The only thing I like more than this courageous, steak-worthy Tempranillo is the wine label. The scene: A small village town overrun by a crashing tidal wave. The picture is "painted" with swipes of yellow and teal; the effect is in fact so beautiful I can’t bring myself to fling the empty vessel into my recycling. All of Force of Nature’s labels look like they have been ripped from the pages of darkly eerie old time fairy tale books (sea monsters, dragons, and lava abound), which makes me want to collect ’em all. Central Coast wine grape grower Rob Murray is the man behind this audacious, smoky red and its groovy style. Buy or try it at Foremost Wine Co. in downtown SLO or at Tooth & Nail Winery in Paso Robles, both owned by the longtime wine industry veteran. If you have time and a free afternoon, I highly recommend checking out the tasting room, which also features Murray’s Tooth & Nail label. The true-to-life gothic castle is complete with a moat, spiral staircase, and rooftop bricks perfect for hiding behind in the event of enemy arrow attack.
• Force of Nature's 2013 Tempranillo—About $20 a bottle; Tooth & Nail Winery; 3090 Anderson Road, Paso Robles.
Yogurt isn’t a drink, you say. Hayley’s gone a bit crazy, you say. Well, how do you explain “Go-Gurt,” which is slurped through a tube by so many kids at snack time? I have been dumping globs of Farmgirl Creamery’s luscious local goodness into every smoothie I can—and subsequently slurping up the final mixture with a straw (which means it’s technically a drink, OK?). This yogurt may, in fact, change my life forever. I have seriously considered swapping it for ice cream, and I am now dolloping it on pancakes left and right. The firm texture is that of Greek yogurt but oh-so-much-creamier, with just a refreshing whisper of tart tang. The overarching flavors are that of sweet vanilla and mouthwatering fresh-churned butter. The small dairy operation hails from Santa Margarita, but you don’t have to drive halfway to Pozo Saloon to get it (although you would in order to see her cows and goats). Tubs of the addictive cow milk yogurt can be found at Sunshine Health Foods in Morro Bay and at the SLO Nature Foods Cooperative as well as the Madonna Farmer’s Market each Saturday morning. Happy blending!
• Farmgirl Creamery’s Vanilla Cream-Top Yogurt—About $6 a tub; SLO Natural Foods Co-Op; 2494 Victoria Avenue, SLO.
Pass a cold one to firstname.lastname@example.org.