The latest happenings that we'd like to share with you!
California’s Central Coast has been known as California’s other wine country since the actor Paul Giamatti went on a road trip and swore off merlot in “Sideways” 16 years ago. But while Paso Robles in particular is undoubtedly an accomplished wine terroir with more than 300 wineries (L’Aventure and Adelaida wineries recently expanded), to assume it is a string of tasting rooms would be to underestimate it. Last fall, the artist Bruce Munro created “Field of Light,” a show of 60,000 illuminated glass orbs spread over 15 acres that has turned Paso Robles into an art destination (until June 30, when the show ends). Meanwhile, the city has turned the good life — of wine, olive oil, cheese and boutique hotels — into an identity. The star hotel here, Hotel Cheval, is adding 20 guest rooms, a luxury spa and an infinity pool in 2020, while the new Hotel Piccolo has brought exposed brick walls, a rooftop bar and a hipster crowd to downtown. Two blocks away, chef Julien Asseo (of Guy Savoy in Las Vegas) just opened Les Petites Canailles, a buzzy new farm-to-table restaurant, in November. And Paso Market Walk, a 16,000-square-foot marketplace, is expected to open this year — bringing a bakery, microbrewery, gelateria, vegan cheese shop, olive oil tasting room, coffee roasters and artisanal, local specialties to Paso.
Midnight's explanation for why we have started to transition to screw caps:
First of all, when screw caps were first developed, they were indeed designed to be an alternative closure for white, ready to drink wines. As they became more accepted in the market, companies started to research the possibility of a screw cap designed for longer term aging. These have been tested extensively by major, high end producers, perhaps most famously Plumpjack Winery up north.
As the testing results came back over the years, tweaks have been made and the product improved. Currently, screw cap producers offer a wide line of options with the range of zero air exchange to different porosities to allow really any air exchanges the winemaker desires. As someone who personally likes to age wines, and produce ageable wines, I have waited for the dust to settle on a lot of these studies before making the jump.
Every time I open a bottle of corked wine, I am sad that this could have been avoided, simply by using a screw cap closure. I am assuming you are familiar with cork taint and the fact that it is a naturally occurring compound that taints a wine in as little as 5 parts per TRILLION! This imparts a "cork taint" that is most commonly described as a musty, bandaid type flavor and aroma and masks the true flavors of a wine. The current industry acceptable standard for this taint is 7%, which means that it is acceptable to cork producers and wineries that use cork closures to have 7% failure in their product, which is almost a full bottle per case!
As I am still sensitive to people's perception of a screw cap closure, I have decided to keep our reserve red wines under corks for the time being. However, I have decided to make the move to a screw cap closure on the rest of the wines. Please understand that I make wines to last, so thusly have chosen a screw cap that has the exact air exchange as a high end cork closure, just without the possibility of any cork taint.
Nothing matters to me more than my customers, especially wine club members, being happy with my wines, so I am always looking for ways to ensure that. All of our wines are being made with ageability in mind and I am just trying to assure that every bottle tastes the same and will improve in the bottle for years to come!
If you ever have any further questions about anything at all, please feel free to email or call me directly!
- Rich Hartenberger
Midnight Cellars 2018 Grenache Blanc “Andromeda” – $34
This Rhone-style white wine offers a crisp, fresh nose with bright citrus and inviting tropical notes. On the palate, lemon zest layers among ripe Anjou pears and grapefruit frame a refreshing finish.
Midnight Cellars 2015 Grenache ‘Moonbeam’ – $49
This grenache displays beautiful layers of toasted sweet tobacco, blackberries, and currant on the nose. Rich and luscious flavors of fresh black fruit and dark chocolate burst on the palate with hints of clove and vanilla that complement the medium tannin finish.
Midnight Cellars 2018 Luna Rosé – $21
This rosé has a fruity flavor of strawberries with hint of peach blossoms. It has a crisp and dry finish. It’s a great wine to start with appetizers or toast to your holiday meal. Enjoy it with turkey, pork tenderloin, and even salmon.