Monday, August 30, 2010

September is CA Wine Month

In celebration, we are offering the following discounts during the month:

-20% discount on any wine purchase when you arrive at our tasting room via The Wine Line wine country shuttle. The Wine Line is a safe and relaxing alternative to driving from one winery to the next. Just hop on, and hop off. Check out their website at .
 -10% discount on any wine purchase when you show local SLO County ID.

"September marks the beginning of harvest in California and California Wine Month celebrates the state’s ideal climate for wine, beautiful wine country landscape, our talented and ingenious winemaking families, our celebrated lifestyle and cuisine; and our commitment to sustainability and the environment."

As if you needed them, here are 10 reasons to love CA wine, taken from

1. A living national treasure, with history and entrepreneurial spirit
California wines have been around for nearly 250 years, and the industry is the fourth largest producer of wine in the world. After Prohibition, California has led a wine quality revolution by combining art, science, innovation and tradition.

2. A leader in sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices
With its statewide Sustainable Winegrowing Program (SWP), establishing strong environmental standards and practices from ground to glass, California vintners and winegrape growers are a model for other agricultural products and other wine regions in the U.S. and the world.
3. Comprised largely of family businesses
The vast majority of California's 4,600 winegrape growers and 2,800 wineries are family-owned and operated businesses, many involving multiple generations.
4. Offers immense choice for wine drinkers, because of diverse growing regions, soils, climates, winemaking styles and people
With winegrapes grown in 46 of the state’s 58 counties, California counts 108 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). Starting with the Spanish missionaries, to German, Swiss, French and Italian immigrants, to the modern day entrepreneurs and researchers, all have made their mark on California wines.

5. Inspired a culinary revolution
As the popularity of California wines has risen, so has the national focus on fresh seasonal cooking and dining. Many of America’s top chefs work in California’s wine country.
6. Provides careers for thousands
The California wine industry generates 820,000 jobs nationwide, with wages totaling $25.8 billion. The overall economic impact of the wine industry on the U.S. economy is $121.8 billion.

7. Creates beautiful travel destinations throughout the state

California is the most visited state in the U.S. for food and wine-related activities, with 19.7 million tourists visiting the state's wine regions each year.

8. Offers unprecedented opportunities for women
Women have played a critical role in the California wine industry’s past, and today are taking lead positions in viticulture, winemaking, sales, marketing, hospitality and distribution. In the U.S., you’re just as likely to see a female as a male sommelier.

9. Keeps land in agriculture
Although less than 1 percent of California land is planted to vineyards, California wine is the number one finished agricultural product in retail value in the U.S. Winegrapes ensure that land stays in agriculture, and preserves open space and scenic pastoral landscapes.
10. Has driven a new “wine culture” in the U.S., inspiring people in all 50 states to establish wineries
Wine consumption has risen for 14 consecutive years in the U.S., and the proliferation of wine magazines, websites, blogs and yes, even a reality television show about wine, attests to the fact that wine is becoming more a part of mainstream American culture. California’s success in wine quality, production and innovation has helped inspire winemaking ventures in all 50 U.S. states.
Text used courtesy of Wine Institute.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Some Love for the Full Moon Red

We got a nice review of the 2006 Full Moon Red written up in the Arizona Republic. 
Click on California Wines for an Ocean Escape to read the full article.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It's time for another...

HWY 46 West
Neighborhood Block Party

Peachy Canyon Winery
1480 Bethel Rd.
Templeton, CA 93465

Saturday, September 4th
6-9 p.m.
$25 in advance, $30 at the door
Event details and tickets at

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Upcoming Events in June

It's going to be a busy month!

Wine, Waves, and Beyond ~ Friday, June 4th
Come join us from 5-8 p.m. at the Cliffs Resort in Shell Beach and enjoy wine, beer and food tasting with an ocean view! Local artists will have their work on display, and live music will be played out on the restaurant patio. Tickets are $30 pre-sale, or $35 at the door. All proceeds benefit the Association of Amputee Surfers. 

Pinot and Paella ~ Sunday, June 6th
Join Midnight Cellars and the Pinot Noir producers of Paso Robles for an afternoon in celebration of this distinct varietal! Several chefs from Central Coast restaurants will be cooking up delicious paellas to pair with all that wine! It takes place on Sunday, June 6th from 2-5 p.m. at the Templeton Community Park.
For more information call 805-239-2565 or visit

10th St. Basque Cafe Pouring ~ Thursday, June 24th
You won't want to miss this fun tapas and wine extravaganza! Midnight Cellars will be the featured winery for the Thursday night "Winemaker Pouring" at the 10th St. Basque Cafe in San Miguel (just 5 mins north of Paso). This is one of the most unique restaurants on the Central Coast...please join us! 6-8 p.m.

