Feb 7, 2016

World's First Instant Wine Chiller...

We were recently asked to do a story on a product or to have a guest blog about said same product. Since the product is not yet available to us to check out, we chose a different route. The Cryos Wine Chiller is about to hit the market and this is their article not ours. We are hoping they get it off the ground and send us one to fully test and then give you our opinion. It seems fairly interesting and may just do what a lot of other products have not.
In the meantime have a read and see if you may have an interest in this wine chiller and if you get one let us know what's up.

The Cryos Wine Chiller is the world’s first and only instant wine chiller.

There’s really only one thing that can destroy the taste of a good glass of wine, and that’s the temperature.  Serving wine at the wrong temperature significantly alters its flavor and aroma.   Using the Cryos Wine Chiller to chill your white or red wine is easy and quick.  For too many years, we’ve let circumstance dictate the temperature of our wine.  For example, if red wine is served too warm, it will taste harsh and alcoholic, and it will completely destroy the wine’s bouquet. It’s a common
misconception that red wine should not be chilled. Some red wines need to be chilled slightly, and the Cryos Wine Chiller can make that a reality.  On the other hand, if white wine is served too cold, say goodbye to its flavor. Regardless of the price, all wine is best enjoyed at its intended serving
temperature.  This is why some winemakers put the drinking temperature directly on the label; these wineries want you to enjoy their wine to its fullest potential.

Click here to watch video
We realize that there are quite a few choices when it comes to chilling your
wine. Some products can take anywhere from thirty minutes to several hours
to reach the right serving temperature.  Imagine a friend stopping by with a
nice bottle of Chardonnay.  It’s not chilled, but the two of you would like to
enjoy a glass while you visit. What do you do? The freezer? That will take at
least fifteen minutes. The refrigerator? That will take 35-40 minutes. If you
forget about it, it could actually ruin the wine and burst.  How about ice cubes?
The ice will melt, leaving you with watered down wine.

In less than sixty seconds, your wine will be chilled to the desired
temperature, giving you the perfect taste.  With the Cryos’ brilliant touch screen
you can control all its functions. Choose a glass or bottle, red or white. No
matter what you choose, The Cryos Wine Chiller is always ready. Whether
you’re a party of 1 or 100, the Cryos Wine Chiller can meet any and every demand. The Cryos Wine Chiller can continuously chill more wine than can (or should ever be) consumed. 
Furthermore, its elegant design makes it a perfect fit for every home and under any cabinet. It can handle any wine glass from stemless to the tallest of stems. And if you’re chilling a bottle, the Cryos Wine Chiller can accommodate various types of decanters.
We would love for you to join us in our Kickstarter campaign.  Soon, we could all be enjoying our favorite wine instantly at the right temperature with the perfect taste.

So there you have it. Please let us know if you get one and what you think and maybe a bit down the road we can compare notes. We are hopeful we will get one to test and give you a first person review. The drinking temperature of wine is in our opinion a very under rated issue.

Happy Wine Adventures,

Jan 30, 2016

Enchanting Robins Restaurant Cambria, Ca

International Fare. Farmers' Market Fresh. That's the tag line for Robin's Restaurant in Cambria. The ever so charming Robins Restaurant is located in a restored adobe home in the historic East Village of Cambria. Just off the main drag this locals favorite has a very diverse menu. They describe it as handcrafted comfort cuisine with an array of international flavors made from farmers' market fresh ingredients. The international fare part is very much the case. One look at the menu and we were almost lost on what to order. From steak, to curries from Malaysia and India, to Jerk spiced Duck breast and wild prawn enchiladas. The term eclectic comes to mind.

The place was jumping on this Sunday night and everyone seemed to be enjoying the food. There were many noticed occurrences of "here take a bite, this is amazing".
There are a nice selection of wines to pair with this variety of food with as well as a decent by the glass selection.

As mentioned already the place was jumping but the service was still on point and we felt well taken care of. Inside is where we were seated and the warm cozy feel with some interesting d├ęcor made us feel very comfortable.

We started with some delicious calamari. Perfectly cooked and it came with a lovely flavorful aioli.

For mains we ordered the 8 oz Chateau Top Sirloin scalloped potatoes, broccoli, roasted mushrooms with burgundy wine sauce and the Half Roasted Jidori Chicken baked with cauliflower, capers, bacon, pecorino, swiss chard and roasted chicken demi. Both meals were delicious but the Chicken was simply amazing. Some of the best chicken we have ever had. For dessert we had a decadent chocolate cake that was so wonderfully rich it could pay off the national debt as well as a delightful bread pudding.

A lovely evening at a lovely restaurant with a great meal. Its no wonder Robin's Restaurant has been Voted several times as "Best North Coast Restaurant" by the San Luis Obispo New Times' "Best of SLO County" reader's poll. We can see why. If you are near to Cambria we highly 'recommed' you eat here.

