Tag Archives: D’Anbino

Paso Robles Grand Tasting in Los Angeles

Paso Robles is my favorite area in California to go wine tasting so I was excited to attend this year’s Paso Robles Grand Tasting Event, held this week at the spectacular Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles. Paso Robles is home to more than 200 wineries and over 26,000 acres are planted to vine, with special focus on Rhone varietals and Zinfandel. About 40 of those wineries participated in this event, and I was anxious to try their new releases.

Upon entering the historic Vibiana, I am always struck by the beauty of this  Baroque style church built in 1876. The ceilings soar and light streams in through the upper windows. And on this day the tables were lined up with some of Paso’s finest.

Interior of the Vibiana in Los Angeles

Interior of the Vibiana in Los Angeles

My first encounter was with old friends, David and Amparo of Minassian-Young Vineyards. I met them a number of years ago in Paso when they were pouring at a special event held on the gorgeous grounds of Carmody McKnight. I have always enjoyed their white Rhone blend, (64%Grenache Blanc, 19% Viognier, 17% Marsanne) and the 09 didn’t disappoint. Redolent of apples it has plenty of crisp acidity. A unique offering from MY is their 08 Black Saint Peter, a blend of 45% Zinfandel, 17% Petite Sirah, 16% tannat, 11% Cinsault, 6% Carignan and 3% Mourvedre. Big fruit and full body on this one. Their 07 GSMV, (GSM with 3% Viognier thrown in to brighten the blend), offers a long spicy finish. Nice.

David and Amparo of Minassian-Young Vineyards with Eve Bushman

David and Amparo of Minassian-Young Vineyards with Eve Bushman

Aram Deirmenjian of Kiamie Wine Cellars was there and it was great to re-connect with him. He had first poured me his White Kuvee in 08 and I’ve been hooked ever since. On this day he was premiering his 09 vintage of this Rhone blend. Steve Glossner, the winemaker, describes this blend as full-bodied on the palate with ripe casaba melon and lemon meringue richness. Scents of honeysuckle, lemongrass and persistent minerality. I describe it as “yummy”!

Silver Horse Winery, represented by owner Steve Kroener, has been producing some fabulous wines at their gorgeous winery in Pleasant Valley since 2005. Standouts on this day were the 08 Estate Petit Verdot (100%), 08 Estate Tomori, (60% Syrah/40% Cabernet Sauvignon), and the 08 “The Main Thing”, (45% Malbec/25% Cabernet Sauvignon/15% Merlot/15% Petite Sirah).

A new one for me was Thacher Winery and I really enjoyed meeting owner/winemaker Sherman Thacher and hearing his story. He started as a brew master in Santa Cruz, but along with his bride, fell in love with Paso Robles and eventually relocated there to make wine and enjoy a lifestyle they thought was perfect for raising a family. Couldn’t agree more! Their first vintage at this location was in 2008 and his 08 Triumvirate Reserve Zinfandel was named “Red” Sweepstakes Winner at the 2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. He had the 07 Triumvirate to taste that day which was silky with good acidity, and a bit of cinnamon. Also really liked the 09 Viognier and the 07 Syrah. The syrah fruit is from the Halter Ranch and Alta Colina Vineyards and offered a wine that was spicy, balanced and elegant.

And it just wouldn’t be a Paso tasting without visiting with Jeff and Karin from Roxo Port Cellars. Roxo offers ultra-premium Port style wines made in the metodo Portugues style. These are not the super sweet syrupy wines you may have always associated with Port. These are carefully crafted from hand-picked high quality grapes and include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Negrette, Barbara, Zinfandel, as well as the traditional Portuguese  varietals Touriga Nacional, Souzao, Tinta Roriz and Bastardo. Many of their blends pair beautifully with foods other than chocolate, although the Negrette with chocolate is fabulous! Next time you visit Paso, think outside the Port box and stop into Meritage Tasting Lounge downtown where you can try these delicious and unusual wines.

Two hours just isn’t enough time to taste all Paso has to offer, and this event left me yearning for a good long visit to El Paso de Robles. Good people, beautiful vistas and wonderful wine. And there are now so many great places to eat and beautiful hotels and B & B’s to complete the perfect wine country getaway.


Last night we enjoyed a 2004 Cabernet from D’Anbino Vineyards and Cellars. It paired beautifully with beef tenderloin with an herb/mustard crust and leek and wild mushroom bread pudding. This wine had soft tannins, was full bodied and well balanced, and all around a delicious Friday night selection. Cheers!

Carmine Rubino of D'Anbino Vineyards and Cellars

Carmine Rubino of D'Anbino Vineyards and Cellars

Wine and Music – the Perfect Pairing

by Xochitl Maiman – November 30, 2009

The hills of Paso Robles are alive with the sound of music.  It seems everywhere you turn there is either a musician orchestrating a wine making venture or a winery treating their patrons to the talents of  local musicians. Jazz, country,  rock and roll and even classical all have a place in this sprawling wine making community.

Just this last weekend Paso Robles played host to the Paderewski Festival with concerts and competitions honoring Ignacy Paderewski, virtuoso pianist and composer from 1879-1941. He purchased land in the Paso Robles area in 1914 and for the next 25 years planted almond trees, fruit orchards and Zinfandel grapes. Friday night  Cass Winery hosted a classical piano recital of Paderewski’s works performed by William Koseluk  and on Saturday welcomed their club members to a “pick-up” party featuring the sounds of “Funk 30”, a local band playing funk, R&B, blues and rock.

