Brecon Estate, Paso Robles, CA
Brecon Estate, http://breconestate.com, was our third stop on the Paso Robles day of Wine with Lori. We were delighted to see that they had a cheese plate to pair with their wine tasting. As you know, we love pairing wine and cheese but were also happy to have a bit of food during our tasting. This tasting room was set up differently than other places I’ve visited. The people pouring the wines were indoors but we could either sit at the bar on the outside of the building or at the picnic tables. The weather was terrific so either option sounded good to us. This winery had different grapes than we’d seen earlier in the day so let’s get started and find our favorite!
2017 Brecon Estate Albariño, Central Coast
2017 Brecon Estate True Acacia Head Albariño, Central Coast
2016 Brecon Estate Zinfandel/Tannat, Central Coast
2016 Brecon Estate Syrah, Glenrose Vineyard, Adelaida
2016 Brecon Estate Reserve Feral Underclass, Adelaida
We began our tasting with Erica, who told us a little about the wines and the winery. Brecon grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, and Malbec, all Bordeaux varieties, on their property. What a beautiful display of vines as we walked in! This was a pretty laid back atmosphere where we’d be tasting wines at our own pace. And let’s not forget the cheeses specially selected by Fromagerie Sophie to accompany the Brecon Estate wines. Lori has been to Brecon Estate before but she happily sat back and retasted through the wines. Even Vegas, her dog, was having a good time, entertaining all the other winery guests.
Albariño with Cana de Oveja (Spanish sheep)
True Acacia head Albariño with Alp Blossom (Austrian cow)
Zinfandel/Tannat with Beaufort (French raw cow)
Syrah with L’Amuse Brabander Goat Gouda (Dutch cow)
Reserve Feral Underclass with Stagberry Salame
The first wine we tried was the 2017 Brecon Estate Albariño which we identified tropical, mineral and clean aromas with a hint of cat pee. This white wine was citrus and tangy with tropical flavors including pineapple and grapefruit. I also made note of the acid in the wine. Our second wine was another Albariño but this one was aged in acacia wood barrels. I found the aromas of the wine to be softer than the first but still tropical and Neil noticed stone fruit aromas. I thought this wine was drier than the first with flavors that were tart, citrus and mineral. Neil thought the wine tasted sharp with stone and peach flavors.
We didn’t really make notes about how the cheeses changed with the Albariño but we did write a few cheese tasting notes. The Cana de Oveja (top left in the photo) was rich and flavorful but surprisingly reminded me of goat cheese not sheep. The Alp Blossom cheese (bottom left) smelled like funk and had flavors of butter, herbs and some sweetness. After tasting all the cheeses, the Alp Blossom was definitely my favorite. We purchased a wedge a few weeks later to share with friends. (See the alp blossom on our IG page)
Moving now to the red wines. The Brecon Estate Zinfandel/Tannat was a new type of wine for us to try. Erica told us the Tannat grape is the national grape of Uruguay and that this blend was produced with almost half this varietal. Knowing that we already like Zinfandel, we were excited to give this blend a taste! I picked up dark fruit, and a mix of soft and spicy aromas. Neil felt it was jammy with big fruit. It’s starting out well! The wine tasted dry, fruity, spicy with an oak softness and yogurt flavors. Neil agreed with the spice but called it jammy! It was suggested that we pair this wine with the Beaufort cheese (bottom right in the photo). The cheese was funky, funky, funky! When I paired the wine with the cheese the funk from the cheese transferred to the wine. Neil thought the wine was more grapey and jammy. I also paired the salami with the wine but it made the wine taste like bubble gum. We really liked the flavor of the wine and decided we should pick up a bottle to try more pairings at home.
Our next wine was a Syrah, which is apparently a pretty popular grape for the Paso area. Fine by us, we like that grape! Neil found the Syrah to be even jammier than the Zinfandel/Tannat but he also noticed spice and green leaf aromas. As I swirled the wine, I picked up dark fruit (blackberry) and soft aromas. This was a soft wine with a hint of sweetness, dark fruit flavors and a spice finish. We’d be pairing this wine with a Dutch Goat cheese (top right) that was smooth and milky. The wine didn’t change much when paired but it was a bit lighter and grapey.
The Brecon Estate Reserve Feral Underclass would be our final wine of the day. It is a blend of petite sirah and zinfandel that Neil described as smelling like huge fruit, some spice and cassis. I thought the aroma was more like dark fruit and dry. Neil sipped this smooth, fruity wine with spice while I made note of it being dry with black pepper spice and a bunch of flavor in the throat. The Stagberry Salame was dry and flavorful with a pepper spice that actually made the wine seem lighter. I’d say that was a good way to balance both the food and wine.
Happy we took the trip out to Brecon Estate for wine and cheese, a new varietal and an outdoor tasting room. And there was still one more winery to visit that day. Check back here to see the pairing of Zinfandel/Tannat and cheese.