Calcareous Vineyards: Lineup Paired with Pals

I felt a little guilty when the winemaker at Calcareous Vineyards, Jason Joyce, missed our interview at his Paso Robles winery when his new baby was sick – as he mailed me six bottles of his latest wine to make up for it.  I did remember to write back, asking about the cherub, and heartily assuring him, as a parent myself, that these things happen.

But I never once, for a nanosecond, thought about turning down his offer:


Thank you for being so understanding.  I’ve sent down a six pack of various Calcareous Wines for you to enjoy.  Three current releases, our 2007 Tres Violet Rhone Blend, our 2007 Meritage and our 2008 Viognier-Marsanne.  I also included three wines that you will be the first person outside of the cellar to taste, as I just bottled them last Friday.  Two of them are from our Twisted Sisters label that retails for $20, the other is a special estate blend of Syrah with a touch of Petit Verdot called the Moose.  Let me know what you think.  Again, I am sorry I missed your visit.


Jason Joyce

Calcareous Vineyard

Then, when I received the bottles, and realized, gee, how to taste so many and get back to Jason on a timely basis…!  I thought TOGA party!

No, not quite, I just thought I’d invite at least 4 more people.  Then that number doubled, and almost doubled again; I think we ended up with a baker’s, or half-baked, dozen.

Thinking back, going with my fellow WSET wine students might have been a better plan, as, being the hostess, and drinking along with my guests, writing down my tasting notes didn’t, exactly, work.

I spent a lot of time beforehand planning the lineup and pairing.  Instead of lining them up from light to heavy – I did choose to begin with the Viognier Marsanne blend and filled in with a Pulchella Chardonnay when that ran out – I put the reds in ascending order based on alcohol percentage.

The Pairings

08 Viognier (75%) Marsanne (25%) – 14.5% alcohol

Paired with: Eddie’s Crab Wontons (filled with warm cream cheese and pickle relish, served with a dipping sauce of Catalina dressing, crushed pineapple and Worcestershire sauce.)


08 Cabernet Twisted Sister – 14.2% alcohol

Paired with: Roast beef and mild cheddar sliders.


08 Matriarch Cab/Cab Franc/Petit Verdot – 14.4% alcohol

Paired with: Strong cheeses – including a Whiskey Cheddar from Sprouts that was awesome!


08 Tres Violet Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre – 14.8% alcohol

(Rhone varietal)

Paired with: Teriyaki (homemade) Chicken Wings (See recipe on this site 4/27.)


08 Moose Syrah – 15.2% alcohol

Paired with: 4 different kinds of chicken grilled sausage and mustards, the horseradish mustard, again from Sprouts, being the favorite.


08 Zinfandel – 16.4% alcohol

Paired with: Chef Chelsea’s Quattro Fromage and Pine Nut pizza, olives, milk and dark chocolate.

Tasting Notes

From pals Ron and Kym: “The things that stood out about the wines we tasted was that the Cab was good – and we really could not tell it was not from Napa.  It had a deep rich Cab taste with a nice finish. The Zin had a typical Zin smell, but more fruity and less peppery than I would have expected, with a long finish.  (Thanks for the tip on counting, if I remember right I got to 6 or 7)  The Rhone wines did not really stand out if I remember right.  The Viognier was memorable in that it was blended with a grape I was not familiar with and had some apple-citrus type flavor going for it.”

Me:  Too busy to write anything down!  I loved the Viognier Marsanne blend!  Couldn’t find fault with any of the others but, again, as the white is what stands out in my mind, I was obviously a hit!  Suffice it to say I look forward to trying these wines again, alone!

(Disclosure: Really?  It isn’t clear?  I didn’t PAY. And, a note on the counting that Ron and Kym mentioned: In my WSET training I learned that if you just counted after tasting you could easily determine the length of the finish.  For instance if the flavor held on your tongue until a count of 3 it was short and if it held on for a count of 6 or more it could be considered long.)

2 thoughts on “Calcareous Vineyards: Lineup Paired with Pals

  1. In reading the comments from Ron and Kym I was struck by their statement that they could not tell the Cab was not from Napa. I can only presume that they think Napa Cabs a standard by which every Cab should be measured. How times have changed over the years.

    1. I’m not sure Tom. For me, and maybe for some of my wine 101 readers, I think that Napa Cabs are just more familiar to people, but not necessarily any better. A benchmark just the same though. As far as Ron and Kym, I read this as a complement to the Calcareous winemaker. (And thanks for reading and commenting Tom!)

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