We would like to thank Karen from Cutruzzola for hooking us up with Robin's Restaurant and to owner Shanny Covey for hosting us.

 Happy Wine Adventures,

Jan 17, 2016

Why go wine tasting in Cambria? Cutruzzola Vineyards.

Few places do a worthy Riesling. This is one of them. Who knew that in Cambria, the lovely coastal town on one of the many central coasts in California, there was to be had a couple worth the visit Rieslings. Now this is not to say that there are not a host of other great reasons to visit here, but when we get invited to try wine and its in a place we enjoy visiting, there is no stopping us.

Not sure how we missed the tasting room of Cutruzzola Vineyards in Cambria the last couple times we were in town. So with the destination plugged into the GPS it was off to taste some wine from a winery that we had never tasted before.
Pronounced (Koo-troot-ZOL-a)

We arrived and were even more surprised we had not been here before as the tasting room is not to be missed right by the northern main entrances to the main street of Cambria.

We went in and formally introduced ourselves to the Director of Marketing and Operations, Karen Warfield, who had reached out to us through social media. What a lovely bright and warm feeling tasting room with a nice tasting bar and a really cool big table for special tastings or any number of other great options.

After a quick get to know each other chat it was on to the business of tasting wine. First up was the 2012 RIESLING • RIVEN ROCK VINEYARD SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY; With lovely enticing notes of orange, lime, orange blossom and just a hint of freshly opened tennis balls. These flavors carry through on the palate with the added flavors of melon and pear. There is a lovely light fresh sweetness that compliments a nice mouth feel, balanced acidity and a nice elegant finish. For those that like their Riesling with a touch of sweetness (3%), this is a cracker.

Next up the 2011 RIESLING • RIVEN ROCK VINEYARD SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY; What a lovely lemon curd, lime and honeydew melon coming through on the engaging nose of this off-dry wine. Again what you smell carries through onto the palate. Although it has a slightly fruit sweet taste it is only 1% residual sugar. It is a full flavored and intriguing wine that engages the palate with citrus peel, grapefruit, squeezed oranges and some nice minerality with a lovely mouth watering acidity that has you going back for more.

After the Rieslings the 2013 PINOT NOIR • GLORIA SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY was up; A nice dark cherry nose with some rose petals tossed in. The flavors that stood out were of red and dark cherry, plum and a little spice. This wine is nicely balanced and shows good structure with silky tannins and a medium finish. A lovely drinking Pinot Noir that will only get better over the next few years.

We were also poured a lovely Chardonnay and a soft well balanced Zinfandel. We focused here on the Rieslings and the Pinot Noir because they are from the estate vineyards located just outside of Cambria, only a few miles from the Pacific ocean, and just over the coastal mountains from the Westside Paso Robles wine region.

Thanks to Karen for reaching out to us and the invitation to share some very lovely wines. The Cutruzzola Vineyards tasting room is one you 'must do' when in the Cambria area. They are also part of the Pacific Coast Wine Trail. A collection of ten wineries from the Rock in Morro Bay to Hearst Castle in San Simeon, with stops in between at Cayucos, Cambria, and Harmony, the Trail offers travelers a wine experience as unique as the coastal communities themselves. Go check 'em out and don't miss Cutruzzola.

Happy Wine Adventures,

Dec 27, 2015

Why go to Cambria? Black Cat Bistro...

Few places do a worthy Riesling. This is one of them. Who knew that in Cambria, the lovely coastal town on one of the many central coasts in California there was to be had a couple of worth the visit Rieslings. Now this is not to say that there are not a host of other great reasons to visit here, but when we get invited to try wine and its in a place we are enjoy visiting, there is no stopping us.
But then there is the question of where to eat? This time there was no question as the good people at Cutruzzola Vineyards (the reason for the visit, remember great Rieslings) hooked us up with lunch at their friends bistro.

So first off it was to be lunch at The Black Cat Bistro. The name of the Bistro comes from the poster hanging in the hallway. The story is it was won at a charity auction one evening after much Champagne was consumed. We like it already!
We have been to Cambria a few times and somehow not been here. We found the bistro to be warm, inviting and with a cozy euro feel in an intimate setting. We were in the front main room but there is a similar feel in each of the four spaces. We were immediately greeted by Marco upon arrival and settled into the corner of the front room by the fire place. The perfect spot to cozy up and observe the room.

