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CRAVE Wine.  CRAVE Food.  CRAVE Music.  CRAVE Paso. 

by Rachel Grossman

Expectations to be amazed by an evening of fine entertainment, tantalizing small bites, and palette pleasing wines, were exceeded by all accounts. Hundreds of young wine consumers converged on the sold out wine event of the season as Paso Robles headed 30 miles south to San Luis Obispo to show off its bounty of fine wines to a new generation of wine drinkers.

Upon entering the San Luis Obispo Veteran’s Hall the mostly under 30 year old guests were greeted by welcoming hosts and handed a glass of 2007 Matadore Rose – Tempranillo from Martin & Weyrich Winery to wet palettes for the vast array of food and wine available yet to come.

Past the entry and into the vast room, guests were overwhelmed by all of the exciting choices available.  There were nine wine bars for your wining and dining enjoyment that included wines paired with food from local restaurants, specialty stores and catering companies.  Each bar focused on one varietal wine from many different producers. Amazingly, the event included wines from over 60 Paso Robles Wineries to provide a mere glimpse of what the more than 200 Paso Robles Wineries have to offer.

Many began with the white wines and enjoyed them with the lobster ravioli topped with a sweet vermouth/tarragon cream sauce provided by Level 4 Restaurant and Lounge. The lobster paired best with the Flip Flop, a Chardonnay/Viognier blend from Red Soles Winery.  The next stop was the Rhone Whites bar, where Novo Restaurant and Lounge provided a mouth watering wild salmon with lemon grass mojito ceviche that paired perfectly with Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc from Tablas Creek Vineyard.

Many decided to take a break after the whites and before tackling the red wine bars, and headed to the comfortable lounge sofas and chairs to relax, chat with friends and take in the scene.  A DJ spun tunes as this millennium crowd swayed to the driving rhythms blasting through the hall.

CRAVE was full of energy and smiles and it was clear that this inaugural event was one that would definitely draw a crowd in the future and likely be the next must attend event for the twenty something crowd on the Central Coast. 

The red wine bars were plentiful with six bars to choose from.  At the Syrah bar Native Restaurant and Lounge was serving ahi tartare tacos with Napa Cabbage was a crowd favorite and paried well with a splash of Syrah from Halter Ranch Vineyard.

The final wine bar was the dessert bar were mouth watering Citrus Olive Oil Brownies prepared by Pasolivo Olive Oil were paired with six dessert wines.  The dessert wines including Late Harvest Cabernet France from Cass Winery, as well as fortified ports. 

Some ended the evening at the dessert wine bar and headed home, while others chose to board one of the complimentary Wine Wrangler Shuttles and continue the party downtown.  The provision of the shuttles, which took guests to three locations, illustrated the event’s commitment to responsible tasting and complimented the worry free, enjoyable nature of an event that is sure to be repeated in years to come.  

Rachel Grossman talks, tastes and writes about wine and wineries. As a profile writer for she can be found on weekends scribbling notes, sniffing, sampling and savoring wines at wineries throughout the Central Coast. By day she is a city planner and triathlete, by night a super action hero.

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