Thursday, October 28, 2010

It’s Not Wine and Roses, It’s Wine and FOOD!

Fall-Vineyard-on-Willow-CreThe days drift into fall and we anticipate enjoying the fruits of the vines that have been ripening for months in the sun. The weather that was fickle all summer sent contradictory messages to the budding grapes. Growers and winemakers cast dubious eyes at them, questioning in their minds as to what the final outcome would be.But finally the day dawns and it is harvest. Picking starts early right at sunrise. The workers can’t resist taking a taste as they snip away freeing the clusters from their prison of vines. And it tastes good!

Soon iDave-pouring-wine-at-Per-Cat is time for the harvest parties, some great noisy affairs, others more genteel. We join the group at Per Cazo Cellars on a balmy Sunday afternoon to sit with friends by the pool and sample the fine wine.

Per Cazo, means “by chance” and many of us share the same story having stumbled upon the place during the summer, by chance. A pleasant discovery to find  this small family winery run by Lynne and Dave Teckman that sits adjacent to a bubbling creek amidst the oak trees.
Today we sample five new releases starting with a blend of three white Rhone varietals, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, and Viognier called Tres Blanc. We pair this with an interesting cheese that has bits of apricot in it.

Then we go on to the Reds, ZinG, a blend of Zinfandel and Grenache, Epi Telos, that blends Grenache, Mourvedre, and Nanette-and-Beth-at-PartySyrah, and Confluent, blending Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. We enjoy this with outstanding cuisine created by Master Chef, Nanette Smalley of Simply Delicious.

Nanette serves us pork tenderloin with plum sauce, a salad of quinoa (a grain), lentils, celery root in white wine vinegar with bleu cheese, a boysenberry/cheese tart, and a piece of heavenly chocolate.
We top off our repast with Per Cazo’s Late Harvest selection that is 100% Zinfandel. Actually not only the chocolate is heavenly, the whole spread is!

Time slips by and we are enjoying the company, sharing our choices of our favorite wines and wineries, and finding out little bits about the lives of these new friends that we have met today. Even Matti the Teckman’s dog gets into the groove.
We wish we could stay longer. One day we will because the Teckman’s don’t just have a wine business. There is a cozy bed and breakfast here too. Next time we’ll plan an overnight or a weekend at Creekside B&B – along with wine tasting, of course! You should try it too!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fall, Season of Color


It slips in quietly one night in the wee hours of September, barely noticed, on an unusually warm breeze. No one realizes at first, but then slowly it becomes obvious that something has changed. The long languid days of summer are gone. It’s Fall.

Charged up now with the days becoming shorter, the temperature finally gives in and comes down a notch or two. Driving on the back country roads bring glimpses of color here and there. But Fall is subtle on the Central Coast of California and it takes some doing to search for its splendor.


Birds have no trouble finding the season’s gifts. They gorge themselves on berries until they dance in the sky with drunkenness. Beware blackberries, ollaliberries, boysenberries, and raspberries, you will be plucked until your vines are bare. People love them too and welcome these luscious fruits for pies and tarts.

The fields have all turned brown and gold, some alive with bright orange pumpkins. Farmstands do a brisk business selling this fruit that will grace the walkways, steps, and windows as jack-o-lanterns on Halloween. And there is corn and gourds and squashes galore.









The grape harvest is mostly done and vineyards begin to show the seasonal change too as wineries hold festivals and parties to celebrate.








It’s Fall, the season of color!