I am a pretty lucky gal when I go home to visit my folks, it’s one of the most beautiful areas of California and one of the best wine regions in the world. My father works in the wine biz, and the family association comes with some perks: free wine tasting, free wine knowledge and being introduced to some spectacular Paso Robles vineyards.
When I last visited Paso Robles, Ali, my Dad and I met at one of his client’s tasting rooms at Oso Libre
(translated from Spanish it means “free bear”). On 90 acres of prized land, Oso Libre is a family owned and operated vineyard, winery, and working ranch. Appropriately located on Vineyard Drive in the west side of Paso Robles, it is a beautiful property with rolling hills, California oaks, vines as far as the eye can see, and a tasting room filled warm, eclectic charm and modern style.
Oso Libre is one of the few wineries that is SIP certified, which means that all the vines and estates wines are Sustainability in Practice. It is a lifestyle that puts focus on conservation and energy efficiency.
Free range chickens, Black Angus and Doll Face Sheep work to tend the vine rows and graze the land. The family uses wind and solar energy to power 100% of the property. Pretty cool, right? Oh, and a little known fact, way in the back of the land sits a rock house that once was a hiding spot for Jesse James.
All of the above makes Oso Libre’s property pretty road trip worthy but lets not forget the amazing wines. I have had the pleasure of tasting quite a few of their wines and one of my favorite is the Carnal 2009
Carnal 2009, is a Rhone Blend. Rhone varietals originated in the South of France and are common in South Africa, Australia and California. This wine is a GSM. GSM is a term you need to know, it is a wine blended with Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre.
I love the tannic nature of a Cabernet and a fruity Pinot Noir, however the GSM is fast becoming one of my go to choices. It is a great sipping wine that pairs well with most foods. The Carnal, has a fruity nose of cherries and ollala berries and the palate has a great kick of spice. I would highly suggest this to those that are just getting their feet wet with tasting new wines outside the less tannic wine Merlot.
I imagine a late January evening, it would be a perfect end of the day, sitting by the fire, and letting those robust flavors burst in my mouth. It is very common for me to have a taste of wine and try to imagine what I would want to pair the wine with, Ali and I do this with cupcakes and wine. As far as a savory dish with this wine, I would suggest a rosemary crusted pork tenderloin that will enhance the earthy taste of the wine. And, do not even think of skipping dessert, how about a chocolate mousse with ripe cherries to compliment those fruity notes in the wine, and if I had any one of Ali’s cupcakes to pair this wine with I would definitely go for the Ollalla Berry Cupcake.
In addition, I suggest you also become a wine club member, members exclusively can order their Black Angus beef, which is raised on the ranch, the Black Angus is free ranged, grass fed, and hormone free.
And now for a little known fact about me, I rate wineries by the dogs. This silly information is true in the dozens and dozens of time I have been wine tasting. I give the winery a dog rating and Oso Libre has the highest rating in my heart. Every operating winery needs a dog. My husband might argue that wine and dogs are not that popular of a thing, someone needs to get him a copy of Wine Dogs
. Oso Libre has two of the cutest, sweetest pups around. I am equally excited to see them again, as I am to taste some new wines.
All images via Oso Libre