Trelio Food & Wine

Brown Bag Dinner Winners – Cabernet Sauvignon

Posted in Uncategorized by cshack21 on October 5, 2011

The results from last nights Brown Bag Dinner

1st Place – Chappellet, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2003 – Cellar Selection (55 pts)

2nd Place – Still Waters, Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Barrel Select, Paso Robles, 2005 (45 pts)

3rd Place – Chappellet, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2006 (38 pts)

4th Place – Sextant, Kamal, Paso Robles, 2006 (less than 50% Cabernet) (38 pts)

5th Place – Ovid, Experiment No. M936, Napa Valley, 2006 (36 pts)

6th Place – Darioush, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2007 (34 pts)

7th Place – Regusci, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2007 (34 pts)

8th Place – Merryvale, Cabernet Sauvignon, Saint Helena Estate, Napa Valley, 2006 (34 pts)

9th Place – Paul Hobbs, Cabernet Sauvignon, Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard, 2004 (33 pts)

10th Place – Gallica, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2008 (29 pts)

11th Place – Robert Pecota, Kara’s Vineyard, Napa Valley, 2000 (27 pts)

12th Place – Caymus, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2009 (24 pts)

13th Place – Turnbull, Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Grown, Napa Valley, 2008 (24 pts)

14th Place – Kirkland, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2008 (23 pts)

15th Place –  Cousino-Macul, Antiguas Reserve, Maipo Valley, 2008 (22 pts)


An interesting showing from looking at all of the score sheets with the 24 critics showing a divide with only the Chappellet 2006 scoring big across the attendees.  A total of 66 pts were possible.

Notable Publication Scores:

Chappellet, 2006 – WS 94, RP93

Darioush, 2007 – RP 93

Merryvale, Saint Helena Estate, 2006 – RP 88

Paul Hobbs, To Kalon, 2004 – RP 95+

Gallica, 2008 – RP 94+, WS 94



Center of Effort, New Wines from Winemakers Nathan Carlson and Mike Sinor…

Posted in Wine by cshack21 on December 3, 2010

Center of Effort, Pinot Noir

What fun it is to have a restaurant and get to really know a particular wine over a few weeks.  The past two weeks I have spent a lot of time with Edna Valley newcomer Center of Effort, Pinot Noir, 2008 from winemakers Mike Sinor and Nathan Carlson.

I have known Mike Sinor for a little while as we having hosted a few dinners at Trelio for both his Sinor LaVallee label and daytime work at Ancient Peaks Winery.  I have been a fan of his work since his breakout at Domain Alfred back in the early 2000’s.  Obviously a gifted Pinot Noir craftsman, as well as an all around good guy.   In addition having heard good of Nathan Carlson (but only recently meeting him), I went out on a limb and purchased all of the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from this new project that my distributor would allow.

At first taste I knew we made a good decision with these wines. At its first showing here at Trelio during our bi-annual Massive Wine Tasting, Center of Effort performed, the Chardonnay moved a case or so and the Pinot was solid in its price range showing very well next to wines from Kosta Browne, B. Kosuge, Parr Selection, Samsara, Drew and Ketcham Estate.  Second showing, I was just playing around at our Pinot Noir Brown Bag Dinner this week and decided to sneak it into the tasting.  Sure enough the wine won the 20 person tasting with 43pts out of 60pts (that is pretty damn good for one of these dinners) and started a buying spree that has sold us out (other than the three bottles I hid).

What makes this wine so compelling?  For the Non-Pinofile it carries a lot of fruit very elegantly.  The core is mostly red and black cherry with tinges of darker berry mingled in, but it is not a typical Central Coast fruit bomb.  A nice dark spice character, herbal tea leaf and sweet mushroom note back up the fruit and really keeps the nose in check.  The oak is definitely noticeable and would be attractive to those that love wines that show sweet toasty styling.  The mouth comes across slightly darker than the nose expressing a brambly blackberry character and a darker-more anise flavor in the spice.  The texture is already weighty and plush for a 2008 with a very good chance that it will silken up over the next two years in bottle.  Appealing structure is  with a slight advantage to the tannin that will certainly resolve in a year or two only adding to the enjoyment of the wine between 2011 and 2013.

With a price point just shy of $40 a bottle, Center of Effort is a great wine that holds its own with the legendary Talley’s and early work of Domain Alfred.

Is it Possible, Local still Undefeted…

Posted in Restaurant, Wine by cshack21 on February 8, 2010

Westbrook PicSeveral years ago when I was a serious wine guy, an article in the Fresno Bee, Aging Gracefully, quoted me saying “The potential of the region is not even born yet..”, but on Saturday night I believe we gave birth…

Local Winery owners/winemakers Ray and Tammy Krause again walked into wine stadium (four or so months ago they took on Bordeaux over several vintages with their Fait Accompli). This time was to use all the wines in their upcoming release. Bravely they left the rest in my hands to find befitting competitors to taste blind against, but in a way that I would not be using higher price points than the release price… I also wanted to throw in some twists.

