Visiting the Vineyards of Paso Robles

Rather than driving North from the San Francisco Airport to Napa or Sonoma, my husband and I decided to try something new for our mostly-annual anniversary trip and drove 3 hours south instead.  Our destination was the central California wine region of Paso Robles, pronounced Pah-so Row-bulls by locals.  Over the years, we’ve found that a lot of the cabs we like come from this region, so we thought, why not?

With an even greater daily temperature change and a host of different microclimates, Paso Robles wines are very fruit forward and complex.  If you like California cabernets, it is likely that you have already enjoyed wines from this region.

Our first day of tasting included Tobin James, Eberle, and J. Lohr wineries.  Tobin James is like a scene out of the old West.  Sara our friendly and knowledgeable pourer told us that the enormous 180 year old bar where we were tasting had been purchased by Tobin James and moved to the winery.  The bar is rumored to be the one that Jesse James bellied up to in Missouri back in the day.  Sara also shared that Tobin James has the world’s largest wine club.  “We only have a 3% drop rate.” With a free tasting, a friendly staff and great wines, Tobin James was a great start to our trip.

Visit Eberle Winery

Still East of the 101, we Uber’d to Eberle winery where we met Dennis, an Akron native, and our tasting room associate.  One of the perks of Eberle, besides their wine, is their wine caves.  They were the first winery in Paso Robles to dig them and tours are offered free of charge.  It was a great way to learn more about the wine-making process.

Last on our list for the day was J. Lohr.  We are a big fan of J. Lohr cab and probably the number one reason we decided to visit Paso.  The free wine tasting (yes, many of the wineries in Paso Robles offer free tastings!) did not disappoint.  Simon, our tasting room pourer told us that J. Lohr Cabernet is the number one selling cab in the U.S. – which confirmed we have great taste in wine 😉  We also learned from Simon that the diurnal shift in temperature in the area is what makes the wines have such a robust depth and flavor. Okay, I had to use that word “diurnal” – basically their nights are really cold and their days get much warmer.  This variation in temperature is even more pronounced than in Napa and Sonoma.

j. Lohr wine tasting

This gorgeous view attached below was off the tasting room of Daou winery where we started our tasting Saturday.  The picture probably doesn’t do it justice, but the view is absolutely breathtaking.  Daou winery sits on 115 acres.  Their cabernets are their main focus, but they do offer other varietals.  For this winery, we reserved a cabernet tasting and were greeted warmly by Gabriel who walked us around the premises and told us about the history of Daou winery and the great attention to detail in their wine-making process.  Following our tour, he led us to an outdoor table set with all the wines we were to taste.  Let’s just say we joined the wine club afterwards.

Daou Winery view
Off the beaten path, we decided to visit Dilecta winery based on a recommendation from one of the tasting room associates. Who would know better, right?  We were greeted by the winemaker and owner’s mom who designs the wine labels and the artwork that decorates the tasting room walls.  After learning that she was yet another Ohio native (from Youngstown) she told us about the winery and introduced us to her son, Orion.  These type of more-intimate wine-tasting experiences is just one of the many perks of visiting Paso Robles wineries.

Dilecta winery

 

Gabriel from Daou told us, “no matter what, it’s about enjoying the wine.”  – and thanks to Daou winery and all the other wineries in Paso Robles we definitely did 🙂

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Top Three Grapefruit Drinks

This season is all about grapefruit flavors. Here are our top picks of grapefruit flavored wines and drinks:

  1.  For $10.99 this grapefruit flavored rosé can’t be beat.

NV Ruby Red Rose

NV Ruby Red Rose Grapefruit, France (750ml)

2.  This Secco Grapefruit Pompelini from Trader Joe’s is dry like a prosecco but has a hint of grapefruit that gives it a nice, fresh taste.  We love it because it isn’t sweet.

Secco Grapefruit Pompelini from Trader Joes
Secco Grapefruit Pompelini from Trader Joes

 

3. If you are looking for a gluten-free, non-sugary drink, Cutwater Spirits has created the perfect Paloma in a can.

Paloma Cocktail by Cutwater
Grapefruit Paloma Cocktail

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The Perfect Sparkling Rosé for Valentine’s Day

Share this bottle of Cavatina Premium Rosé with your significant other this Valentine’s Day.  The packaging is great and so is the taste!  If you like Prosecco, you are going to love this!  It’s dry like a Prosecco without the sweetness of your typical rosé.  To top it off, it’s only $11.99/bottle.

