October 15, 2007

Spirit Therapies, HenderZIN (aka Paso Zins ROCK), New Releases and More!

Where do I begin? I can't even think. I have had what seems like the busiest weekend of my life, but it was all good!

First things first! I'm going to touch on the October 12 1st Annual Beer and Wine Tasting for Spirit Therapies, an organization that provides opportunities for developmentally disabled children to learn how to ride horses. Of course, it's more than *just* riding horses; it's about interacting with other people and the animals, learning a skill, building self-esteem, and realizing the joy of accomplishment.

Thanks to Scott & Elaine, Mike, Celeste, Jana, and Zach (see story on Two Buck Chuck) for giving of their precious Friday night time to do the pouring for the guests who came to financially support the cause. They already know how much I appreciate their time – if and when you run into them, thank them. This is a wonderful cause, and (Irene gets on soapbox) I feel that everyone needs to support a charitable cause of some kind if they have the ability to do so. While the pourers weren’t supporting this with their money, their time is just as valuable a commodity for an organization such as this. I encourage everyone to find a cause (or two or more), and support it with your money, your time, your heart. The world would be better off, as would those who are less fortunate. Most touching was the presence of some of the riders. These kids have to deal with disabilities that would bring us to our knees, and they do it with courage and unwavering optimism. It is humbling seeing a child whose twisted form has to be transported in a wheelchair because he cannot even crawl, but who is able to sit high and proud on a gentle horse. For once, *he* gets to see life away from the wheelchair. Don't be afraid to check them out. You may find that your heart is miraculously softened. (Irene steps down from soapbox).

And now for HenderZIN. This was the second annual event, and my second time enjoying the festivities. Of course, this time going as *the* Vegas Wineaux (LOL), it was a little different. Now to my good friends who didn't attend last year … neener neener! I've had this much fun TWO years in a row! And for those of you who have missed both ... what can I say? You've missed a terrific event TWICE!

Once again, the event was held in the parking lot of Khoury's on Eastern, just north of St. Rose Parkway. And like last year, it rocked.

Issa and Nura Khoury have done a wonderful job of putting the event together, and we can't figure out how they managed to do it, especially with a new baby!

Let me go over some of my highlights (if you were there, your highlights may vary. I took notes).

First, a few shout outs to everyone whom I recognized. If you remember running into me and your name isn't here, let me know! Mel and Gene, Michael, Mitch and Amy, Don and Mark, Robin, Debbie and Mitch, and Tori. And of course, the wine elite were there! Tobin James, Kent Rosenblum, *the* Jim Lambert of Stanley Lambert, Bill of Four Vines (official title: Zin Pimp), and our wonderful Vegas pourers, including Carrie, Maureen, and Paul. Natalie and Teresa of Vino 100 stopped by to enjoy the festivities. Whew! There were many more there I knew, but my poor gray matter is fried!

The wines were wonderful. Opolo, Four Vines, Brochelle, Outpost, Montevina, Palm Cellars, and more! There was a band playing, BBQ, and rivers of flowing Zin!

And now give me a moment to offend a few people. First of all, *all* of the wines were wonderful. The wines were from all over California (I didn’t see the New Zealand Zin this year), and were varied in type, character, and structure. With that being said, I have to say that Paso Robles Zins as a group kick Napa Zin butt. The Paso wines are more fruit forward as opposed to having a dustier, earthier character which typify the Napa Zins. That’s not necessarily a good or bad thing. Two of the wines I could drink by the cup are Opolo Mtn. Zinfandel (Paso) and Outpost Howell Mountain (Napa). Very different styles, both delish. However, there are *more* of the Paso wines I could drink by the cup than those from Napa.

As I peruse my notes, I realize that my favorites were Tobin James Dusi, Fat Boy, and Blue Moon, Opolo Mtn. Zin, Four Vines Dusi, Brochelle, Outpost Howell Mountain, Sequum Kidd Ranch, and the unreleased JDusi – a Zin made by the granddaughter of the original owner of the Dusi Vineyard in Paso Robles. This had more complexity and more Napa in style than the other Dusi wines. Once again, all of these comments are my opinion. Your Mileage May Vary (YMMI). The upshot is that while I loved Zins from all of the AVAs, I loved more of the Paso Zins.

One more opinion: Paso Robles OWNS Zin. So there. Neener neener.

My good friend Elliot (going to be a Papa in a couple of months!) gave me the heads up on the new upcoming releases from Stanley Lambert. They are Three’s Company (GSM blend), Thousand Words (Chardonnay), Silent Partner (100% Cabernet), and Nordic Frost (Riesling). There were too many folks having a great time to get release dates, but stay tuned! I’m pretty certain that there will be tastings, and you can be sure I’ll be there!

Whew. And there’s still more! In the upcoming Blog entry, there will be information about wine clubs; in particular, one of my favorite local wine clubs. On a "Say It Isn't So!" note, I will address the buzz about the departure of a dearly beloved wine friend from our area to parts unknown. I am planning to turn into an intrepid cub reporter (didn't you ever read Superman comics?!?) and get to the bottom of a disturbing and saddening rumor. On the exciting, doing the "happy dance" side, there is a Vegas Wineaux event in the planning stages for November.

Curious? See you next time!

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