Sipping a Cambria Moonstone Cellars Tempranillo

TalesoftheCork wine reviews

moonstone1Visitors planning a trip to Cambria, California, often stroll along the wooden boardwalk, go whale and elephant seal watching, visit Hearst Castle and dine at one of Moonstone’s beach-side restaurants.

But in downtown Cambria, a small boutique winery and wine shop should be on your list, besides window shopping. Pencil in Moonstone Cellars.

While we don’t get over to Cambria very often, a leisurely walk in the picturesque town and nearby ocean boardwalk, visitors will find boutique and antique shops, mom and pop cafes and restaurants and the local wine shop and winery: Moonstone Cellars.

Located in West Village on the corner of Main and Sheffield streets, Todd Clift and his dad, Muril, opened the family-owned winery and began producing wines since 1998. Todd proudly creates his wines made from Central Coast grapes.  Moonstone Cellars offers a wide variety of varietals. From a lighter style Grenache to a full bodied Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, or a crisp Sauvignon Blanc to a dry Riesling, there is bound to be something for everyone.

While I did not travel this week, I sat down to post with a glass of Moonstone Cellars 2009 Paso Robles Tempranillo beside me. The Spanish varietal and Central Coast grown was splendid. With notes of cherry, ripe plum, cracked pepper, spice and a rivulet of vanilla flowing through it, the medium bodied wine and tannins lingered.

moonstonetempranilloWhile I sipping the wine, purposely on #TempranilloDay, I soon wanted an afternoon snack to pair it with. The point of this is I did not plan this particular pairing or ‘event’ but rather just quickly looked what we had in the fridge. We had some Asiago, Manchego and a blue Camembert, olives, salami, grapes and pistachios in the pantry. I quickly put them on a black serving dish beside me and I continued writing.

While most of these appetizers went well with the Tempranillo, I hold and share a common wine lovers phase often: “Drink what you like.” For me these cheeses pair well with the terroir and flavors of the wine.

My point is simple: Take the time to explore the wineries in the places you visit and taste the wines they are pouring in the tasting rooms. And while you may not like all you try, purchase a bottle or three of the variety you like to take home. Then later at home, if you’ve kept the notes you were given or wrote down your own, open the bottle and imagine what food will go well with it. And if you need help, follow a blogger, Instagramer or Twitter feed of someone you trust and ask or email them. You might even follow this feed or keep TalesoftheCork a favorite on your device.

The Moonstone Cellars Tempranillo will also go very well with beef stew or a backyard BBQ. The wine will go very well with tacos, burritos, pizza, polenta dishes. Heck, I could have even served it with our lasagna the other night. Take the time to try wine with the foods you like. Some will go better than others.

It’s your table. You create the food. Own the right to serve what you like.

moonstonenew2bldg800
Moonstone Cellars is moving from its location on Main Street. Go around their former location to a building just behind them on 812 Cornwall Street in Cambria (as pictured).

Moonstone Cellars can be found at 812 Cornwall Street in Cambria’s West Village. The staff welcomes walk-ins daily between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Walk right up to their U-shaped bar and ask Todd for a tasting, which cost $8 for 6 wine pours of varying varietals. Moonstone Cellars wines are also available online or call them at 805.927.9466 or 877.517.9463. Or just send them a note via their contact page. Moonstone Cellars also belongs to the Pacific Coast Wine Trail whose organization stretches from Morro Bay up to San Simeon.

Be sure to read the previous TalesoftheCork blog post: “Rigatoni à la Bordelaise with Bordeaux.” And if winemakers, wineries or restaurants are interested in a TalesoftheCork wine and/or food review on the blog, InstagramTwitter and/or Facebook, please send us a request via email: talesofthecork@gmail.com or use DM on social media. TalesoftheCork also offers social media seminars for businesses.

Simple Caprese lunch with Emmolo SauvBlanc

Young winemaker Jenny Wagner continues the family tradition established by her great-grandfather as she creates Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot.

TalesoftheCork wine reviews

Whether busyness takes you away from what it is otherwise important or too much has already gone under the bridge, take a moment for yourself soon. A 30 to 60-minute vacation from all that is distracting you is necessary to regroup, rebuild and refocus.

Today that is exactly what I needed and created a simple side dish that became a Caprese salad lunch and glass of Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc with my wife after a busy week for both of us. I needed a ‘place’ to forget about a couple of issues and took advantage of a sunny moment in the kitchen.

Fresh home grown tomatoes were on the counter and a quick trip to a market served to add a couple of whole milk fresh Mozzarella balls and some lush, sweet smelling basil. In this case, Trader Joe’s a half mile away had me in and out of the store fast.

We love the aroma of fresh cut tomatoes and basil and the addition of lush Mozzarella coated with extra virgin olive oil and a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar as hits the spot like no other. A little cracked pepper sprinkled over the plate adds a final layer of spice to an amazing lunch.

