The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2012

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Page 35 of 128

Gateway to Wine Country SLO Vintners President Mike Sinor, 2012 SLO County Wine Awards "Winemaker of the Year." Developer Rick Loughead, owner of the Dolphin Bay Resort (www. and the award- winning Lido restaurant, was one of the pioneer visionaries. "We needed a resort and restaurant to complement our developing wine country—some- thing for both wine and food enthu- siasts to enjoy," says Loughead. "We needed to appeal to discriminating tastes and provide a more indulgent, exclusive experience. While the north is more famous and has a higher profile, we offer a destination resort right next to our dynamic wine region, Edna Valley, and we make an effort to keep everything on a very personal level." Thanks to the foresight of the Pismo Beach Conference & Visitors Bureau and the advent of its Wine & Waves Campaign, the town and its lodging industry are now attracting visitors seeking new California wines. Their newly redesigned website,, allows travelers to plan their trip and book their stay as well as navigate the wine country. While resorts like Dolphin Bay cater to those seeking an upscale wine country resort expe- rience, many other Pismo Beach lodgings offer enjoyable family vacation options at very good value. Pismo Beach's downtown boasts four impressive wine tasting rooms, including the award-winning Sans Liege Winery. "This city is electrified with passionate wine producers, farm-to-table culinary artists, wine festivals and accommodating hoteliers," says Peter Candela, Director of Pismo's Chamber of Commerce. "There's truly something for everyone here." S taying in Pismo Beach to explore the local wine region or to attend a wine festival gives visitors endless choices. Recently, the San Luis Obispo Vintners Association ( held its Roll Out the Barrels, an annual sum- mer festival where wineries pro- vide visitors weekend passports. The vintners showcased their carefully crafted wines, such as Pinot Noirs from Laetitia and Chamisal with perfectly balanced Old World earthiness and New World forward fruit, and Tolosa's tropical, buttery Chardonnays. SLO Vintners President Mike Sinor poured his Sinor–LaVallee Pinot Noir with rose petal and cinnamon in the nose; Clesi seduced the crowd with intoxi- catingly floral Malvasia Bianca; and Claiborne & Churchill con- verted any skeptics with the rich, ripe fruit of their dry Riesling. Tolosa Winery's private tasting room overlooking Edna Valley. When asked what makes this the new frontier, Heather Muran, Director of the San Luis Obispo Vintners Association, replied, "It's the people and commitment of our artisan winemakers that handcraft our wines. Our winemakers are starting to plant new varieties—German, Spanish, Italian. Our region's Mediterranean climate lends itself to growing quality grapes. The vicinity of the ocean makes it unique, allowing different varietals to thrive." Sans Liege winemaker Curt Schalchlin with Pismo Beach's Wine & Waves spokesperson, Sommelier Bonnie Graves, and Kara Schalchlin in the Pismo Beach Tasting Room. Since these vineyards are only five miles off the coast, it is said that Pismo Beach is where the "Wine Meets the Waves." It's also where expertly managed vineyards— nourished by volcanic soil, blanketed by soft morning ocean mist, nurtured by mid- day sun—roll down to meet the majestic Pacific, giving way to a world-class wine region waiting to be explored. And the town of Pismo Beach welcomes visitors to stay for a Classic California Wine Country getaway. august 2012 / the tasting panel / 35

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