First Flight: Riesling

1st Place Westbrook Wine Farm, Uber Rhenish, Kenwara Vineyard, Madera County, 2008 – 7 votes
2nd Place Pey Marin, Shell Mound, Marin County, 2007 – 5 votes
3rd Place Trimbach, Riesling, Alsace, 2007 – 1 vote

Amazingly enough in this flight, many of the judges were commenting on the aromatics of the Pey Marin over the other two wines, but it seemed the structure and fruit of the Westbrook Uber Rhenish was what won over enough votes to take it.

Second Flight: Viognier Blends

1st place Westbrook, Viognier-Valdiguie Blend, Simpson Vineyard, Madera County, 2005 – 7 votes
2nd place E. Guigal, Cote-du-Rhone Blanc, Rhone Valley, 2007 – 4 votes
3rd place Westbrook, Viognier-Valdiguie Blend, Simpson Vineyard, Madera County, 2008 – 4 votes

This was a little spin I wanted to put on this tasting… The truth of it, I knew the 2008 Westbrook VV would be a bit more like the E. Guigal, so I pulled a bottle of my 2005 Westbrook VV to prove a point that although these wines can have awkward points in their lives, Viognier can age well if properly structured. The 2005 won over the judges with its more developed and voluptuous nose and palate. Even though Ray and Tammy had not brought this bottling in they still took the win.

Third Flight: Cabernet Sauvignon

1st Place Westbrook, Cabernet Sauvignon, Peterson Valley Vineyard, Lodi, 2007 – 10 votes
2nd Place Ceago, Cabernet Sauvignon, Del Lago, Lake County, 2005 – 4 votes
3rd Place Cousino Macul, Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley, 2006 – 1 vote

In this flight I was trying to confuse the judges on what wine was Westbrook Wine Farm. Chosing the Ceago for its big tannin and dark fruit and slightly vegetative nose, I hopped the dark density of the wine would have the judges thinking it was the Westbrook. With the older world style of the Cousino Macul  that it would come off like a young Westbrook wine, but alas, neither were convincing enough especially since the Cousino had a bit of a mercaptan like taint.

Fourth Flight: Bordeaux Blends

1st place Peter Michaels, Les Pavot, Knights Valley, 2006 – 7 votes
2nd place Westbrook, Fait Accompli, Estate, Madera County, 2007 – 6 votes
3rd place Cain Cuvee, Napa Valley, NV6 – 1 vote

This one I tried to win. And did successfully, but cost a bit more (four times the bottle cost) to do so. This was a point was trying to prove… You can win any sensory competition if you put enough money and skill behind it. I think it was well-proven though that Westbrook’s Fait Accompli could be considered in the top wines of California (and especially after our Bordeaux experiment).

Fifth Flight: Petite Sirah

1st place Chronic Cellars, Petite Sirah, Paso Robles, 2006 – 7 votes
2nd place Westbrook Wine Farm, Petite Sirah, Simpson Vineyard, 2007 – 4 votes
3rd place Elyse, Petite Sirah, Napa Valley, 2006 – 4 votes

This flight was a bit more difficult, as quality Petite Sirah is just not hanging out every where. The Chronic took it with its broad fruit range, tightly packed dark berry fruit and a good amount of oak. The Westbrook was just suffering from being a barrel sample.

Brown Bag Sangiovese Dinner

Posted in Restaurant, Wine by cshack21 on February 3, 2010

Belnero BottleI can’t really remember, but I think last night (February 2nd) was the first time we have featured Sangiovese as a blind varietal. Sangiovese, the thin skinned grape varietal that is capable of extraordinary quality at the same time is the work horse of Italy’s red wine production being planted in 3/4 of the country’s 20 regions. Starting off the dinner we had a brief discussion on Sangiovese and its character whether it be the highly regarded and collectible Brunello, inconsistencies of Chianti, or the fruit forward soft New World wines. Dinner was served traditional family style in four-courses lended to a good evening.

