The SLO Vintners Association got the summer rolling a few weeks ago with the 22nd Annual Roll Out the Barrels event. This spirituous festival kicked off on a Thursday evening with Barrels in the Plaza, where member wineries and local food purveyors paired up to offer fervent guests sips and bites of their local fare on the historic San Luis Obispo Mission Plaza. Friday evening gave way to a select number of winemaker dinners; then things really got rolling Saturday and Sunday during the Passport to Wine Country Weekend.
Over these two days, SLO Vintner’s member wineries that span the county from Santa Margarita to Arroyo Grande opened their doors to passport holders for wine, food, music, barrel tastings and just plain fun. This lively weekend provided an opportunity for wineries and their attendants to put on their biggest smiles and roll out their enticing new releases.
But by the end of the weekend my sensibilities and priorities shifted. Although I started out my two-day tasting adventure with a pen and notebook, eventually those tasting tools fell by the wayside. What I realized is simple: It’s summer and I’m not in a serious mood. I just want to get out and experience the dreamy weather, the stretched rolling green vineyards set against the tawny Santa Lucia Mountains, the fresh air, and let’s not forget…the people.
What really struck me over these indulgent few days were the amazing people I encountered. I ran into old acquaintances, met some new, and continually found myself in the right place at the right time. And even though I delighted my palate with several new inebriating finds, the real gem lay with rediscovering one of wine’s most fundamental virtues—connecting people with the vital elixir of scent, flavor and merriment.
Here’s to another successful SLO County event. Cheers!
|The lavender, surrounding vineyards and rolling Santa Lucia Mountains provided the perfect backdrop at Tolosa Winery on this gorgeous summer day.|
|The grapevines stretched endlessly from Edna Valley Vineyard.|
|I always enjoy the hospitality and pleasant wines of Saucelito Canyon Vineyard and Winery.|
|The entrance to Chamisal Vineyards.|
|Decadent truffles paired with Cabernet Sauvignon at Talley Vineyards was a divine treat.|
|I eagerly headed to Wolff Vineyards to try some of their new releases while gazing at striking views of the surrounding Edna Valley region.|
|Good times at Wolff Vineyards.|
|Colorful view at Wolff Vineyards.|
|I stopped at Sextant Wines in Old Edna to try their boutique Zinfandel and Bordeaux style wines.|
|The charming tasting room of Niven Family Wine Estates.|
|Islay Peak and Madonna Mountain jut out over the sloping vineyards across from Niven Family Wine Estates.|
|One of my top vinous picks for the weekend: Clesi 2009 Sangiovese, Luna Matta Vineyard Paso Robles |
Owner/Winemaker Chris Ferrara reminded me, "There is a wine for every occasion."
|I ended my tasting adventure in Pismo Beach at the tasting room of Sans Liege. A pleasant journey into the Rhone zone.|