So though I'm pretty busy, I finally insisted that I had to stop my life, and go wine tasting at Herman Story this last Thursday. Now I had been told about Herman Story by an extremely knowledgeable wine taster that I had helped at Cypher Winery. He dubbed Russell P. From (the winemaker of Herman Story) as the next Justin Smith (you probably know that Justin Smith is the winemaker fro Saxum Wines. If you don't know that, what rock have you been under????) After tasting Russell's wines, I have to agree. Now I admit, I haven't had any of Justin's wines, but.....I do know that Russell's wines are the best I have ever tasted so I have a feeling that "the nest Justin Smith" title fits!
Russell named his winery after his Grandfather. I think it's so great - on the back of every bottle, Russell says this: "Herman Story was a rancher, logger, swapper, banker, philanthropist, a teller of tales, and my Grandfather." I love it.
So Boyfriend and I showed up at the new Herman Story tasting room which is located downtown Paso Robles. It is off the beaten track though - in more of the industrial area on Paso Robles street off of 13th. Luckily it is near Farm Supply so I can get feed for my chickens and then go wine tasting afterward - ahh, the joys of living in Paso :)
The industrial feel of the area is perfect for their tasting room. The tasting room is a perfect blend of feeling modern yet old, with rustic metal lining the front of the bar.
Vailia started us out with the "Tomboy" wine. Now this wine had caught my eye @ 15C because of the amazing label. The label shows the back pocket of faded blue jeans - it just works. Why do I feel I just entered the coolest place in the county?
Vailia talked about how they had an amazing marking team from San Luis that helped design all of the labels and yes, that team did an amazing job.
The Tomboy wine is 83% Viognier & 17% Roussanne. To be honest, they are just not my favorite grapes. That said, this wine was probably the best Rhone Wine I've ever had. It had an AMAZING mouthfeel - so rich, buttery & smooth with toasted notes - I could tell it was a an amazingly beautiful wine, even though it wouldn't be my personal first choice.
Then Vailia poured us "On the Road" - 100% Grenache. Grenache is my favorite varietal - and I'm in the process of compiling a blog comparing local grenaches. This one will definitely top that list. I immediately told Vailia, "This is the best Grenache I've ever had!" I can't even begin to describe the velvety mouthfeel and gorgeous fruit. I think Russell sums up the description best from the notes off of his website:
"Driving up and down the Central Coast throughout harvest has it’s perks, sure I now know more places to find legit burritos than I ever thought possible, but aside from that I get to spend countless hours mulling over the best way to blend my Grenache lots. The 2009 On the Road may be the best Grenache party I’ve ever curated. The wine smells a like a sensuous, low-lit evening: chocolate creme pie, spiced raspberry compote, cinnamon stick, leather and velour pillows. The palate carries the evening into the night and the next morning with dark coffee covered cherries, sweet tobacco, strawberry rhubarb waffles, blueberries and crisp bacon." Oh yeah, baby.....
Vailia then gave us the tour of the facility. It's pretty neat - this harvest, Russell will do the full harvest at this new location in downtown Paso. Vailia said they are the only folks that are doing the full crush & fermentation downtown - cool, huh? They even gained access to a second space out back where they're putting in a tiny sleeping area and shower. Vailia & Russell live in San Luis & during harvest it will be too exhausting to be driving back & forth - so they'll park it in Paso in a garage. They call it the crash pad :)
To mention, Russell doesn't have any of his own vineyards, but rather sources grapes from different vineyards in the area. He has a cool map on the back of the tasting sheet that shows the locations of the vineyards - a couple highlights are the Denner & James Berry Vineyards.
Here's a photo of their barrels, all in cold storage, of course:
And here's a photo of Cameron waxing the new GSM bottles for wine club.
The label was so cool - a huge flower with a hummingbird on it - I wanted the bottle just for the label! I asked Vailia about it, but she said that wine was only for wine club, and that they cannot accept anymore wine club members at this point as they need to make sure that they have enough wine - arrrgh! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can in some way, shape or form, get my hands on that GSM. "Will work harvest for wine" may somehow apply here.
So as we returned to the tasting room, Hank, Russell's dog HAD to join us! He thinks the tasting room bar is his domain :)
Back to the vino. Next up on the list was a Cote Rotie style Syrah, "White Hawk Vineyards Syrah" where they co-ferment Viognier with the Syrah to make a "bigger" Syrah. Really nice wine. Technically, the wine is sold out but they found a few bottles - so it was our lucky day! I really liked this wine.
But...here it is...Ta dah! The best wine of the day for me was the "Nuts & Bolts." It is 100% Syrah. And I am so embarrassed, but it is true: I teared up when I tasted this wine. It is absolutely amazing and probably the best wine that I have ever had. Literally. Truly. Mr. Russell From - I am your new #1 fan. Here's a photo of me in my newfound happiness in finding this wine:
This is what Russell says about this wine:
"Single vineyard wines are sort of like kids on the Ivy League track; you just have to make sure that you don’t do anything that throws them off and you’ll see them succeed. Blends like Nuts & Bolts are a bit more like me, it takes some well timed advice, a bit of hand wringing and a lot of love to see them come into their own; but when they do they always take the limelight. The 2009 Nuts & Bolts is the best testament to my parenting skills that I can imagine (ladies please don’t get any ideas.) A nose rich with red currant preserves, kirsch, nutmeg and a hint of coriander opens into a palate bursting with ripe plum, open pit bar-b-que and persistent, dusty tannins."
Now on the tasting notes, Russell says, "Questions, critiques, accolades & drunk dials can be directed to winemaker & proprietor Russell P. From." OK Russell - be on notice: when I drink my gorgeous "On the Road" Grenache or the fabulous "Nuts & Bolts" Syrah, expect a drunk dialing call from me with me in tears, saying how much I love your wines. I have a feeling this happens regularly & you're probably already expecting my call :)
I HEART Herman Story! And highly recommend that you check them out asap. Herman Story will definitely be added to my list of "What's Hot in Paso." Great job, Russell!
That's my Herman Story & I'm sticking to it!
1227 Paso Robles St
Paso Robles, CA