The following is how things ended up when the score cards were tallied:

1st / #8 Flora Springs, Sangiovese, Napa Valley, 2007

2nd / #13 Seghesio, Sangiovese, Alexander Valley, 2007

3rd / #2 Showket, Napa Valley, 2003

4th / #6 Castello di Amarosa, Napa Valley, 2006

5th / #5 Rosso di Montalcino, Castello Banfi, Tuscany, 2006

6th / #10 Curran, Sangiovese, Santa Ynez Valley, 2005

7th / #11 Chianti Reserva, Il Valore, Tuscany, 2005

8th / #12 Chianti Classico, San Leonino, Tuscany, 2006

9th / #7 Belnero, Castello Banfi, 2005

10th/#9 Tuscan Moon, Sangiovese, California, 2008

11th/#3 Pietra Santa, Sangiovese, Cienega Valley, 2006

12th/#4 Chianti Classico, Fontodi, Tuscany, 2006

13th/#1 Chianti Classico, Castello di Bossi, Tuscany, 2000

Cheers, Ciao…

Recipe for Black Garlic-Ginger Sausage

Posted in Recipes by cshack21 on January 22, 2010

Makes 10 lbs.


7 lbs Pork Shoulder
3 lbs Pork Belly
12 cloves Black Garlic
6tbls Grated Fresh Ginger or Galanga Root
3tbls Malden Sea Salt
1/2tbls fresh ground Schezuan Pepper Corns
1/4 cup Off Dry Riesling


Chop all pork into 1 inch cubes and refrigerate. Pulse in a food processor the black garlic, ginger, pepper corns, salt and Riesling. Mix well into the cubed pork and refrigerate for 3 hours. Process through a meat grinder and either form into patties or case into links.

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Brown Bag Pinot Noir Dinner – January 19th

Posted in Uncategorized by cshack21 on January 20, 2010

For those in the know, Trelio’s Brown Bag Dinners are not only a great social dinner event, but also quite educational. The chance of experiencing 10 to 16 bottles of a single varietal while having a dinner created to complement their flavor is one of the best ways to experience wine. Even better is when your wine comes in first place and your trophy is a bottle of Kosta Browne, Rosella’s Vineyard, 2007 Pinot Noir and dinner for two-free.

So here are January 19th’s Pinot Noir rankings:

1. J. Thomas Vineyard, Russian River Valley, 2005

2. Keller Estate, La Cruz Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, 2005

3. Sinor LaVallee, Anniversary Cuvee, Edna Valley, 2005

4. Martin Alfaro, Sleepy Hollow Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands, 2007

5. Cambria, Julia’s Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley, 2007

6. Domaine Alfred, Chamisal Vineyard, Edna Valley, 2006

7. Castle Rock, Mendocino County, 2006

8. Jack Creek, Kruse Vineyard, Central Coast, 2006

9. Fiddle Head, Fiddlestix Vineyard, Seven-Twenty-Eight, Santa Rita Hills, 2005

10. Castle Rock, California Cuvee, 2008

11. Spell, Weir Vineyard, Yorkville Highlands, 2007 <–my favorite of the night

12. Siduri, Hirsch Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, 2006

13. La Crema, Sonoma Coast, 2007

14. Domaine Alfred, Califa, Edna Valley, 2004

15. Hendry, Hendry Vineyard, Napa Valley, 2007

16. Lane Tanner, Block 7, Santa Maria Valley, 2008

Our new wine is coming!

Posted in Uncategorized by cshack21 on January 10, 2010

Seasun Wine Label

Scheduled to be released in the spring. Seasun was made with Syrah fruit from the Santa Margarita Ranch in southern part of Paso Robles AVA. The wine will be available via mailing list and retail through Trelio only.

Hourglass, Cabernet Sauvignon, Blueline Vineyard, Napa Valley, 2006

Posted in Wine by cshack21 on November 11, 2009

An absolutely tremendous wine. This is an example of what is to come from the 2007 vintage releases from Napa Valley.

This wine’s finese and styling is nearly flawless. The initial aromatics exhibit sweet tobacco, leather, vanilla latte and cocoa. Hints of blackberry and toasty sweet spice start to break through afterva few minutes in the glass. Not over extracted, yet it’s density and weight are powerful without being dead palate weight. For the ripeness and full bodied weight there is a suprising amount of acidity that keeps the wine from becoming cloying. The palate is filled with creamy dark berry, bitter chocolate and coffee.

A wine well worth it’s hefty price tag.

Cabernet Sauvignon Class

Posted in Wine by cshack21 on November 11, 2009

Everyonce in a while I teach a class about wine that I am the most interested in experiencing. There is a lot to be said about learning by experience. Most folks out there won’t open $400 worth of wine to teach three or four people paying $45 to learn… but we always manage to.

So the priceless experience last night was a very insightfull line-up and each of the wines performed perfectly.

– 2005 Lake County Cabernet @ $25 retail
– 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet @ $25 retail
– 2006 Santa Barbara County Cabernet @ $22 retail

These selections worked well both for showing how each of the vintages perform upon opening, how each of the region’s fruit characteristic is different, and how winemaker technique effects each wine.

From there we looked at a few other wines.

