Friday, September 11, 2015

Random thoughts and some wining from the Central Coast...

First try at the living room
It's still kind of odd to be here in Los Osos. Not odd in a bad way. Just odd. After 26 years of living in our "starter" house in Burbank, we uprooted ourselves just in time to miss a hellacious heat wave, for which we are hugely grateful. We're still dealing with the death of John's dad the day after our arrival, but with the love and support of our cousins here in town, and the knowledge that Jim made his own decisions right up to the end, we're moving forward. We're still unpacking, and that will continue for a while, as we still need to have our POD delivered. We miss our books and art! And the other 80% of our belongings.

Last night, on the invitation of Wine Director Lannon Rust, we went over to Thomas Hill Organics in Paso Robles to taste a newly released wine from Halcyon Wines, a small, intense project of Tyler Elwell, the cellarmaster at Tablas Creek. When I asked him, "Why Cab Franc?", he replied that he got to work with a lot of great Rhone varietals at Tablas, and was looking for something different.

He's succeeded. His 2014 100% Cabernet Franc from the Velo Vineyard in the Templeton Gap has a slightly stemmy nose and flavor from 20% whole cluster inclusion. It's not unpleasant, and adds some clove overtones to the bright cherry fruit. At 12.9% alcohol, it's well-balanced and easy drinking. This unfiltered wine was a delightful pairing with our lamb pizza (which included a surprising mixture of ground lamb, mild cheese, and peach jam, with a sprinkling of arugula). Bottled only a few weeks ago, this wine will be even more interesting in another year, if we can wait that long to drink the bottle we purchased. The Goddess and JD look forward to future vintages from Halcyon!

As an added benefit, while sitting at the comfortable bar at THO, we struck up conversations with anyone who sat next to us. A young restauranteur from San Francisco was overwhelmed at the discoveries he was making in Paso. We chatted with him about Santa Barbara County wines, and gave him a list of our favorites to check out. Later, we found ourselves in conversation with Luke Bramon, an Aussie world traveler and wine geek currently working for Ecluse Wines, which I think we'll be visiting shortly.

One of the best parts of our little foray into Paso was that it took only about 45 minutes to get there, even though we were stuck behind a slowpoke for most of the trip. We're talking about a trip of 33 miles one way. It was an easy and beautiful drive, during which I kept finding myself smiling for no apparent reason. I mention this because I have been known to turn down social and industry events depending on location and time of day in Los Angeles due to the stress of driving in unrelentingly congested traffic.

Today in Los Osos is overcast and cool. I know my Los Angeles friends are still suffering in triple digits and high humidity. And I am SO glad not to be there!

The bay in Los Osos.

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