Castoro Cellars - Dam Fine Wine!

This month's wines from the Gold Series come to you from Castoro Cellars, one of the oldest wineries in Paso Robles. "Castoro", the Italian word for Beaver, happens to be the childhood nickname of winery owner Niels Udsen, who together with his wife Berit, has created quite a reputation for the winery both in Paso Robles and in the greater wine community.

The "Dam Fine Wine" production began in 1983 as a weekend project; Niels made the wine and Berit would travel to various locations selling it. By the mid 80's, however, the business became too large to handle as a part time endeavour.  Back in those days, the Udsen's didn't own a facility or vineyards of their own, so they relied on purchasing other's fruits and leasing facilities for their production.  Out of this own necessity, they saw an opportunity in California's Central Coast's wine industry. "Custom crush" services were nearly nonexistent at the time, but could become very valuable for the smaller wineries like themselves.  So, out of one Europress and one mobile bottling unit, their business of custom crushing began.

As time moved on and their reputation grew, the Udsens decided they needed a central location to handle both the business of custom crushing, and their own winery's production. So, in 1991 they purchased and renovated an abandoned winery building  conveniently located on 200 acres of land. Using his extensive knowledge of the area from years of purchasing fruits from around the Central Coast, Niels slowly purchased other vineyards as they became available, expanding  Castoro's realm.  From a backyard production of making wines for friends out of purchased grapes and leased facilities, Castoro has grown into what it is today: a 50,000 case production winery and 15,000-ton custom crush operation that uses its own equipment, buildings, and vineyards. What a journey!

Castoro Cellars is a progressive winery in that 75% of their vineyards are "Certified Organic" and  they use sustainable viticulture practices.  They specialize in Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, White Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc. They also produce, in smaller quantities available only at the tasting room, Cabernet Franc, Primitivo, Pinot Grigio, Gewurztraminer and Malbec.  Highly respected winemaker, Tom Myers, has been with Castoro since 1990, but has been in the area producing wine since the late 70's.

We decided to feature two exquisit wines this month from Castoro Cellars - the 2006 Zinfusion Zinfandel and 2007 Pinot Grigio. The Zinfusion is a heavily accoladed bottle, with 4 Gold Medals and 3 Silver Medalsfrom National Wine Competitions, and the legacy of this wine has garnered both Gold and Silver medals each year since the 2002 vintage. Aromas of berry creme brulee, spicy mole, barbecued meat and mint rest on the nose and give entry to a dry-yet-fruity medium body with toasted nut notes. Dusty tannins on the gentle finish yield good aging potential, yet it is dynamite now. The 2007 Pinot Grigio has already received 2 Silver Medals from international wine competitions and is one of the more popular wines in the tasting room.  It is only available in the tasting room or through Gold Medal Wine Club! The deliciously crisp apple, lemon and peach aromas and flavors will pair beautifully with brie cheese and seafood dishes and will hold its own against creamy sauces.

Visit the wine store to view and purchase these wines. ENJOY!