May 28, 2012

Paso Robles Driving South San Marcos Creek.

The other day while driving to Paso Robles for a family event Koala decided a quick stop at some unsuspecting winery was on the cards. I mean let’s face it you’re going to Paso and can create a little spare time, what’s one to do but grab a quick taste. So on the drive of an hour plus Koala was in a bit of a quandary as to where to go. Should he hit a known quantity and enjoy or select one at random?  Random seemed like a nice adventure but that raised the next dilemma of where to go and how to select. Stone the crows all this deep thought was making Koala thirsty so a snap decision was made to stop at the first winery on the right in his path of travel once in the Paso area. The lucky recipient of Koalas presence was San Marcos Creek”.

 San Marcos Creek is a beautiful setting with a nice feel and a place you could really enjoy hanging out at. Rather than yammer about the setting we will just include a few more pic’s. About 5 miles north of the first Paso Robles town exit San Marcos Creek Winery sits in the midst of rolling hills and immediately adjacent to none other than San Marcos Creek itself. San Marcos Creek Vineyards first crush was in the harvest season of 2002. The first year of production resulted in a total of just 675 cases of estate wines. But the story goes back a lot further. In search of a slower, gentler pace of life High school sweethearts for over fifty short years, Fling and Annette Traylor found that spot a little north of Paso Robles. Vines were first planted in the mid 80’s and sold to few respected and prestigious local wineries. Daughter, Catherine, and her husband, Brady Winter joined the business in 2002 and were instrumental in starting the Winery and Tasting Room.

San Marcos Creek Vineyard produces the following estate varietals:
*Petite Sirah
*Cabernet Franc
*Cabernet Sauvignon

Their wines are stored for up to three years in French and American hybrid oak barrels which they believe ensures proper flavor and structure development. Speaking of their wines since that’s where we started this process Koala had a taste of most all their reds. Now we could just give you a list and some thoughts but that’s a lot of reading so we will just do a summary of some high lights. Wine List Link

The first thing Koala noticed was the price point is fantastic. Great discounts for club membership that  put all their wine in the ***** category and even without membership all in *** and **** range. There is a nominal $5 tasting fee but is waved with the purchase of wine. Nice!

 The first wine tasted had a name that is close to our hearts NV Estate Table Red. They say “everyone needs a good spaghetti wine”. And we agree wholeheartedly! What is it? Well, it is a few barrels of several different wines from a few different vintages; “expertly” blended together to create an enjoyable every day wine and for a club price of $12.60 it’s a medium bodied flavorful red and great casual drinker. On the K&K scale a 6 and **** exceeding its name sake on the scale!  The other highlight of the tasting for Koala was the 2010 Sapphire Estate Cuvee. A Meritage style blend consisting of 50% Cabernet Savignon, 22% Merlot, 11% Cab Franc and 17% Petite Sirah. A good medium bodied drop with nice layered fruit qualities and fine tannins with an easy finish. 7+ and *** (**** club price). This was the purchase of the day for Koala. All the wines tasted were quite enjoyable and with such a nice surrounding and great price point this is a great stop if in the Paso Robles area.

Stop by and tell em Koala sent you!

Kiwi & Koala

May 24, 2012

Kiwi and Koalas WW

This Week’s Winner of wine we drink when no one is looking is an inexpensive drop from Ventana Vineyards in Monterey County.
It’s their 2009 “Rubystone”a nice little blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah. Nice bright color in this medium bodied Rhone-style blend. A good versatile drop to pair with many foods. A 6 on the official scale and **** at only $19.00.

This week’s winner won out over a couple of others because of its balance of good taste and great price.

Happy Tasting Adventures,


Kiwi & Koala

Wolfs Where? or Whar! Saturday May 26 2012

So for those in the Paso Robles area on Saturday May 26 2012 there is an awesome opportunity for a double adventure all in one place. At 2:30pm the W.H.A.R.    will be at Grey Wolf Cellars   to celebrate the week of the wolf and will have a couple of beautiful and friendly wolfs to see.

