Paso Robles wineries highlighted at LA Wine Writers lunch
–On Aug. 23, the LA Wine Writers welcomed Claudia Burns of Turtle Rock Vineyards in Paso Robles, as their featured winery for their monthly wine-paired lunch gathering at The Napa Valley Grille in Westwood Village.
Brian Cousins, General Manager for The Napa Valley Grille welcomed the group, introducing Claudia Burns, who then proceeded to give some background on her husband-winemaker Don, and their Turtle Rock label.
Paso Robles native, Don Burns, took a circuitous route from Paso Robles after college, sailing through Central America, then working for Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Florida, as he honed his love and knowledge of wine. Returning to Paso Robles in 2008 Don began making wine from his family vineyard, while working with Justin Smith of Saxum, becoming Saxum’ s assistant winemaker, a position he still holds today. Introducing his own Turtle Rock label in 2010, Don sources fruit from the Willow Creek appellation of Paso Robles, including Justin Smith’s highly acclaimed James Berry Vineyard and the Templeton Gap.
The day’s four-course lunch menu, created by Chef Kenny Spost, started with a harvest salad of roasted butternut squash, green dragon apple, glazed walnuts, baby kale feta cheese with a maple-olive dressing. Turtle Rock’s 2016 Willow White (Wine Advocate 93 points), an enticing white Rhone blend, accompanied this course.
Next up was a delicious cast iron seared Branzino, with red plum jam, and a fennel-arugula salad. Turtle Rock’s 2016 Plum Orchard Blend (68-percent Grenache & 32-percent Mourvedre) was a purely perfect pairing.
Course number three, accompanied by Turtle Rock’s 2015 Willow’s Cuvee (a quintessential Paso GSM—Wine Advocate 94 point rated), was oven roasted duck breast, with a port wine glaze.
The final course, a petit filet with a Bing cherry red wine demi-glace, and truffle mashed potatoes was accompanied with the 2016 G2 Syrah.
The lunch concluded with Claudia pouring a surprise addition: Maturin: 50-percent Syrah, 32-percent Graciano, and 18-percent Grenache, all fruit sourced from the James Berry Vineyard. What a lunch, and what a way to end the lunch!
The LA Wine Writers have hosted several Paso Robles wineries at their monthly lunches (including Law Estate Wines, TOP, Oso Libre and others), to showcase the diversity and creativity of Paso Robles winemaking to an enthusiastic group of professional wine writers and industry personnel.
For a Turtle Rock tasting (by appointment only) go to: www.turtlerockvineyards.com.
For information on The Napa Valley Grille, go to www.napavalleygrille.com.