Tag Archives: Paso Robles

Wine of the week: Clayhouse Adobe Red 2011


 Clayhouse Adobe Red The Wine Curmudgeon spends an inordinate amount of time trying to find California labels to use for the wine of the week. Either they’re too pricey, $10 wines in $16 packaging, or too crummy, one-note wines with little more than focus group sweet fruit.

So when I find a California wine to use, like the Clayhouse Adobe Red ($12, purchased, 13.7%), you know it’s not a wine of the week just to fill space. Rather, it’s one of a too-rare example of what California — in this case, the Paso Robles region — can do with cheap wine when a producer focuses on wine and not hocus pocus.

This red blend, mostly zinfandel, has lots of sweet red fruit. But that’s not all it has, and the fruit is more than balanced by a surprising grip, some zinfandel brambliness that you almost never see anymore, and soft tannins on the finish. That a wine at this price and this style has tannins to complement the fruit shows how serious Clayhouse is about quality.

Highly recommended, and so far above the glut of grocery store wine that I must endure to do what I do that I could carve out a special place in the 2016 $10 Hall of Fame for it. Serve the Clayhouse Adobe Red as winter ends, but keep it around for summer barbecues.

Winecast 20: Don Brady, Robert Hall Winery

don-bradyDon Brady, the winemaker at Paso Robles’ Robert Hall Winery, is something of a legend in Texas. He worked for three of the state’s best-known producers before going to California, where he has become one of the best winemakers there.

Brady is also, for some reason, not as well known as he should be. His wines not only offer value – the $10 rose, the $15 sauvignon blanc, and the $15 Rhone de Robles red blend are revelations in a world of over-priced, cute label plonk – but they reflect the terroir of his part of Paso Robles without concern for scores or ratings.  Perhaps the highest compliment I can pay: I once voted to give his 14 1/2 percent, oaked viogner a gold medal, and regular visitors know how I feel about high alcohol, over-oaked wine.

We talked about Don’s start in Texas, his approach to winemaking, and how he manages to make such wonderful wines. Click here to download or stream the podcast, which is about 19 minutes long and takes up 18 1/2 megabytes. One caveat: Skype didn’t cooperate the way it usually does, and there is a hum in certain parts of the recording.

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