Walter Mencken 1 p.m., May 1
Vacationing Turns Recon in Paso Robles
This weekend I spent the weekend in Paso Robles, touring wineries and tasting vino under the guidance of Ryan Render.
A winemaker from the region, he concluded our whirlwind day of Central Coast vino indulgence by sharing his personal creations with me. Sold under the Rendarrio Vineyards and The Town Crier labels, I found them to be deep, complex, and flavorful. So much so that I did a second sampling the following day to make sure my opinion hadn't been swayed by the multiple doses of syrah, grenache, and mourvedre that preceded my RV experience. Even a day later, they were still exceptional examples of what Paso's lovely soil and climate are capable of producing in the right hands.
On the way home, I received a surprising email informing me that a San Diego restaurant, Amaya at The Grand Del Mar, would be holding a meet-the-winemaker event on Saturday, November 5. The guest du jour? Ryan Render. I immediately got on the horn and asked for a menu, eager to share firsthand knowledge of this solid but little-known wine operation.
The menu for Saturday's event will include Maine lobster veloute with dungeoness crab, which should find harmony with Render's serrano-pepper nosed Town Crier Sauvignon Blanc. Red wine-braised beef cheeks accented by winter truffles will follow and provide an earthy complexity to support the multi-layered soil and spice profile of one of the finest Paso cabs I've come across. Last up is a Rendarrio Syrah (he makes very different warm and cold climate versions, though I'm not sure which is included here) served with a tandem of offerings incorporating the rich French cow's milk cheese, fourme d'ambert. Judging from personal experience and pairing knowledge, this should make for an optimal night of discovery.
Unlike traditional wine dinners, there is no official start time. Diners may arrive any time after 5:30 p.m. and select the special menu or order from Amaya's everyday menu.
Reservations, 858-314-2727. Amaya is located at 5300 Grand Del Mar Court.
Expect a much more duded up version of Rendarrio Vineyards winemaker Ryan Render when he visits Amaya at The Grand Del Mar this Saturday.