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.)


  1. says

    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.

    • says

      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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