July 21st, 2008 15:54 EST
Meet the Kings of Zinfandel
Lately I have spent much of my time talking about bacon. Many of our customers who have come to love the Bacon Freak brand of bacon aren`t even aware that we got our start in wine and have 11 wine clubs today. Since my wife and I started having kids we haven`t been able to do the amount of wine tasting that we would like to do and are normally restricted to doing local wine tasting hosted by some of our local wine bars, so we decided to do something different.
We loaded up the RV, our bikes and scooters and went up and stayed at the Wine Country RV Resort in Paso Robles. This is a very nice RV resort located a few miles east of the 101 on the 46 freeway next to Firestone Winery. (Having a winery just 150 yards away from where you sleep is dangerous). It did make a great place to end the day and stumbling home was made easy!
Over the next few weeks I will be sharing with you my experiences in this wonderful wine region. By the way we just didn`t wine taste! We enjoyed golfing, going to the Lake Nacamiento, Cambria, going to Ravine Waterpark, picnicking and taking leisurely walks through the gorgeous oak trees that this region offers. Each of these activities just perfectly complemented the wine and like all wine it is better shared with friends. We were fortunate that our good friends could spend the 7 fun filled days with us.
We started our wine tour in northern Paso Robles. Among the first wineries we visited was Vista Del Rey Vineyards. This boutique vineyard is owned by proprietors Dave and Carol King. Their property is an 8 acre vineyard that comes with a breathtaking view of the valley below. I have known Dave for about 5 years now and what is so truly unique about their winery and vineyard is that their customers not only get to taste some of the best zinfandel`s that this region has to offer but they are immediately welcomed in like family.
We weren`t there but a few minutes when Carol took my wife and friends into their newly remodeled home that has some gorgeous antiques that she purchased at local antique shops such as Vineyard Antiques. Their home has a few special pieces such as a bed headboard from Sally Sanford`s bordello in San Francisco and several paintings and furniture pieces that Carol traded wine for. She told me the she loves to barter using Dave`s wine.
I just love their tasting room; it`s basically a little barn. When you walk in, you are immediately greeted by their two dogs Shylo and Daisy, who were two of the friendliest ole dogs you had ever met. As soon as you step in you get the feeling that you are getting the real deal, meaning a wine maker who shares our vision about wines, fancy bottles and artistic labels are meaningless, it`s what`s in the bottle that counts. Upon walking in I was literally shocked at how many people were inside tasting wines, I thought to myself how did they all get in? It goes to show you that a good wine and a good host is the most important thing when it comes to drinking wine! While I was there I met Tom Rice, PHD, who wrote and published, Paso Robles: An American Terroir. This is a must have book if you want to know about the Paso Robles wine region.
I originally met Dave about 5 years ago when he and I were volunteering at a wine event at Lake Sherwood in Westlake Village to benefit the Special Olympics. Since I first tasted his wines that day, there is one thing I can be sure of when it comes to Dave`s wines and that is he consistently makes a quality Zinfandel wine that is priced very reasonably.
Dave poured several of his wines together and they were a Pinot Blanc, a few different zinfandels, a Barbera and a Barbera Port. We thoroughly enjoyed the Barbera Port that was perfectly paired with Herrmann`s dark chocolate chocolate. This fantastic port is limited to two bottles per person. My friends purchased the maximum quota and for an after dinner snack that night we finished off one bottle.
Dave`s winery is off the beaten path. It like being in the old west. You need to pass several cattle ranches and pass a few dirt roads to get there. The trip is well worth it to see their dry farmed zinfandel vines. Vista Del Rey means a Kings View in Spanish which is the perfect name for these two proprietors` names Dave and Carol King. Since 1997 when they started this winery their flagship varietals has been the zinfandel. If you truly want to try a handcrafted zinfandel or barbera that is consistent year after year and that is produced in limited quantities at a very reasonable price Dave`s Zin is the answer.
The next time you are in Paso Robles be sure to visit:
Vista Del Rey Vineyards
7340 Drake Road
Paso Robles, CA 93446
Rocco Loosbrock runs a food and wine company in Los Angeles, California. Visit http://www.cvwine.com to learn more.