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(Paso Robles) - The region of Paso Robles, California is gaining increasing recognition around the country as a premium area for fine wine and food. On November 12, the James Beard Foundation in New York featured a dinner celebrating the leading lights of the Paso Robles food and wine scene. Laurent Grangien, chef and owner of Bistro Laurent, prepared a 5-course meal and paired each course with wines from Justin, L’Aventure, and Tablas Creek Vineyard.
The James Beard Foundation celebrates the country’s culinary artists while providing resources, scholarships and educational opportunities for the food industry. It also offers members the opportunity to enjoy the delights of fine dining. To be selected as a visiting chef or winemaker is a signal honor in the industry.
The three wineries chosen reflect the unique terroir and favorable climate of Paso Robles. All three are located in limestone clay foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains west of Paso Robles, and though each focuses on different varietals, their winemaking styles are remarkably similar. All are proponents of the philosophy that fine wines are made first in the vineyard, and that great wines can only come from great grapes brought through the fermentation process as naturally as possible.
Tablas Creek Vineyard, founded by wine industry pioneer Robert Haas and the Perrin brothers of Château de Beaucastel, focuses on red and white Rhone blends, organic farming, and natural winemaking. Their signature wine, Esprit de Beaucastel, is a blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache, Syrah, and Counoise. Justin Winery, founded by Justin and Deborah Baldwin, is a family owned and operated estate focusing on Bordeaux blends. Their flagship wine Isosceles, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, has received wide praise among critics and consumers. L’Aventure, founded by Bordeaux winemaker Stephan Asseo, spans Bordeaux and the Rhône with its signature Optimus, a blend based on Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
A native of Brittany, France, Grangien worked at a series of Michelin-starred restaurants, including St. James in Bordeaux, Château de la Chèvre d’Or in Eze, and Michel Guérard in Eugénie-les-Bains. In Paris he became head chef at Michel Rostang’s eponymous restaurant. With Rostang, he opened Bistrot d’à Côté, also in Paris. Stateside, he served as executive chef of Fennel Bistro in Los Angeles, which was chosen as one of the best new restaurants of 1992 by Esquire. Moving to California’s Central Coast, Grangien took a position at the Inn at Morro Bay before opening Bistro Laurent.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Jason Haas, Tablas Creek Vineyard
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Although we've been distracted by the more unusual occurrence of last weekend's summer rainstorm, this week also has provided the annual milestone of veraison. Veraison marks the point where the grapes stop accumulating mass and start accumulating sugar (and, more noticeably, change color from green to red). It is one of the landmarks of the season, not least because it marks a point roughly six-weeks before the onset of harvest. Read More »