Atascadero Wine Festival ~ Saturday, June 26th
Sip wine from 80 SLO County wineries, pair local food with local wine, and enjoy juried artwork and live music! It all takes place at the Atascadero Lake Park from 4-7 p.m. on Saturday, June 26th. Tickets are only $40. Free shuttle from the Sunken Gardens in downtown Atascadero. Proceeds benefit local charities and the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Friday, May 28, 2010


You know it's spring when the baby birds start chirping! We have families of finches that come back every spring to build nests and lay eggs. This year there are 3 nests outside around the tasting room, the most visible one nestled in a wreath hanging on the wall outside the front door. I managed a few shots of the little guys...

Monday, May 10, 2010


This is what happens on sales trips with Rich.
(Hickey's Liquors in Milford, Massachusetts)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Another Festival? Indeed.

The 28th Annual Paso Robles Wine Festival is coming up the weekend of May 21-23. Only 2 weeks away! 

Come see us in the tasting room during the weekend for wine, food and fun times!

Friday-Sunday: We will be open all weekend from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m, serving wine and appetizers.

Saturday: You won't want to miss our first ever "Midnight Idol" karaoke spectacular. We're trying to book Paula Abdul, but haven't heard back yet. Come sing your heart out, but beware...our stellar winemaker thinks he's the bomb. BBQ will be fired up as well. 12-4 p.m. in the backyard behind the tasting room. 

Sunday: Mary Jane's famous meatballs will make a great accompaniment for the music of Matt Cross on guitar! A nice way to end the weekend. 

Hope to see you there. :) 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Never Cook Bacon Naked

Good advice from Chef Dallas of the 10th Street Basque Cafe in San Miguel!

I sat down and browsed through Never Cook Bacon Naked during my lunch break today. Verdict: This is the best cookbook I have come across in a long time! It begins with several pages of tips, hints, and tricks for working in the kitchen...including a section of definitions for terms such as "emulsify", "chiffonade", and "clarified butter". The recipe list includes tapas-style dishes, salads, sauces, breads, apps, entrees, and desserts. These are easy to prepare and approachable recipes. Definitely not intimidating! It got me excited about planning dinner for tonight.

If you have never been to the 10th Street Basque Cafe, GO! It will be the perfect end to a day of wine tasting in Paso Robles. Visit their website at . Also, you can purchase the cookbook in our tasting room, or on the website.

Here is one of my favorite recipes from the Tapas Section:
Basque Potatoes (Pair with Midnight Cellars 2008 Estate Chardonnay or 2006 Pinot Noir)
4 medium unpeeled Russet potatoes
1 large peeled yam
1 1/2 Tbs paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
2 Tbs cooking oil
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup mayonaise
4 tsp chopped garlic

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Wash Russet potatoes and cut into bite sized pieces. Peel and cut yam into bite sized pieces. Place yams and potatoes into baking dish and add the oil.
Mix together the paprika, onion and garlic powder, coarse ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, and salt into spice mixture. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the yams and potatoes, and then fold everything together making sure all the potatoes and yams are well coated. Cover and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 3/4 hours.
After you remove potatoes and yams from the oven, add mayonaise and chopped garlic and fold everything together well. Transfer potatoes to serving platter and serve as a Tapas. Serve hot!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wine Terminology

The top ten most commonly used wine terms, according to

The intensity and character of the aroma can be assessed with nearly any descriptive adjective. (eg: from "appley" to "raisiny", "fresh" to "tired", etc.). Usually refers to the particular smell of the grape variety. The word "bouquet" is usually restricted to describing the aroma of a cellar-aged bottled wine.

Denotes harmonious balance of wine elements - (ie: no individual part is dominant). Acid balances the sweetness; fruit balances against oak and tannin content; alcohol is balanced against acidity and flavor. Wine not in balance may be acidic, cloying, flat or harsh etc.

Crisp (Whites)
Wine has pronounced but pleasing tartness, acidity. Fresh, young and eager, begs to be drunk. Generally used to describe white wines only, especially those of Muscadet de Sevres et Maine from the Loire region of France.

Term used to describe the taste left in the mouth after swallowing the wine. Both character and length of the aftertaste are part of the total evaluation. May be harsh, hot, soft and lingering, short, smooth, tannic, or nonexistent.

