Friday, September 23, 2011

Wine Tasting Paso Robles: Di Raimondos, Lone Madrone, Oso Libre

Di Raimondos Italian Market
822 13th Street
Paso Robles, CA
805-238-1268

Working in Paso Robles on a very regular basis over the past year and a half has its perks. Great wine and lots of it,  delicious food and truly amazing kind people who have helped make me feel like Paso really is a second home. This last trip, Mom met me a day early for wine tasting, a picnic and general merriment. We both arrived mid-afternoon and headed straight for Di Raimondos Italian market for a few items to bolster our lunch goods.

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Di Raimondos is mostly a cheese shop, but they also carry lots of Italian goods, like a nice selection of olive oils, balsamic vinegars, olives in bulk and so on. Above is their soft and goat cheese case.

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The bleu cheese case that houses my love, cambazola.

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A gorgeous selection of harder cheeses. One of the things I loved about the owner was that even if we were decided on buying a cheese, as soon as she unwrapped it to cut it she gave us a taste just for fun. It's cheese, when isn't a taste of cheese fun?

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This bread. They only had a few loaves of this delicious bread in stock, probably because it was a Monday. Lightly dusted in cornmeal on the bottom and fairly heavily dressed with sea salt on top, this bread is off the chain, as my friend Carrie would say.

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The picnic. To the far right is a gorgeous slightly firm Italian taleggio, in the middle is my friend a French cambazola, and on the left is a soft goaty cheese from somewhere on the European continent.

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Mom's fruit salad. This is a wow dish. Raspberries, mango, honeydew and a fruity sauce of ginger and mint with just a touch of sugar.

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We picnicked on the grounds of my current favorite winery, Lone Madrone, after wine tasting. The kind folks at Lone Madrone introduced me a couple months back to Nebbiolo, an Italian varietal. When done well, it has an almost truffley bouquet and tastes beautiful. More earthy than a syrah, deeper than a pinot noir which is currently a little out of my palate's favor at the minute. We bought a bottle to drink at Lone Madrone's shaded picnic tables.

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Making friends and influencing people at Turley, where they specialize in zins.

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Our last stop of the wine tasting journey was Oso Libre. I'm going to be honest here, by this time I was kinda tipsy suffering from palate burn out. However, the last wine I tasted at Oso Libre seemed like it was probably good, so a bottle made its way home with me for future cracking open.

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I adore the tasting room at Oso Libre. It's bright, fresh, modern and artsy in a very youthful way.

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The father and son ownership team and their dogs were hanging out chatting with us. I have to admit their dogs were as charmingly well trained and handsome as their owners.

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Both dogs are trained to run around the tasting room patios, visit with guests, play with toys and stand at the open door of the tasting room without entering. Good dogs!

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Like most wineries, Oso Libre has a wine club. What I thought was fun is that they also have a meat club. They have grass fed Black Angus beef on the property, and while the prime cuts go to the club, the leftovers such as fajitas meat, some oxtails here and there, and some other very nice cuts still make it into the freezer for purchase in the tasting room.

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The marrow bones tempted me. I have been wanting to roast them in my oven with olive oil and parsley. However, my hotel room has a fridge but no freezer, and etc.

The Oso Libre website will tell their story of sustainable agriculture and a commitment to grid free energy better than I can during a 2 am bout of insomnia. Here is a blurb from their site:

Preserving our environment, we proudly utilize sustainable agricultural practices and renewable energy strategies. Olde English Babydoll sheep, grass fed Black Angus and free range chickens all work together to tend our vine rows and graze land. Our Babydoll sheep program was implemented strictly for our vineyard maintenance in accordance with our sustainable farming practices. Thanks to the sheep’s small size and robust character these remarkable little full time workers graze our vineyards and are ideal for organic weed abatement, fertilization and soil management. As an adjunct, our free-range chickens are social partners to our sheep and cattle and assist in providing nutrients, fertilization and insect control to our vineyard. These charming allies all help to reduce our dependence on energy consumption and pesticides. When you visit our tasting room, we believe you too will be captivated by their presence and work ethic.
The wind and sun supply over 100% of our electricity for our winery. We conserve energy by proudly utilizing our progressive Wind Energy Conversion Facility (WECF) or windmill, 77 solar panels, and our electric all- terrain vehicles.
In conjunction with our vineyards and winery, Oso Libre is a traditional San Luis Obispo cattle ranch. Our Black Angus cattle are free range, grass fed, hormone free animals. We are excited about the future of our Angus beef program.

Next time I wine taste in Paso, I am hitting Oso Libre first when I am sober my palate is fresh so I can offer their wines the tasting they deserve. I was charmed by the people, the atmosphere and their story.

3 comments:

TerrenceJ said...

A good life is a simple life isn't it?

I live in downtown Paso and must make a point to visit Di Raimondos no more than once week!

Food, she thought. said...

Terrence, I can see how it would be hard to stay out of Raimondo's...I could eat there everyday! Charming & delicious.

Kristine G. said...

beautiful post! i especially love it when you mention of highlight mom's cooking and recipes. :) she'd give julia child a run for her money, word.