Paso Robles music - Funk 30 playing at Cass Winery pick-up party

Funk 30 playing at Cass Winery pick-up party

Since music has been an integral part of my life, and since I’m always anxious to try new wines, I set out to visit a couple of wineries where music and wine are the perfect pairing.  My first stop was at the D’Anbino Vineyards and Cellars tasting room located in the historic train depot in downtown Paso Robles.

D'Anbino Tasting room signage

There we were warmly greeted by Joannne Rubino, one of the owners of the winery. Her husband, Carmine Rubino, and his partner John D’Andrea both have had long successful careers in the music recording industry, film and television. The walls of the tasting room, which looks more like a very hip nightclub, are lined with photos and awards including a couple of gleaming Emmys in a glass case.  Career memorabilia also adds character to the space, including a Bay Watch pinball machine and a Roman helmet given to Carmine from HBO as a gift for his work on the series “Rome”.  Most of the family are musicians and when everyone’s schedules line up just right, D’Anbino fans are treated to concerts in the tasting room often paired with their wines and a generous helping of Italian comfort food.

Joanne Rubino

Joanne Rubino at D’Anbino tasting bar

Paying homage to the family’s musical background the bar is embedded with a half  dozen piano soundboards, genius idea of Mike Rubino, a composer working in the Los Angeles area. The large space, comfortably appointed with couches, and some high rise cocktail tables and chairs, is perfect to accommodate the crowds that gather when the family band plays or when they bring in a guest artist. (Check the Events page for their upcoming dates.)


Enjoy live music at the D'Anbino Vineyard and Cellars Tasting Room - Paso Robles

The lineup of wines all feature the D’Anbino family band depicted in a colorful watercolor image on the label. We tried them all, but a few were standouts for us. The Syrah Rose had plenty of rich color to it and good body to go with. Full flavored, this is one of the nicest roses I’ve had in a long time. A quartet of varietals make up Quadraphonic, a juicy wine with Cabernet Sauvignon as the lead grape, accompanied by Merlot, Cabernet Franc and earthy rich Syrah. Wonderful layered finish. Their 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, a bronze medal winner, is fruit forward with smoke in the mid-palate and vanilla in the long finish.  For those of you whose favorite wine pairing is port and chocolate, their Cabernet Port is a must. (Pun intended) It is not syrupy or over sweet and is delicious all by itself. Pair it with a chocolate mousse or just some good dark chocolate and you have the perfect ending to a special occasion or holiday meal.  Speaking of entertaining – their Cabernet Wine Jelly is delicious with a little goat cheese on a salty cracker. What wine would you pair with some cool jazz?

What would you pair with “roots and blues”? Something with a little mojo perhaps? Domaine Degher is offering both. Denis Degher started writing songs as a teenager. Attaining  recording and engineering skills was the natural progression and brought Denis  successful careers in the music and recording industries. For the last decade he has been recording under the Sleepy Guitar Johnson moniker, and it is under that name that he performs with his trademark red Gibson in and around Paso Robles  when he is not tending to his new-ish winery located in the north-western part of the area.  Denis, after being bit by the wine-making bug and  with a growing appreciation for wine, decided to purchase land in the rolling hills of Paso Robles to plant his small organic vineyard. There, with his young black lab, Coltrane, Denis  has created a horticultural symphony with the vineyard section accompanied by a colorful ensemble of trees, shrubs, herbs and flowers. To walk the estate with Denis is to truly understand this man’s commitment to heartfelt and intelligent farming.

Denis Degher

Denis Degher


Domaine Degher


By day, Denis is a gracious host, proudly pouring a tasting of his small but impressive lineup of red wines. His 2005 Mojo is my favorite – a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Sangiovese.This is a lush wine with soft tannins and a wonderful long finish. We also took home a couple bottles of the 2007 Cabernet. Although a little young right now, the beautiful fruit and tannins will clearly meld into a fabulous wine with a little cellaring.


That night, Denis performed at Vinoteca, a cozy popular wine bar located right across from the park in downtown Paso. We met up with some old friends and made some new ones as we sipped one last wine for the evening and listened to the sounds of  Sleepy Guitar Johnson. With roots firmly planted in music and terroir, Mojo is the perfect pairing of wine and music.

Update: April 15, 2016

Domaine Degher Wines  has recently opened a new tasting room in Downtown Paso Robles at 827 13th St.

Vinoteca Wine Bar is no longer open

Music - Denis Degher at Vinoteca, Paso Robles

Denis Degher at Vinoteca Wine Bar, Paso Robles

Friends share a nightcap at Vinoteca Wine Bar

Friends share a nightcap at Vinoteca Wine Bar

On the other side of the park from Vinoteca is the tasting room for Vihuela Winery. Vihuela, (also the name for a Spanish Renaissance guitar), offers up some big spicy red wines, one of which is named after the hot and spicy musical group, Incendio. Vihuela’s association with the group inspired this firery Syrah based blend and recommends enjoying this wine with the Incendio cd, a blend of the  exciting sounds of 3 spanish guitars. Incendio wine and Incendio the group – whip up some tapas and it’s a party. Vihuela shares digs with Vivant Fine Cheese, so it’s easy to find all the gourmet goodies needed for an impromptu gathering of friends. Their location also has an inviting patio where patrons can enjoy a glass of wine and cheese plate along with live music, often featured on the weekends.

Incendio Red Wine

Cheese selection from Vivant

Cheese selection from Vivant

Music, wine and friends – it’s all there in Paso Robles!

I’ll Drink to That!