Used for any quality that refers to the body and richness of a wine made from good, ripe grapes. A fruity wine has an "appley", "berrylike" or herbaceous character. "Fruitiness" usually implies a little extra sweetness.

Smooth / Soft (Velvety)
Generally has low acid/tannin content. Also describes wines with low alcohol content. Consequently has little impact on the palate.

Almost a synonym for "peppery". Implies a softer, more rounded flavor nuance however.

The flavor plan, so to speak. Suggests completeness of the wine, all parts there. Term needs a modifier in order to mean something - (eg: "brawny" etc).

Tannins (Reds)
A naturally occurring substance in grapeskins, seeds and stems. Is primarily responsible for the basic "bitter" component in wines. Acts as a natural preservative, helping the development and, in the right proportion, balance of the wine. It is considered a fault when present in excess.

Refers to the basic sensations detectable by the human tongue. Current scientific opinion defines these as "sweet", "salty", "sour", "bitter" and "MSG" (Monosodium Glutamate) flavors all registered by the tongue taste receptors. The traditional view of the tongue having four distinct surface zones to register those tastes has recently been revised by a report of new research discoveries.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Something New

We have a couple newly released wines that are in need of an introduction...
2006 Petit Verdot "Synnove" - Back and better than ever! Petit Verdot is a Bordeaux varietal, usually used as a blending grape for its deep color and tannin structure. It is also pretty phenomenal as a 100% single varietal wine. The color is dark garnet with a violet hue, and the aroma is full of ripe dark fruit and earthy spiciness. Flavors of currant and plum are highlighted by well-balanced oak, tannin and acidity. This wine is unfined and unfiltered. Only 225 cases produced. $22/bottle.

Food Pairing: Beef Brisket Pot Roast


One 4-pound beef brisket with a 1/3 inch  layer of fat
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 garlic gloves, smashed
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 celery rib, coarsely chopped
3 bay leaves
2 rosemary sprigs
2 small dried red chilies
2 cups dry red wine
One 14-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, drained
3 cups chicken broth


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Season the brisket with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the brisket, fat side down, and cook over moderately high heat until richly browned, about 5 minutes. Turn and brown on the other side, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer the brisket, fat side up, to a roasting pan.

Add the garlic, onions, carrots and celery to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the bay leaves, rosemary and chilies and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add the wine and boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Pour the mixture over and around the brisket.

Add the broth to the skillet and bring to a simmer over high heat. Pour the broth around the brisket. Cover the roasting pan with foil, transfer to the oven and braise until the brisket is very tender, about 3 hours. Transfer the brisket to a platter and cover with foil.

Strain the contents of the roasting pan through a coarse strainer and set over a large saucepan, pushing the vegetables through as much as possible. Boil the sauce over high heat until reduced to 3 1/4 cups, about 20 minutes.; season with salt and pepper. Carve the brisket into small slices. Pour some of the sauce over the brisket to keep it moist and serve, passing the rest of the sauce around the table.

Serve with buttered egg noodles.

2006 Capriccio Italien - Welcome back our luscious Super Tuscan blend. It is named after Tchaikovsky's composition of the same name, written over 125 years ago (Listen here). Our first, and only previous vintage of this wine was in 2001. It is now back by popular demand, and better than ever.

Known as a "Super Tuscan", this wine is an enticing blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The aroma is pretty, with essence of rose petals and minerals leading into a tart cherry and toasted vanilla mouth feel. We recommend decanting for a few hours. Only 122 cases produced. $34/bottle.

Food Pairing: Balsamic and Rosemary-Marinated
Florentine Steak


1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup plus 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup finely chopped rosemary
One 3-pound porterhouse steak, about 4 inches thick
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. ground peppercorns


In a sturdy resealable plastic bag, combine the vinegar with 1/2 cup of the olive oil and the rosemary. Add the steak, seal the bag and refrigerate overnight, turning the bag several times. 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and bring the steak to room temp. Heat a grill pan. Remove the steak from the marinade and season with salt and pepper. Rub the side with the remaining 2 tbs. of olive oil. Grill over moderately high heat until nicely charred on the top and bottom, about 5 minutes per side.

Transfer the steak to a rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, until a thermometer registers 125 degrees.

Transfer the steak to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's been awhile...

I know, it's been about 5 months since the last post. I guess we've all been pretty busy...or taking month-long vacations to Belize...Either way, our apologies on the lack of posting.

Last weekend marked the 18th annual Zinfandel Festival here in Paso Robles. Three days of constant wine tasting (aka drinking), eating, and celebrating the popularity and history of Zinfandel in this growing region.

Some pictures...