2012 J. Lohr 2012 South Ridge Estates Paso Robles Syrah

I was at the Paso Robles seminar and grande tasting event in Oakland awhile back and stopped by the J.Lohr tasting table. I can’t help it. I know they’re a big name brand, but they feel simultaneously local. Maybe its because their Bay Area tasting room is literally around the corner from my house. Maybe it’s because I see them at every Wine Walk up and down the Penninsula. Or maybe it’s because every time I stop by their tasting room, tasting table, etc, I’m greeted with a warm, friendly face willing to talk to me at length about any and all of their wines — from Safeway finds to “members only” selections.

So I’m at this Paso Robles event, and I’m talking to Mark Hess, a J. Lohr Regional Manager, and we’re going through the tasting flight when we get to the Syrah. Now this is one that is available to the public, but for some reason it’s hard for me to find — not always available at Safeway, I sometimes have to go to a local market, Zonattos, just to find this Syrah-treat. Mark and I are sipping, and talking, and my mind always goes to “what food would go with this.” And as we discuss this topic, I get hungry. So, the following weekend, I buy this wine and whip up, what I think, is the perfect food pairing.

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Notorious PINK Grenache Rosé

Can you say “impulse buy?” It was my birthday, I was stocking up on wine at (three guesses) Safeway, and my favorite color is pink. So — why wouldn’t I pick up a bottle of wine mysteriously labeled “Notorious Pink”?

Ok, let’s get something clear. My favorite color is pink, and I do like a good rosé, and I might be a bit of a girly girl (sometimes), but I do not like girly-sweet wine. So, being the somewhat knowledgeable wine drinker that I am, I did read where this was (France) from and what it was made from (Grenache), and noted that the color wasn’t cotton candy pink (side note: I do not like cotton candy). So, I used my deductive reasoning that aside from the cutesy name — this is a real wine a real wine lover can enjoy. (BTW I was right…)

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Chateau Ste Michelle 2015 Columbia Valley Pinot Gris

In my house, we have a saying that goes something like “Chateau Ste Michelle anything!” Meaning? Meaning that pretty much anything Chateau Ste Michelle puts on the shelves is a cellar keeper for sure (just check out Chateau Ste. Michelle 2013 Indian Wells Chardonnay – A Cellar Keeper). And that rule certainly applies to their latest release of Pinot Gris. Crisp, refreshing, with a spice kick — you’re going to want to stock up on this beauty for sure.

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2014 Wente Riva Ranch Chardonnay

I love this wine. Love love love it. It’s one of the wines that’s usually available at a local supermarket — so when I see it, I snag at least two bottles. You’ll want two bottles of this Chard in your cellar — one to drink casually now, on a random weekday, and one to save for a special date-night dinner. Because in all honesty, with it’s easy drinkability and complexity of flavor, the Wente Riva Ranch Chardonnay is perfect for either occasion.

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