Packaged Pefection: Pin-ups…Paso…Port

Cruising around the Central Coast for more than a week recently—primarily in the Paso Robles area—I encountered a disproportionate number of great wines. In fact, nearly every winery I visited produced at least one wine that I felt we could sell easily at Carpe Vino. Yet one of my favorites of the expedition and the only juice I actually trucked home was four cases from PasoPort Wine Company: the 2007 Violeta Port and the 2008 Ruby Port.

mintwineAnd since chocolate is the premier pairing with most port wines, we’ve put together a sweet offer for this rendition of Gary’s Wine Deal of the Week: Purchase the package of four bottles of PasoPort wines shown the photo, and we’ll include a box of Thin Mints to help you create an incredible after-dinner treat. Retail value is $128, but purchase the deal and pay just $100 plus tax, a savings of almost 22%.

I love port. I’m not a huge fan of sweet wine, but for some reason ports of all types appeal to me. Maybe it was because I used to smoke cigars, I don’t know, but a nice shot of port after dinner in the living room just seems so, so civilized.

My trek to PasoPort began at nearby Caliza Winery, where I was treated very kindly by Pam, the vastly knowledgeable tasting room manager (expect to see Caliza wines on our racks soon). As I was leaving, I asked her to recommend a few of her favorite wineries, and she pointed me just down the road.

Climb the hill to the tiny tasting/barrel storage room at the top and you pass by a series of road signs with the images of exquisitely rendered pin-up girls, evocative of iconic figures of the 40’s, yet exuding a unique freshness that make them oh-so appealing. Before even summiting the hill, I knew I was a buyer.

I was greeted in the tasting room by Lola Glossner, wife of winemaker Steve who 20 years ago walked away from Cornell College in Ithaca, NY, with a business degree but chucked it immediately to pursue a career in wine. After cellar rat/harvest stints in California and New Zealand, he studied enology at Fresno State and landed in Paso Robles. He was winemaker at Justin for five years (creating the blending components for the 1997 Isosceles, named to the Wine Spectator Top 100 in 2000). He moved on to help create the opening portfolio for Halter Winery before launching his own his own brand while serving as winemaker for two others in Paso Robles: Steinbeck Vineyards and Per Cazo Cellars

PasoPort RubyOkay, I was hooked on the PasoPort label art and the sultry bottle formats, but it was the substance in the bottle that make me reach for my credit card. Steve makes four beautiful ports, and I selected his Ruby Port, a salute to California-style dessert wines with petite sirah and zinfandel as a major components of the blend. The other bottle is a traditional Portuguese-style port, comprised of 100% Portuguese varietals.

Here’s what you get, all presented in 500ml bottles (typical format for most ports is 375 ml):

Winery Tasting Notes, 2008 Ruby Port: “This 2008 Ruby is brimming with blackberry and black licorice notes on the nose and following through with bright and zesty berry compote qualities in the mouth.” Blend of 52% petite sirah, 40% zinfandel and 8% syrah. 450 cases; 19% alcohol; 9% residual sugar; aged 24 months in neutral oak.

PasoPort VioletaWinery Tasting Notes, 2007 Violeta Port: “This 2008 Ruby is brimming with blackberry and black licorice notes on the nose and following through with bright and zesty berry compote qualities in the mouth.” Blend of 53% Touriga, 28% Souzão and 19% Tinta Cão. 631 cases; 19% alcohol; 8% residual sugar; aged 24 months in neutral oak.

Lola shared something with me that is worth repeating: Port isn’t just a wine to savor after dinner. In many parts of the world, people enjoy port as an aperitif, a delight to be enjoyed before a meal to help tickle your appetite. If that’s true, the four bottles you purchase today won’t last long!

To avoid fouling “Buy Now” button with chocolate, please depress firmly with your pinky finger. We have just four cases in stock, so don’t be bashful!