Today’s choice to whet our whistle is a small glass of Emmolo 2014 Sauvignon Blanc from Rutherford in the Napa Valley. Pour yourself a small glass of EmmoloWines 2014 #NapaValley Sauvignon Blanc to sip and appreciate what Jenny Wagner is creating, adding to her great-grandfather’s winemaking tradition.

With just a quick stop at the market, a caprese salad can be created in just minutes.
With just a quick stop at the market, a Caprese salad can be created in just minutes.

According to their Wagner Family website, “the Emmolos have a long history in Napa Valley with Jenny’s great-grandfather, Salvatore Emmolo, starting the family’s grapevine rootstock nursery in St. Helena in 1923. Her grandfather, Frank Emmolo, not only managed the nursery, but also grew Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot on their family property.”

The Emmolo #SauvBlanc is dry, refreshing, crisp and tart. The light wine is smooth and balanced with a hint of peach & Kiwi with melon and and lime notes. Love the minerality and herbal overtones and allow the pear and and citrus aromas tempt you. This is a winner!

We’ve enjoyed this wine with oysters and scallops in the past but would also love it with shellfish pasta and chicken salads. While their website is not yet complete, check out EmmoloWines soon. #TalesoftheCork loving their simple elegance.

Wagner Family Wines and Emmolo Wines can be tasted and purchased at Camus Vineyards, 8700 Conn Creek Rd., Rutherford, CA 94573. However, it is not always on the tasting flight menu. Call ahead at 1.707.967.3010 to check for availability. If a trip to Napa is not in the works, try their Wagner Family Wines finder.

Be sure to read the previous TalesoftheCork blog post: Pre travel checklist for overseas visit. And if winemakers, wineries or restaurants are interested in a TalesoftheCork wine and/or food review on the blog, InstagramTwitter and/or Facebook, please send us a request via email: talesofthecork@gmail.com or use DM on social media. TalesoftheCork also offers social media seminars for businesses.

Grocery list for Caprese salad:

One ball from an 8-ounce container of Whole Milk Fresh Mozzarella in lightly salted water

One container of fresh leaf basil or one sprig of basil

Two vine ripe whole tomatoes

Cracked pepper to taste

Olive oil and Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena to taste

Talesofthecork to add grass roots wine reviews

While the Internet is crowded with wine buying and tasting options, I consistently find myself experimenting with wines from Washington, Oregon, California, France and Italy. So while the phrase ‘drink what you like’ is still appropriate, for most it can be an expensive proposition to find bottles that fit personal taste, style, pairing and cost.

Fortunately, my travels to each of those wine regions have provided me the opportunity to do just that. The study of wine during my free time has gifted me the chance to talk to winemakers, chefs, wine lovers and casual drinkers for the last seven years. And while I did not officially document many of my travels or discussions, Talesofthecork.com was born out of those experiences.

So with those humble beginnings, I now offer my take on wines. My grass roots approach is not only for the once a week consumer but for those like me who are on the road to develop their palate.

Greg Stobbe is TalesoftheCork and is adding wine reviews to his stories on wine, food and travel.
Greg Stobbe is TalesoftheCork and is adding wine reviews to his stories on wine, food and travel.

While I follow and enjoy contemporary wine reviewers like Robert Parker and James Suckling, those require passwords and yearly fee. I also like what Jon Thorsen, the Reverse Wine Snob, is doing with wines under $20. I do not want to compete with his findings.

My vision is to try, taste and review what I either stumble across in the four regions of my travel or am sent to review and pass along my findings. The cost is not my primary consideration. I am looking for great wines across the spectrum. The goal is to share comments knowing that not all wines are for every body but find a variety suitable for all kinds of wine enthusiasts.

Of course I will give recommendations and how to obtain a wine or, in some cases, skip it. Sometimes the cost is worth the price for special occasions like an anniversary, birthday, or holiday meal. And some wines are perfect for poolside but not necessarily at the dinner table.

Another exciting part of my journey will be sharing best buys and value picks that are only available a short time via web sites or through wineries.

Of course I will continue to visit and chat with those involved in the food, wine and travel industry and post my tales, but my hope is to provide ‘tweener’ comments, tips and taste recommendations from my conversations and travels. After my winter illness, I am all the more excited to get back to a regular pace at Talesofthecork.com.

So return often to my blog, and you might check out my Twitter TalesoftheCork (@talesofthecork) and Instagram (talesofthecork) daily postings. I also would covet those who would suggest a wine, restaurant, chef or hotel to visit. Feel free to contact me through social media or via email at talesofthecork@gmail.com.

My first wine review will be the 2006 Piccini Villa Cortile Riserva DOCG Brunello from Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy. Look for the first post by June 26, 2013.

Those wishing to view my latest article, read Matties Wood-Fired Pizza set to grow business.