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Zinful Selections of the Central Coast – (Broken Earth Winery Zinfandel Festival 2014)



Picture this:
It’s 10AM on a Saturday, and the sun has already gotten in its morning workout and is beaming all over the place.
Its greeting is warm and breezy and says, “Time to come out and play.”

And on the agenda is a scenic drive through Wine Enthusiast’s 2013 Wine Region of the Year, Paso Robles, CA.
And this drive ends at Broken Earth Winery, complete with a beautiful stone barrel and tasting room, a sprawling green lawn reminiscent of a resort escape, staff that give off more a “family” feel, and an amazing festival taking place in the midst of it all.


Jen and Sarah, taking in the tasting room.

Welcome to the 2014 Zinfandel Festival (March 15, 2014).

I arrived with my friend Jen promptly at 11AM, and we made our way to the tasting room first.
We’re Central Coast newbies and are all about this “wine is the new coffee,” brunch-time tasting.


Our first sips were of the 2012 Grenache Blanc, which was awarded a Gold Medal and 92 points at the Central Coast wine competition.
Nose: Fruity, crisp, with notes of apple and melon.
Body: Lighter, complex, with bright fruit and distinguishable (yet delightful) taste of the alcohol…smooth finish.
*Can purchase for $20.

Next, we tried the 2010 Pinot Gris, which is made from grapes other than the ones they grow. (All of their wines’ grapes are Broken Earth-grown, besides the Pinots and Zins.) (Silver Medal)
Nose: Bright and light, with notes of pineapple and melon.
Body: Hints of a petrolly, almost plastic taste, slightly bitter finish.
*Others may experience notes of ripe red apples, honeydew, along with pineapple, mango and guava.
*Can purchase for $16.

On to the 2012 Diablo Blanco (aka “white devil” in Spanish) is a Viognier. Should be intriguing, right? And it was. But far from evil, I must say…
Nose: Fresh pear and distinct grape on the nose, like a younger grape though…light and sweet.
Body: Notes of bergamot and an herb, perhaps rosemary.
*Others may experience hints of apricot and peach, along with tangerine, papaya and guava.
*Can purchase for $18.

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On to my favorites…the red varieties. This flight began with the 2010 Quadrant Platinum, which is a Bordeaux-style blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Petite Syrah. (Double Gold Medal)
Nose: Mid-level fruit-forwardness, and just a bit dry.
Body: Complex, with notes of sandalwood or myrrh…so a bit smokey and toasty…with a warm and understated finish.
*Others may experience ripe fruit with a velvet texture.
*Can purchase for $16.

The Quadrant, in all of its unique and subtle boldness was a perfect precursor for the 2010 Pull CdR, a blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Grenache and a dash of Viognier. (Silver Medal)
Nose: Subtle, fruit-forward (but not too forward).
Body: Dry and smooth, just a hint of spice and with a velvety finish.
*Others may experience aromas of strawberries on the nose.
*Can purchase for $18.

Next, we sampled the 2010 Broken Earth Tempranillo. (Silver Medal)
Nose: Fruit-forward and a bit jammy, smokey.
Body: Toasty, rich and tart, with a smooth and subtly spicy finish. Warm.
*Others may experience subtle floral notes.
*Can PAIR WITH Italian or red sauces, smoked pork or sausage.
*Can purchase for $22.

Then, we were down to the Zin! We sipped the 2012 Broken Earth Zinfandel, which was a new release.
Nose: Smokey and dry, a bit of spice…nutmeg or cardamom perhaps.
Body: Full-bodied and complex, with a smokey/myrrh taste, a bit of a kick and edge to it, with a smooth finish.
*Others may experience black cherry and pepper.
*Can PAIR WITH pasta or grilled beef.
*Can purchase for $22.

As a follow-up to the earlier “white devil,” we next tempted our tastebuds with the 2012 Diablo Negro (black devil), a Petite Sirah.
Nose: Fruit-forward and a bit jammy.
Body: Very bold fruit presence, with plum and vanilla on the finish. Smooth, subtle & tart finish. Hint of strawberry on the tail end of it.
*Others may experience vanilla bean, roasted coffee and intense berries.
*Can purchase for $18.

Next, we had the privilege of trying the 2010 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, which was delicious.
Nose: Sweet and fruit-forward with strawberry and rhubarb.
Body: Smooth and compex, with a hint of celery seed, or parsley perhaps, with a subtle yet full, warm finish.
*Can purchase for $48.

Second-to-last, we also had the privilege of tasting the 2010 Reserve Petit Verdot, normally used exclusively as a blending grape as it can be too bold and spicy on its own. But the climatic conditions of that year, made this one an excellent stand-alone.
Nose: Evident alcohol scent and very dry.
Body: Dry, but warm and toasty like a campfire. It was smooth and warm to the finish.
*My tasting cohort, Jen, got goosebumps!
*Can purchase for $48.

Finally, we capped off our delightful tasting experience with the 2010 CV Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, which spent 13 months in one barrel, five months in another, both of which were new French oak barrels.
Nose: Dry, with a raisiny essence of fig.
Body: Medium-boldness, but dry with dark cherry, the taste of oak and a sugary finish/aftertaste.
*Others may experience dark fruit, vanilla and exotic spices.
*Can purchase for $59.

Tasting room staff was informative, pleasant, and all were having an amazing time, as the Steve Sturgis and Roadhouse band played outside until 1PM.

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Sunshine, Santa Maria Grills and Zinful Thinking

As Jen and I wandered outside, we were greeted with the perfectly-charred, smoky scent of the large Santa Maria grill in action.

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This was our first-ever experience with what was called a “sausage garden,” provided by J&R Meats, all-you-can-eat, with a delicious variety of mustards and breads.


Best of all, we were handed a generously-poured glass of Zinfandel with with to enjoy/pair our sausage selections.


So we filled our plates, perched on the babbling fountain in the sun, and enjoyed what—so far—was turning into a perfect day.

Other patrons were scattered at tables, lounging in chairs and cheery conversation in a sun-dappled and tree-speckled, green garden.

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It was lovely.

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Straight from the Barrel – Venturing Inside the Broken Earth

Next, self-proclaimed “cellar rat” David Sanchez, accompanied at points by Broken Earth Event Coordinator Michelle Angell, gave is the grand tour of the cavernous depths and high ceilings of the Broken Earth barrel room and offices.

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We saw the amazing place where they print their labels, where patrons can actually have their own custom labels, printed—which not a lot of people know!


So if you have a gift, wedding, business event, anything, you can print your own custom wine label. Amazing, right??

Look at this printer! They are the only winery in the U.S. to own this equipment, which is very cool.

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Once in the barrel room, we had the opportunity to taste straight from some of the barrels, which was pretty fun! David was incredibly informative, and made a really awesome time of it all for everyone.

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It eventually become hot as Hades outside, so the cool barrel room was a welcome relief of an environment, with tunes from the Back Bay Betty band wafting in through the open doors from outside.


When we headed home, we were slightly tanned, full and very content.

I would highly recommend this event to anyone passing through (or living near) the SLO/Paso-county area. Keep your radars up for next year by following their Facebook page for event updates!



Learn more about Broken Earth wines.

Follow Broken Earth on Facebook.


Event photos continued….

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