Michael Perlis Discovers: Vine Talk (Part 2 of 2)

In my previous article, I wrote about how much I am enjoying the television show Vine Talk.

This article is about a particular episode of the show where the topic was one of my favorites: Paso Robles Zinfandel.

Stanley Tucci hosted the following celebrities:
Ron Darling – former All-Star pitcher for the New York Mets and current analyst for TBS’s Sunday Game of the Week.
Philippe Quint – world renowned violinist who performs regularly in the world’s great halls.
Tim Love – chef / owner of The Lonesome Dove Restaurant in Fort Worth Texas and regular guest on TV shows such as Top Chef Masters and Iron Chef America.

Wine experts for the episode were Ray Isle [FOOD & WINE Executive Wine Editor] and Stephanie Caraway [Certified Sommelier currently holding a position with Terlato Wines].

Stephanie introduced the wines to the viewing audience:

Carina Cellars – 2007 Paso Robles Zinfandel with a suggested retail price of $32.

Peachy Canyon Winery – 2007 Paso Robles Especial Zinfandel with a suggested retail price of $40.

J. Dusi Wines – 2008 Paso Robles Zinfandel with a suggested retail price of $32.

Steinbeck Vineyards – 2007 Paso Robles Zinfandel with a suggested retail price of $38.

Turley Wine Cellars – 2007 Paso Robles Pesenti Zinfandel with a suggested retail price of $45.

Victor Hugo Winery – 2008 Paso Robles Estate Zinfandel with a suggested retail price of $22.

Pretty exciting list.

J. Dusi and Turley are two of my favorite wineries. The Dante Dusi vineyard in Paso Robles is one of the oldest and most respected in the area. Most of the grapes are sold off to other wineries, but Janell Dusi holds some back for producing under her own label. Superstar Zinfandel producer Turley acquired the old Pesenti Vineyard and Winery in the late 1990s when they made their entry into the Paso Robles region. And Steinbeck Vineyards is known in Paso for producing terrific wines, both under its own label and by other wineries that have purchased these grapes. In addition, with Carina Cellars wines being made by the very talented winemaker Joey Tensley, along with Paso mainstays Peachy Canyon and Victor Hugo to round out the list, the wines selected provided a good snapshot of what is coming out of Paso Robles these days.

Ray Isle gave some background information on Paso Robles and the Zinfandel grape, and explained how the high daytime temperature and the low nighttime temperature contributes to how well Zinfandel develops in the region.

Food was provided by Chef Tim Love. His Lonesome Dove restaurant specializes in game and steaks, and the steak he provided for the show looked ideal for pairing with Zin. I wish I could have been there!

In addition to discussing the wine, the panelists discussed, among other topics:
The number of baseball pitchers that are into wine.
Phillipe Quint’s experience drinking wine as a shot rather than sipping it.
Chef Tim Love’s drinking a shot of canola oil, expecting it to be Crown Royal.

While, as a wine geek, I always want more wine commentary, it is usually these side conversations that provide the most entertainment.

At the end of the show, the winners were revealed.

The audience favorite was the Victor Hugo Zinfandel.

I admit to being somewhat surprised by this selection. While I have always recognized the quality of the wines being produced by this winery, they have tended to be a little subdued for my taste, not really in the bold “Paso style” of which I am so fond. But, in her introduction to the wines, Stephanie did describe this one as a “rugged powerful” wine, so maybe there has been a stylistic change.

The celebrities selected the Turley as their favorite.

No surprise here at all. Turley is widely regarded as one of the preeminent Zinfandel producers, and for Turley to be the top pick here was practically expected, although any of the other wineries in the list could have conceivably won the top spot as well.

Michael Perlis provides outsourced controller services to businesses that do not need a full-time controller. He balances this with his interest in wine: reading and writing about it and, of course, drinking it. He is still trying to figure out how to combine these two pursuits. Feel free to contact him about either at mcpfinancial@aol.com or michaelthezinfan@aol.com.