspired to try out what we had learned from our grandfather and our (Italian) heritage of making wine each year, we found ourselves making more than the family could drink. Now that we make enough to share, we have held true to our process and mindset of how our wine should be made.”

“This is handcrafted wine two people can make. Unfiltered and un-stripped, our wines present some sediment in the bottle that we believe enhances the overall texture and ability for the wines to develop and age for years to come. Our wines are unique, they are what we like, and while quality of this scale has a broad appeal, it cannot be mass-produced, It is a true Artisan product.”

Current releases (very limited) are a Rose of Merlot, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Sirah. The wines are on the list at the glowingly-reviewed Cliff’s Edge in Silver Lake.

Artisan Uprising wines (current releases) were sampled recently at a special luncheon event of the L.A. Wine Writers at Hotel Angeleno in Brentwood. Their hands-on, executive chef, Laura Scollan (West) created the inspired food pairings. For example the 2014 Rose of Merlot was matched with a Cider-Glazed Scallop with rainbow cauliflower and truffled parsnip puree.

Current releases (very limited) are a Rose of Merlot, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Sirah.

We are joined by the Vondrasek Brothers.

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Show 31, June 15, 2013: David Walker, co-founder of Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

David Walker of Firestone Walker Brewing CompanyBack in 1996 David and Adam Firestone had this crazy idea to ferment ale in 60 gallon oak barrels reviving a style of brewing ales in England from some 150 years ago. Their first effort was the now popular Double Barrel Ale, the signature of the brewery. The brewery is now located in Paso Robles.

In making the reference to wine David suggests Ales compare to the red varietals. They are bolder in character and full bodied. Lagers are lighter in character and compare to the while varietals.

On Father’s Day, Firestone-Walker Brewing in concert with Food GPS is hosting a Father’s Day Collabrewtive Brunch at Lot 613 in Downtown Los Angeles from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. In addition to the craft beer sampling six food stations will be there featuring the creations of top local chefs including Daniel Mattern and Roxanna Jullapat of Cooks County.

Coffee-infused beers will be on the menu, too, specially created for the event by the brewmasters working with master coffee roasters. Firestone-Walker is matched with Intelligentsia Coffee.

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