2010 Côtes de Paso – Let Me Count the Ways

2010 Côtes de Paso and Pairings

2010 Côtes de Paso and Pairings


Friday of last week we held our annual Bridge Dinner, pairing our wines with delicacies prepared by Julie Simon of Thomas Hill Organics. As always the food, atmosphere, and wine were absolutely stellar. There was one pairing however, that struck a particular chord among the Halter Ranch Staff. The wine industry is flush with excellent pairing experiences, but occasionally a wine and it’s companion dish shine so brightly in concert we cannot help but gush about it. 

Julie paired 2010 CDP with a Braised Duck Leg Salad topped with cherries and cocoa nibs.  The wine absolutely shone, as it generally does, but in this case the bright red fruit, smokey spice, and mouthwatering acidity played off the fleshyness of the duck, the tart sweetness of the cherry, and the brooding cocoa nibs in a brilliant way.



In the manner of any profound experience, Friday’s dinner has driven us to examine and share what it is about our medium bodied, Châteauneuf-du-Pape inspired star that makes it so special, so versatile and so prone to popularity.  Among our various red programs, Côtes de Paso is unique in the fact that it sees no new oak barrels.  It is aged exclusively in barrels that have been used at least once in the past, imparting minimal flavor from the wood and allowing the fruit to show its stuff.

The Côtes is ideal from a pairing perspective in part due to its acidic profile.  Our alkaline (predominantly calcareous) soils result in wine with higher acidity.  The effect of acid on the palate is to incite salivation which in turn urges us to take another bite, another sip, or both.

Composition is also key.  Inspired in part by the great blends of the Southern Rhone, CDP 2010 is comprised of:

49% Grenache – providing a delicious and bright red fruit base

23% Mourvedre – sassing (Sass-ing even) up the blend with a little earth, smoke, and spice

11% Syrah – for some darker fruit, pepper, and tannin

13% Tannat – for color and tannin

4% Counoise – for a floral component, some smoke, and some lively verve

The result is one dry, delicious, spicey, floral, bright, and bursting gift that keeps on giving.  There is age potential here, but we’ll be honest, this wine never seems to spend to long in wine fridge, cellar, or rack before eagerly making its way to the table.  For a treat, try the pairng pictured above – Beemster 26 month aged Gouda, Rosemary La Panzanella, and Sopressata all come to life in concert with Côtes de Paso.

To try something new, pick up a bottle and try chilling it down like you would a white.  Taste it continually as it warms and you will get the full flavor experience as the slow increase in temperature and exposure to oxygen unlocks new tastes and new scents to inspire further tasting and pairing.

As always, thank you for reading!  We’d love to read your thoughts on pairing and tasting the Côtes.  Until next time, cheers and enjoy!



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