This past Saturday evening we were fortunate to be invited by Parker Sanpei (a lifestyle public relations company in SLO County) to attend the Winemaker Dinner at Villa San Juliette in San Miguel. This was our first visit to this facility, shocking I know, but as you can see from the photos in the slideshow it is absolutely beautiful.
It’s one of those local properties that takes you away, like you’re on some insanely cool vacation. It was super quiet and peaceful; I think the grounds had a lot to do with that. You’re surrounded by vineyards, oak trees, and some amazing landscaping. I’m kind of into the landscaping right now since we (Annie, her mom, and I) have been doing a lot of work to our new house…nice to see other spots and see what they’re doing.
We only spent a couple of minutes inside the tasting room because the event was over in the barrel room so I can’t really speak about that but the patio outside the tasting room blew me away. You’ll see in the photos that it’s pretty damn cool, would love to go back and actually hang out.
On to the dinner with Villa San Juliette Wines
I’m guessing there were about 35 to 45 people there but I’m probably completely wrong. We saw a few people we knew, like Matt Ortman, the winemaker and several other media folks that we’ve seen around SLO for the last few years. The BIG boys were there as well, Nigel Lythgoe (from So You Think You Can Dance among other things) and his partner Ken Warwick. We only chatted with them for a couple of minutes but they seemed like cool guys…obviously they know the Paso Robles area rocks and I assume they like the night life…they like to boogie.
Local chef, known as Chef Charlie, was the food guru on hand this evening. The meal had TONS of ingredients and some very unique things like Shitake Bacon…yes, I said that. You can check the menu here. On this night my favorite things were the salad, the sea bass, and the rose sorbet…definitely want more of that sea bass.
As many of you may know, Matt Ortman started at VSJ in January so the wines weren’t his babies but he did a great job presenting the wines and talking about the things going on at the winery. Of the wines we had my favorites were the Albarino, the Rose, and the Cabernet Franc.
My takeaways on our visit to Villa San Juliette:
Matt Ortman is an incredible winemaker (we know this from his years at Ortman) and I am looking forward to taste what he can do at VSJ.
Winemaker dinners are fun, and they get “funner” as people drink more.
VSJ has an awesome property and I look forward to having too many glasses on the patio with Nigel Lythgoe. Nigel doesn’t know this yet but I’m sure he’s game.
I’ve really been impressed to see all the different directions the wine in the Paso Robles area is going, so many unique characters doing so many unique things. I’ve only been following along for 6 years but it is truly breathtaking…I love this community.
That’s all for now, might be time for a cocktail!