– 2000 Napa Valley Cabernet @ $50 retail
– 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet @ $50 retail
– 2006 “Cult” Napa Valley Cabernet @ $125 retail

The point of this flight is to not only show how Cabernet changes in the bottle with aging, but also how price can relate to style of winemaking in Cabernet… Any guess as to which wine I sold the most of?

Expansion on Bee Article on Social Media Marketing…

Posted in Uncategorized by cshack21 on October 21, 2009

Since I have a consulting company that deals with these types of business ideas for Food and Beverage Products and Businesses I am not going to give away all of gold, but I think the Article today in the Fresno Bee did a good job of opening the door and letting the fresh air in, so I have decided to write a little more. Sorry I am not a very good writer, so bare with me as I have typed this up really fast.

First let me say that Social Marketing is not really Marketing. Like Gary Vaynerchuck puts it… a Cocktail Party. And he is right, before his words I always thought of it as having a conversation with one person that everyone else can see. If you are creative with that you can do a lot of things using Bloggs, Facebook and Twitter to assist your core marketing plan. Here is my list of a “Cheap and Modern” Small Business Marketing Model.

#1 Exceeding Guest Expectations – The UTMOST important detail in a Modern Small Business Marketing Plan (MSBMP). You absolutely have to have a core of customers that love your product and use it frequently. Branding is word of mouth and being able to leverage that word of mouth is key, especially when your small business caters to a tiny part of a possible market (Fine Dining, Wine, Up-Scale Catering – all tiny markets in Central California).

Word of Mouth is your Brand. In small business it is your reputation, it is your biggest ally or your greatest enemy. Good word of mouth is effective, but is slow. Bad word of mouth is devastating and disastrous. At Trelio we go to great lengths to ensure that most everyone has a positive impression of our restaurant. Are we 100% ? – by no means, but we give 100% to try to be. There are many high tech ways to track your word of mouth and respond to it.

#2 In House Marketing – They are already there, take advantage of it. First and most important part of In House Marketing is to capture guest information… and today it is Email. That is the only information you need, and you absolutely need it. This is the beginning of your guest contact and the core of how you are going to communicate with your growing guest base. Email addresses will also give you the tools to search for your guests on Facebook, Twitter, Etc. Enter these contacts in a Hotmail Address book and into an email generating database company like Constant Contact. With the Hotmail address book you will be able to instantly scan your email list for those guests that have Facebook and Twitter accounts.

#3 Eye Catching Emails. Once you have them as guests, you have to keep them coming back. Create events, create incentives, create reasons to come to your store. Then let your customers know through well designed emails that keep them reading and keep them being opened.

#4 Bring on the Facebook. Facebook opens all sorts of new doors to communicate. Have an account for you (the business owner) and business account for the business.

With your account try to portray the fun and challenges you have as the owner of your business. Keep it positive and keep it familiar. Don’t talk about your personal life, what you are doing on the weekends. Do let them know who you are and give them a connection to you. Open the conversation and respond to others constantly.

For your business keep it business. Use it for the events calendar and invitation system, the gathering of customers birthdays and anniversaries, and to relay PR. Don’t send out random emails. As funny as it seems, Facebook is a sacred virtual residence for some people, don’t vandalize it.

Another interesting thing about Facebook is it’s demographic controlled PPC advertising. With it you can spend less than 10 to 12 dollars a week putting your tiny logo in front of new potential customers based on their likes. Hmmm… Let me think, advertise in a magazine for $250 a month in hopes that 10,000 random people see my advertisement once, or… $50 for 10,000 people that are already interested in my type of business looking at my advertisement everyday. That should be easy. I don’t even care if they don’t click on it.

#5 Twitter and What is Next. Twitter is at its most effective point right now. It is the worlds cocktail party, lots of noise, overwhelming and only effective if you are precise with your strategy and message. Everyone Twitters differently, and in order to be part of the Twitter Twibe you have to be paying attention. That means they are all paying attention. You only have one chance as a business to use Twitter. Don’t use it as the bugle boy shouting out advertisement. Instead use it to find things out about your current guests and future guests and react, have conversations and open your business to them. Make Friends not Customers.

As technology develops Twitter will whither away and things like Tumblr and Google Wave will take over. Study technology and you will always be ahead.

#5 Negotiate all other Marketing Media types. Even I am not very effective with this. Believe in your instincts. If you think the full-page magazine add for $2000 isn’t going to bring in $20,000 don’t spend it. Instead Give away the $2000 as part of a contest that you can promote 100% through your new Twitter, Email, FaceBook and In-House Marketing Strategy. I bet that would bring in the extra $20,000.

As a small business you are not made or broken on how much marketing and advertising you do. Its how smartly and cheaply you do it.