Don’t miss this great event and get up close to these amazing animals and also taste some great wine. I have it on good authority that those present will be in for some special tasting treatment.

Tell em Kiwi and Koala sent you and enjoy!

Happy Travel Adventures,


Kiwi & Koala

May 14, 2012

Weeknight Drinkin Choices, the Weekly Winners

On a recent "post" someone asked us what we drink when we are not tasting at a winery. You know, what we drink when no one is looking. As we pondered the question for a while we thought we might answer the question in a way that was a little more interesting than just a list of our consumption, which would be long, and well, long. So here is what we thought we would do. Once a week or so pick a wine that either we have, or individually have, consumed that week, that are worthy of mention, and mention them. This also gives us chance to tell you, if a bottle we purchased while tasting, still seems like a good choice away from the fun time at the tasting room.

The primary idea is that these wines are opened during the week at home for a regular meal and not taken to a swanky restaurant. Generally speaking a *** or **** wine (mostly ****).

Someone suggested it could be called Kiwi and Koala's Kwick Picks (KKK picks). Upon closer review we decided that was maybe not a good choice. We thought of some other names that sounded good but they were already taken.

So we have decided just to call it WineWalkabout's #WW's (weekly winners).

On a more general note if we get enough requests for particular wines that can be sourced in our area we may even review some of those as well. This also applies to wineries, wine bars and restaurants. We are up for the challenge!

So here we go! Hope you also enjoy our choices and have some great WW's.

Happy Tasting Adventures,

Kiwi & Koala

May 2, 2012

WineWalkabout on the loose, at Asuncion Ridge.

One beautiful sunny Californian winter day, Koala drops his car off at the mechanic for a service, and decides to walk around Paso Robles just because. Because why you ask, well, because it was such a lovely day to wander for an hour and just enjoy and breathe. While wandering around enjoying the day he came across Asuncion Ridge tasting room. Located at 725 12th Street, Downtown on the Park in Paso Robles, the tasting room is a classy roomy room that invites you sit and indulge in the offerings being poured. They are definitely worth indulging in by the way!

As luck would have it on this day who should be pouring but none other than Philip Krumal himself.  To have the winemaker pouring is usually a treat, as you get to hear about some of the thought that drove the choices that made each release what it is and the back-story of why those choices had to be made. With that amount of information you can taste through the events that created each wine and hopefully appreciate them even more. That is not always the case, as some wine-makers have, well, no personality. Not here though! Philip is articulate and has a lot to say, when asked, about the details and choices he made or chose not to make.

Philip poured the entire range, and a couple of extra one’s not on the list. Koala enjoyed them all and once he takes Kiwi there we will review them all. Koala did however have a problem. Well not a real, like broken corkscrew kind of problem, but a problem none the less. He could not decide on which bottle to choose to be his one bottle per tasting purchase. Solution, buy two! First off was the 2007 Pinot Noir, which got Koalas attention immediately. It is bright with nice color and with good cherry and strawberry fruit quality’s. Complex and layered, with a nice soft medium finish that simply enchants.  A solid 7 and ***. The second purchase was the 2008 Lascivious. A warm and welcoming blend of 46% Mourvedre, 29% Syrah and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine was medium to full on the palate with great dark fruit and with a hint of some coffee and chocolate and a nice velvety finish. Another solid 7- 7+ and ***. (Ratings by Koala only)
The vineyards are perched in the southern end of the Santa Lucia Mountains, between Paso Robles and the ocean, and yes, on a ridge. There lies the private 320 acre hideaway of Asuncion Ridge Vineyards and Inn. Once we can work out a schedule we will be going full bore into reviewing all the wines and maybe the Inn, so stay tuned.

If you happen to be in the Paso Robles Downtown area, stop in and have a taste, we 'recommend' you do. Tell'em Koala sent you!

Happy Tasting Adventures,

Kiwi & Koala

Just stopped by again, tasted the latest releases, and this all still rings true. Some great wine and a lovely tasting room, now with some interesting antiques to peruse.