The ‘Wine Mates’ is a group of friends that my wife and I have known for many years. Together we take an annual trek to Paso Robles to go wine tasting. While the Napa/Sonoma area is better known for quality wines, the Paso Robles area has really established itself as a premier area for excellent wines. Because Paso Robles is only 3 hours away from Los Angeles, it’s a convenient location for a three-day getaway from the LA area.
One person in our group will usually take the lead on planning each trip. For this trip, extensive research from one of the Wine Mates turned up a pre-release party that coincided with the time that we would be in Paso Robles. The trip began in Lompoc at Clos Pepe and the pre-release party was towards the end of our mini vacation. You can read about our Clos Pepe experience here.
Wineries typically have a festive event to celebrate their new releases. Since none of us were Red Soles Winery wine club members, I felt fortunate to participate in their pre-release party. At a minimum, it would be an event that surpassed a normal tasting room experience.
Chef Jeff Wiesinger of Jeffry’s Catering provided a delightful array of appetizer-sized bites to pair with Red Soles’ red wine release. His team was set up under a tent outside in the back of the property and was busy assembling each appetizer.
Red Soles Winery Co-owner, Randy Phillips, hosted the event. Fortunately Red Soles Winery capped the number of attendees at 50 so that the group was somewhat manageable. While the tasting room was crowded, between Red Soles and Jeffry’s Catering, they had enough staff to properly serve everyone. Wine glasses were cheerfully refilled.
Why the name Red Soles? According to their website, co-owner Cheryl Phillips convinced her husband Randy to make some wine. Since they didn’t have any equipment, they crushed their historic first barrel with their own feet. Admiring their red grape-stained feet, the name Red Soles was born.
We started off with their 2011 Estate Zinfandel and it was paired with Jeffry’s crispy prosciutto and polenta cakes. It was topped with a roasted pepper tapenade and sprinkled with fresh shaved parmesan. It was an effective small bites appetizer and I’ll have to remember that the next time we entertain. The zinfandel was full bodied and had a hint of cinnamon.
Next up was a blueberry and duck confit bread pudding. Of all of the bread puddings I’ve experienced, I never experienced one that is savory. I enjoyed the bread pudding and despite the young age, their 2011 Estate Petite Sirah was complex and could hold its own.
Their 2011 ‘Achilles Weakness’ is a blend of Syrah Petite Syrah and Zinfandel. It was paired with with a fried red bliss potato topped with blue cheese butter and a strip of Angus strip steak. For you meat & potato lovers, this was the ultimate!
My favorite food and wine pairing was the Red Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs with Shitake Mushrooms & Smoked Chili Mole Sauce on Grilled Sourdough Crostini. It was served with their 2010 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Both the food and the wine were excellent.
I was very impressed by the final serving – dessert. Their ‘Lot 2 Monkey shine aged port’ was not overly sweet and had strong hints of blueberry and raspberry. It paired quite nicely with Jeffry’s molten chocolate cake bite. Too bad the bites weren’t bigger!
The pre-release party was only $25 for wine club members and $30 for guests such as ourselves. We all had an excellent time and felt that Red Soles Winery did a magnificent job in hosting the event.
- Red Soles Winery