Food & Drink » Picks

Pelletiere Estate's 2012 Lagrein and Ascendant Spirit's Breaker Bourbon


How many times a day do you do something new and goosebump-inducing? Are you so bored at work you actually long for the “thrill” of an orderly fire drill? If you feel your wine game growing a tad stale, may I suggest to you this ravishing—and unique—2012 lagrein crafted by winemaker’s winemaker Amy Butler? Intense, inky color, complex layers of flavor, and a touch of rosemary make this smooth drinker the perfect companion to your next “spice it up” date night meal. Pair the shadowy beauty with steak, burgers, lamb, or—heck—meat lover’s pizza. Just make it rich and hearty. The best part of this pairing: You get to say you drank “a great lagrein” the other night, to which your friends will wrinkle their nose and say, “huh?” Just remember: What you may lack in mystery and sex appeal, this northern Italian varietal boasts in spades. I say, wrap it up. I’ll take it.

• Pelletiere Estate's 2012 LagreinAbout $36 per bottle; 3280 Township Road, Paso Robles.

Those of you who know me, and I mean really know me, are fully aware that I am “not allowed to drink whiskey.”  Those of you who know me, and I mean really know me, don’t have to ask why. Oh, but I do relish a sip of fine bourbon poured neat (or really, any way I can get it)! After savoring a slurp or two of Ascendant’s small-batch Breaker Bourbon, my mind was taken over by the pure pleasure that can only come from a whiskey aged in eight different select barrels for five-plus years. OK, I did not taste that fact, but knowing just how much heart and soul is poured into this golden elixir made me sip and savor it all the more passionately. When I found out that this bourbon reflects the first of its kind handcrafted, blended, and bottled in Southern California since Prohibition, my heart fluttered anew. I am now fully committed to making my way to Ascendant Spirits’ Buellton-based tasting room this spring, and I suggest you do the same, too. That is, if you can get a designated driver who’s cool with stopping by In-N-Out on the way home.

• Ascendant Spirit’s Breaker BourbonPurchase online at or visit the tasting room for a tasting at 37 Industrial Way in Buellton.

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