Cavatina Premium Rosé
Cavatina Premium Rosé

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MANCAN – Awesome Wine in a Can

The volunteer fire department building in Cleveland that MANCAN resides in dates all the way back to 1854.  In spite of this, everything that exists within the space is modern, innovative, and decisively hip.  Several years ago, the Veyseys bought the fire station, renovated it, moved into one of the fire station bays and opened up the rest to small businesses.  Today, the Veyseys have moved from the fire station, but it still houses a handful of small businesses including MANCAN Wine.

Hingetown Firestation

MANCAN was created one night while Graham sat at a local Cleveland bar with his friend.   In the mood for wine, not beer, Graham wondered why he couldn’t drink it from a can.  The more he thought about it, the more he liked the idea.  That night he registered the domain mancanwine.com and shortly after MANCAN wine was born.  

MANCAN’s philosophy is simple.  “We didn’t want it to be persnickety” Graham told us as we sat in one of the offices that used to be the men’s shower at the fire station.  There are three types of MANCAN wines currently available; White Wine, Red Wine, and Fizz.  Rosé will be hitting the shelves next spring.  All of the wines are non-vintage and non-varietal.   “We wanted it to have a consistent taste profile, year after year, can after can, just like beer.”  

Gracey the dog
The infamous Gracey that you’ll find on each MANCAN label.

So now you’re probably thinking, how good could wine in a can really be? Well, we got a group of our friends to try it and everyone in the group was surprisingly impressed.   Personally, I prefer red as my wine of choice, and found this seemingly simple red wine to be unexpectedly smooth.  Ashlee liked them all too, but more of a Prosecco drinker herself, found Fizz to be her favorite.  

You don’t have to just take our word for it.  MANCAN Fizz was awarded Gold Medal Winner from Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America.  Wine Enthusiast described MANCAN White as “ slightly dark in color, smells and tastes nicely fruity and has vanilla and cream accents. It’s full-bodied, soft and smooth on the palate.”   They described Fizz with “plenty of rich fruit flavors and a buttery note. Lively bubbles settle into the smooth, creamy texture, leaving an overall impression of easygoing enjoyment.”  Better yet, Wine Enthusiast designates MANCAN White and Fizz as “Best Buys”.  

Mancan display
Look for a MANCAN display near you.

Like me, you may be wondering how the metal can will affect the wine.  Rest assure, there is no metal taste.  All of their cans have a special lining on the interior so the wine never touches the aluminum.  As Graham described it to us, “As soon as someone tastes it, there’s that wow moment.”  

The idea behind MANCAN is to not take yourself too seriously.  “When you are cracking open a can, you should have a smile on your face.”  MANCAN’s target audience is millennials and soccer dads, but they are finding that 42% of people purchasing the wine are women.  We weren’t surprised at that.  After all, it was a  female friend that recommended Nearly All Things try MANCAN in the first place.

MANCAN Wine is a dichotomy in so many ways.  It sells at a low price point, but is a high-quality wine.  It was made for men, but women like it just as well. It’s made with a carefree spirit, but is designed to be consistent can after can. 

So our recommendation to you is to try MANCAN.  While it’s great for drinking with your friends at sporting events, over a game of bowling, around a campfire or at  picnic, don’t be surprised if you find yourself sharing it with your significant other on a cold night in front of a fire…with a slice of pizza 🙂

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Rosé – An Inexpensive Way

Inspired by Cosmopolitan’s “10 Rosé Wines That Cost Less Than $15 and Don’t Taste Like Sh*t”,   here is our take on numbers 2, 3, and 4 and a new one (to us) that didn’t make Cosmo’s cut:

Apothic Rosé (#2)

Les Dauphins Rosé (#3)

Les Dauphins Rose

Chloe Rosé (#4)

I’ve had these three from the Cosmopolitan list (shown above) and give them each two thumbs up. They have a great berry/fruity flavor without feeling like you drank a bottle of sugar. Perfect for these warm summer evenings.

One extra that we feel is worth mentioning is Mont Gravet (shown in our featured image). At $7.99, you can’t go wrong. This one is light, refreshing, and not too sweet. One of our summer favorites!  Available at Heinen’s and World Market.

Like to try new wines but afraid of being disappointed?  Try this free app from Vivino which lets you scan wine labels to read reviews and see ratings.