Pairings Indeed – A Meal With Cabernet Sauvignon

Pieces of Soup and Cabernet Sauvignon


Inspired in part by cool winter weather and in other part by the success of a past pairing experience, we decided to cook an experimental meal with a hearty soup as the centerpiece alongside the 2010 Halter Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon.  The ingrained impulse when considering a food pairing for Cabernet Sauvignon is generally to think: ‘Steak!’.  While we would not necessarily disagree, steak being a perfectly acceptable compliment to a hearty wine, in this instance we’ve decided to stray from the norm.  Keeping in mind that taste is subjective, we created a salad, a vegetarian soup modified from a recipe in this book, and a variation on Pissaladière with the intention of showcasing the versatility of 2010 Cabernet.  (more…)

Tasting through Portugal and Spain: Part Deux

Oscar, Kevin, Darren, Katie, Raquel, and Molly put on serious faces as we embark on a Vinus journey through Spain



For round 2 Orestes provided and helped secure a group of diverse wines from Spain.  While one or two are favorite producers of his, most were selected for their obscurity and interesting character.  We began the tasting with an Albillo discovered at MEZE Wine and Tapas bar in San Luis Obispo.  The wine was bright, with noticeable but not overwhelming weight, and a distinct earthy funk.  Orestes informed us that the region in which it is grown (Ribera del Duero) is very warm, but Albillo is a variety that maintains its acidity despite the heat in its homeland.  (more…)

Pesky Experiments

A Little Fruit Seeking Fiend


We have arrived at the time of year, twixt the end of fall and the heart of winter, when swarms of sweet-loving flies descend upon our tasting room to torment customers and employees alike with their overzealous death-dives into our tastes of wine and other general isectoid skulduggery.   This problem occurs, from what we can ascertain, as a result of shifting food sources.  At the end of harvest each year we compost the pomace, or grapeskins and seeds from which all the juice has been squeezed, in low piles along the creek, circumstantially creating a massive food source for Drosophila melanogaster (also known as the common fruit fly).  The weather has not grown cold enough–there have not been enough hard freezes in a row–to wipe out the enthusiastically growing masses.   Thus, portions of the population migrate down to the tasting room where (JOY OF JOYS!) there is absolutely delicious wine being poured! (more…)

Ancestor Dinner 2012 – Celebrating the Flagship


Follow the tealights…toward Ancestor


Each year in October, once the Vin de Paille has been laid out in the old Smith barn, we hold a dinner celebrating the season and the offical release of Ancestor.  Our flagship blend is comprised of the winemaking team’s favorite lots (individual portions of the final blend, fermented separately) from the vintage in which it is produced.  We have produced an Ancestor each year since its first incarnation in 2003.  2008 is the current vintage and it is comprised of 25% Petit Verdot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Syrah, 15% Merlot, and 12% Malbec.  Chef Jeff Scott captained this year’s dinner, consisting of a four course meal paired with Halter Ranch wines, peaking with the 2008 Ancestor.  What follows is a photo journal of the event. We’d suggest pairing the experience of viewing this post with a glass of 2010 Cotes de Paso Rouge, but that’s just us.  It might be equally appropriate to pull the cork on an Ancestor from your cellar for conceptual symmetry. (more…)

Delicacies with Maegen on the Halter Ranch Bridge

Halter Ranch Covered Bridge Dinner


Twilit Bridge


Each year, near the start of harvest we hold a special dinner catered by a local chef on our covered bridge.  The bridge was built in 2009 by Western Wood Structures Incorporated of Tualatin, Oregon to meet the fire department’s requirement for access to the new winery across Las Tablas Creek.  As with all structures onsite, the bridge combines clean, beautiful, and rustic aesthetic with function to provide a memorable transition from the tasting room and barnyard to the vineyards and winery.  This past Saturday we felt exceedingly privileged to host local culinary extraordinaire Maegen Loring as the guest chef for this year’s dinner and the setting could not have been more ideal.