The Black Cat Bistro opened in 2002 on July 4th in a building that was built in about the 1930's. The Black Cat Bistro is known for serving  local farm fresh food. The menu changes fairly often we were told as Black Cat Bistro consistently strives to provide seasonal, local produce and organically raised or sustainable dishes. The wine list was geared for pairing to that fresh food and the Black Cat has received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for nine years in a row. Not surprising as it has a great collection of local and imported beverages to please almost all who choose to indulge in a tasty tipple (can't please everyone they say). Don't be mistaken in thinking that this means one of those long and overwhelming lists that you need a sommelier to guide you thru. No this list is a testament to being carefully selected and keeping it simple and precise. No War and Peace here.

Seating was comfortable and the service was seemingly telepathic. One of the things about restaurants that we believe, is that while many can do fancy, it is often how well they do normal that sets them apart. For lunch we had the lovely fish and chips paired with a local Tolosa Winery unoaked Chardonnay and a brilliant French Dip that set a new standard for beef sandwiches.

We were given a preview of the new dinner menu and given our wonderful lunch experience will be making an effort to have dinner here in the near future.

There are a lot of nice restaurants but few that have that lovely combination of warmth, great food, wine list, service and intimate romantic setting that the Black Cat Bistro does.

Thanks to Karen at Cutrozzola for making the arrangements to have lunch at this wonderful place. We give the Black Cat Bistro a hearty 'recommend'.

 Happy Wine / Food Adventures,

Dec 19, 2015

#WW Jim Barry 'The Armagh Shiraz' 2007

Jim Barry Wines is a family winery based in the Clare Valley South Australia. Jim Barry was the first qualified winemaker in the Clare Valley, graduating as the 17th student to gain a Degree in Oenology at the famous Roseworthy Agricultural College in 1947. The company was founded in 1959 by Jim and Nancy Barry.
We have visited the winery and have had the pleasure of chatting with Peter Barry in San Francisco. We met Peter who has been the owner manager for some time, while enjoying wines from The First Family of Wines group from Australia.

Back in 2009 Trev and his brother stopped in to the cellar door in the Clare Valley South Australia and had a great tasting of some impressive wines. They tasted such great wines at Jim Barry Wines cellar door. With some of Australia’s favourite wines like The Armagh, The McRae Wood, The Benbournie, First Eleven, Pb, The Cover Drive, The Lodge Hill Shiraz, The Barry Brothers, The Florita, The Lodge Hill Riesling and Watervale Riesling.  So good they could not resist purchasing a few gems to take with them.

The one that was the big prize of the group was the 2007 Armagh (got it heavily discounted due to damaged label).
The name of ‘Armagh’ was given to the area by the original Irish settlers who arrived in 1849, and named the lush rolling hills after their homeland.
Peter recalls hand watering the vines in the Armagh vineyard as a nine year old. “It was a very hot summer and the vines were struggling. We watered only the vines that looked dead from a 44 gallon drum on the back of Dad’s tractor.

Armagh is a prestigious wine of great distinction. A distinction which is well deserved. This wine delivers vintage after vintage. Surprisingly or at least to us, it does not seem to be as revered as we believe it should be to the general drinker. Maybe that is just our California impression. Recently while contemplating what wine was worthy enough to be served at a very special event the Armagh was uncovered. It was the perfect wine for the job. It even stopped the sommelier in his tracks...

For those that follow our wine reviews you will notice that this is a bit pricier that we usually write about. Yes you noticed correctly, not our usual every day tipple. This wine so impressed that it seemed simply just wrong not to stand on a chair and shout about how wonderful this bottle of wine was.

Some back ground on this vintage from the Jim Barry website.
"The 2007 growing season was the driest in 24 years,
meaning that vintage was much earlier than usual.
The Armagh vineyard was hand-picked in early

Variety: 100% Shiraz
Vintage: 2007
Region: Clare Valley, South Australia
Estate Grown: 100%
Harvested: March 2007
First Release: Vintage 1985
Oak Treatment: 15 months in French & American oak
Alc/Vol: 15.0%
Total Acid: 6.70g/l
pH: 3.37

The 2007 Armagh is deep crimson in color and perhaps even tending to be a little purple and probably due to the low-yielding vines, it had a powerful nose of cranberry, mulberry, boysenberry and with the underlying characters of cinnamon, cedar, black pepper and spearmint.
On the palate the Armagh really shows its true strength and with its current age has a silky tannin structure as well as the flavors of red currants, black cherries and blueberries that seduce your palate with undercurrents of earth and truffles that are just about perfect. This wine has a great finish to complement the wonderful flavor and power in this beautiful wine, all the while still showing finesse and restraint. On the scale it gets no stars but a carackin score of  9. One of our highest ratings ever!

There is no more Armagh in our cellars. This leaves us with a heavy heart. There is a regret that more bottles were not purchased in 2009 at that discounted price to be enjoyed again. To be pulled out with some poncy friends to upstage their fancy French or Napa wines and to show them what a truly great wine tastes like. The fact that it comes from Clare Valley is just our poncy twist!

Happy Wine Adventures,