What does a “summer barbecue red” taste like? Let me tell you. It tastes like this ruby-colored mix of grenache, mourvedre, and syrah caressed by a splash of soft cinsaut and a dash of peppery counoise. Does it sound like I’m speaking Latin? Sorry. All you need to know is: This hot blooded Paso-grown blend is full-bodied and approachable, with lots of black cherry fruit and an addicting spiciness that lingers like it should. Extra summer school credit: Get out to Lone Madrone for their Burger Sundays every other weekend and sip alongside an epic lamb burger. If I ever have a chance to leave my evil computer robot overlord, I plan to do the same.
• Lone Madrone 2012 Points West Red—$35; 5800 Adelaida Road, Paso Robles.
Surf. Sand. Sun. Hard Cider. This is what summer’s about, at least on the Central Coast. The Cayucos boys of Reef Points Hard Cider are still hard at work this time of year (although they’re probably catching some sweet waves during coffee breaks). Try the newest fruit of their labors, a barrel-fermented blend of Anna, red astrachan, gala, and braeburn apples grown in Paso Robles. This traditional-style hard cider is still “bone dry,” but also offers hints of earth and mild pear notes. Talk about a summer crush!
• Reef Points Hard Cider’s Soundings—$12; reefpointshardcider.com.
Hayley Thomas is sorry-not-sorry that so many good things come from Paso. Send her drinks from across the Central Coast and email her your thoughts at email@example.com.