Cabernet Day Reflections – Wine and Music in Concert

2003 Halter Ranch Cab opened in prelude to Cabernet Day


In preparation for Cabernet Day 2012, a friend and I drove via the coast route from Paso Robles to Santa Cruz. Securely stowed in our air conditioned vehicle were a few bottles each of Halter Ranch 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. These two special wines represent the entirety of our first foray into the variety at Halter Ranch.   (more…)

Sunset Inspired Rosé Soirée at Halter Ranch

The Components


Inspired by the recent Sunset magazine “Vacation in a Glass” article by wine editor Sara Schneider, we took it upon ourselves last Wednesday to present 8 Rosés from the article paired with the suggested recipe for Provençal pissaladiére, cheese, fresh fruit, and delicate meat. The event was affectionately, and appropriately, dubbed the Rosé Soirée.  What began as an educational exercise in the spirit of enlightening our palates and gaining perspective on the diversity of Rosé from California, became a model experience for casual evening events to come.

We decided to cook the Onion Tart in the two styles Sunset suggests (Tuna and Anchovie) along with a de-Tunaed vegetarian version.  The key in getting the tarts correct is cooking the onions until they are deep brown and limp without burning them to a crisp.  This task was undertaken by Lindsey B. (who undercooks onions out of burning paranoia) and Sarah Forstner (who kept Lindsey’s paranoia in check long enough to get the onions cooked).  (more…)

Halter Ranch Rocks the 2012 Winemaker’s Cookoff

The Sassage


Kevin and Tony’s delectable creation wowed the crowd Saturday at the 2012 Winemaker’s Cookoff.  The Halter Ranch staff has pooled smartphone resources to provide the following photo journal. Thank you to all who took (and were willing to contribute) photos!   (more…)

I of the Storm – An Argument for Interest in Wine

At a pouring for special guests in our new Winery


Up to this point I have presented all Halter Ranch blog posts from a pleasant distance as the universal ‘we’.  Today rampant opinion has led this particular blogger to forge ahead into unknown territory, presenting his own thoughts on a particular aspect of the wine industry from the excitingly dangerous perspective of ‘I’.

So, I, Lindsey Burrell, today’s composer of the Halter Ranch blog,  have conflict with a certain observed pattern in the presentation, tasting, and understanding of wine.  I will refer to this pattern under the general heading of ‘rampant opinion’ and more particularly as an attitude of yes or no, white or black, up or down, extreme or extreme, in the context of drinking, enjoying, and analyzing wine.   (more…)

Accolades for the Flagship: Ancestor in the Spotlight

2003 was our first vintage of Ancestor.  The blend consisted of 60% Syrah and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Since then the composition of Ancestor has altered slightly each year, providing a consistent expression of the best grapes our vineyard has to offer as they work in concert to delight.

We are currently selling the 2008 Ancestor in the tasting room and true to form it is showing the great complexity and ability to age we have come to expect from our flagship blend.  The word has finally gotten out, Ancestor has received more recognition in the past six months than any vintage of the past including:  Best in Class at the Monterey Wine Competition, Gold Medals in Los Angeles, San Diego, the Central Coast Wine Competition, and Gold in the Sunset Magazine Wine Competition.

Ancestor is named after the largest California Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia) on record.  The tree sits among the Syrah vines at the crest of Block 11, the oldest planting in our vineyard at sixteen years.  It’s trunk is 29 feet in circumference, it is 55 feet at its apex, and the branches span 106 feet at their widest point.  The California Live Oak is the only indigenous oak species that thrives in coastal regions. Influence from the sea in both air and soil is a major factor that makes west side Paso Robles ideal for producing wines of elegance and typicity.

2008 Ancestor is composed of 25% Petit Verdot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Syrah, 15% Merlot, and 12% Malbec.  It is available for tasting and purchase in the Halter Ranch tasting room 11-5 7 days a week.  Cheers!

0 items - $0.00
View Cart ›
Checkout ›
Cart message goes here...