From the good folks at Clayhouse in Paso Robles came this sampler via TastingRoom.com. I've gone through many of their tiny bottles, and in honor of this tasting, I made a batch of "Munchkin Burgers" with a nod toward Julia's love of The Wizard of Oz.
Small beef burgers topped with homemade red onion marmalade, smoked cheddar, mesclun greens, sliced Roma tomatoes, and a variety of crazy mustards, because I have at least half a dozen in the icebox at any given time. And of course, a nice cold Claussen pickle to accompany the burgers and fries.
A brief note on ingredients... While I was a cheddar fiend as a child, enjoying all levels of mild/medium/sharp/etc., covered in wax or not, I really didn't like smoked cheddar. I'd eat it with the same enthusiasm I employed while chomping down the questionable abalone dish at Dah Wah near Rhodes. Interesting but not something I'm going to seek out often. Yet as with Scotch and a few other things, I've discovered that smoked cheddar is amazing, even if it refuses to melt and is difficult to separate into single slices.
The meal was delicious, and fun to try with the variety of wines. I've had plenty of Clayhouse wines in the past, and have liked the various Paso Robles blends that made their way to my glass. And for the record, these are all Paso Robles wines...
2009 Clayhouse Estate Cuvée Blanc
40% Grenache Blanc, 40% Roussanne, 20% Viognier
672 bottles made
$23, 13% abv.
Light, mild, slight apricot aroma, low acidity, mellow mouthfeel.
2008 Clayhouse Estate Malbec
86% Malbec, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot
672 bottles made
$35, 14% abv.
Plum and spice with low tannins and a long, delightful finish.
2006 Clayhouse Hillside Cuvée
56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Petit Verdot, 7% Malbec
3054 bottles made
$33, 14.5% abv.
Black cherry and pepper with a touch of green bell pepper.
2006 Clayhouse Estate Cuvée
Rhone blend with Petite Sirah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah
3960 bottles made
$30, 14.6% abv.
Plum and licorice, mellow and mild, soft tannins, full-bodied.
2007 Clayhouse Show Pony Petite Sirah
98.5% Petite Sirah, 1.5% Syrah
1620 bottles made
$40, 14% abv.
Nice black cherry and licorice, touch of chocolate and leather, soft tannins and delicious.
2007 Clayhouse Estate Petite Sirah
15000 bottles made
$23, 14% abv.
Nutty, earthy, rich black cherry. Great example of the Petite Sirah grape.
Note: These wines were received as samples.