Archive for Paso Robles


Posted in Info on Wine, Tasting Notes with tags , , , , , on January 24, 2011 by ballymote

 They always claim there are two kinds of knowledge, “knowing something, or knowing where to find something.” With the dawn of the computer age the “knowing where to find something” has become even easier. I certainly don’t claim to know everything about wine but I do know places where I can go to look when I have something Id like to learn more about. Two such places are the popular wine “chat boards”, Wine Spectator and Wine Berserker. I make sure I stop by these two fonts of knowledge several times a week. In so doing, I often pick up ideas for new wines to try. A few weeks ago one of the main topics of conversation on Wine Berserker was “your favorite Under $15.00 wines”. There was lively discussion with scores of posters volunteering their personal favorites. One wine that garnered several mentions was the 2008 Altovinum “Evodia” Calatayud Garnacha from Spain. I have seen that wine many times on the shelves of local wine shops but it became just one of many Spanish wines I hoped to try one day. The chatter on the boards though was so favorable that the next day I picked up a bottle for $9.99 at a PA State Store near where I work.

 My wife, Kathy, and I opened the bottle at a local restaurant on New Years Day and were both immensely disappointed. Kathy went so far as to call it “horrible’ and I struggled to find something redeeming about it to no avail. It could have been that the bottle was “corked” but it’s more likely that this wine just didn’t appeal to our palates. Remember, just because the majority may like something it’s no guarantee you will find the same wine equally charming.

 Less than 24 hours later we were at my brother Tom’s house for a delayed family Christmas celebration. Tom has a very nice wine cellar and we can always count on him having something good in his wine fridge. This day was no exception and one of the wines we popped was a 2000 Justin, Isosceles, a Cabernet based blend from Paso Robles, CA. I have had other vintages of this same wine and it has always been enjoyable but this 2000 was absolutely stellar. A decade in the bottle had brought out all of the highlights of this delicious nectar. Bright strawberry, subdued blackberry, hints of caramel and some cotton candy, all perfectly balanced and topped off with a long, smooth finish. This was really a wine that had reached its apex of flavor.

That’s the amazing thing about wine. The Justin Isosceles sells for about $50.00. This one was worth it. Often times you can find a $15.00 bottle that drinks like a $50 bottle. It’s the experimentation and thrill of discovery that makes drinking wine such a unique pleasure.


Posted in BYOB Restaurant Reviews, Philly BYOB Reviews, Teresa's Restaurant, Wine Dinners with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2009 by ballymote

It had been awhile since I had gotten together with my wine-loving friends, Gerry and John for our Thursday night dinners at Teresa’s, one of our favorite wine-friendly BYOB’s located on Philly’s Main Line in the charming town of Wayne, PA. IMG_2441

We have been there so often that we don’t really need to see a menu and the waiters immediately provide multiple wine glasses for each of us. The way this outing usually works is that we spend the days prior to the dinner insulting each other about what cheesy wines the other will probably bring. The deal is that we are each supposed to bring two bottles from our “premium” collection. The first few visits we actually finished all the wine we brought with us but after I somehow ended up in the Jersey Pine Barrons on a less than memorable trip home we have cut back somewhat and usually have the good part of our second bottle to take back home with us. For instance, last night’s line up included a 97 Kendall-Jackson “Stature” which is one of my favorite cabs; a 98 Heitz Cellars “Bella’s Vineyard” Cabernet; a 2006 Ramey “Larkmead Vineyard” Cabernet; a 2000 Freemark Abbey “Bosche” Cab; a 99 Chappallet Cabernet; and a 2004 Capa Blanco Cab from Paso Robles. The Chappallet and the Freemark Abbey did not get opened and are again resting comfortably in their familiar surroundings. Everything we did open was excellent with perhaps the Heitz Cab edging out the K-J Stature for “wine of the night”.IMG_2442

The food was excellent as it always is but I think I may have made a less than stellar selection of 

Penne Arrabbiata

Crushed Plum Tomatoes, Jalapeños, Garlic, Basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil   14.Add to your pasta Chicken for 3

The jalapenos simply overpowered my wines and although the taste was intriguing I found it necessary to keep my water glass within easy reach. It just wasn’t the right choice for a night of good wines. Other than the burning sensation on my tongue the evening was most enjoyable as the three of us are never at a loss for words.

Teresa’s is an excellent BYOB and for those of you who prefer beer as your beverage of choice Teresa’s has another location with a massive selection of beers from all over the world. This second location is very close to the first and is aptly named Teresa’s Next Door.  If they ever let us bring our own wine there I will be able to report on the food there. Until then we will stay at our window table at Teresa’s Not Next Door.