Self-Isolating with The Paring Wines

There’s no better time than now to check out these wines.

The Paring Wine Review

The Paring wines have an extraordinary pedigree at an affordable price. This claim is difficult to challenge considering that The Paring wines are produced from the vineyard blocks that are either too young or don’t fit into the vintage style of the highly acclaimed Jonata and The Hilt wines. And while The Paring wines can be rightly referred to as a “chip off the old block,” they also reflect the untethered philosophy and mindset that comes with the freedom of their own label.

At the core of these wines, you will find a wide-ranging exploration of style, vineyards and blending, all thanks to winemaker Matt Dees, who, when he’s not working with The Paring, can be found making wines for its big sister wineries- Jonata and The Hilt.

The grapes are sourced primarily from three Santa Barbara regions: Ballard Canyon, Sta. Rita Hills, and Santa Maria Valley. If you are not familiar with Santa Barbara wines, it’s time to get to know them. The region is renowned for its diverse topography, unique soil types, and mild Mediterranean climate which produce complex, high acid, spicy, powerful wines.

My Favorite: 2016 The Pairing Red Blend ($25)

This Cabernet-inspired blend displays classic notes of cassis, tobacco and chocolate. It fills the palate with bright red fruit and black plum, and is a constant play between sweet and savory. Gentle and dusty tannins lead the way into an incredibly long and precise finish, this wine is a wonderful tension between tannic structure and bright acidity. Varietal Composition: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Petit Verdot.

2017 The Pairing Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills ($25)

This Pinot Noir offers immediate drinking pleasure without sacrificing the complexity and nuance that makes this grape so compelling. It brims with seductive fruit, alluring aromas and supple tannins. Savory notes and mouth-coating tannins round out this harmonious and complete pinot noir.

2017 The Pairing Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County ($25)

The Chardonnay is an invigorating combination of ripe and silky fruit alongside a refreshing backbone of vibrant acidity. It’s inviting and delectable and offers something for everyone. Low yields and cool days created a blend that is both bold and rich as well as chiseled and steely. It finishes off with citrus and green melon and hints of baking spice.

Disclaimer: These wines were provided to me for review. I was not paid for this post.

Baja: All Zen and Fun on the Eastern Front

Loreto, Mexico

Loreto Mexico

It’s easy to associate Baja, Mexico with throngs of partying beach goers. No doubt the touristy tip of Cabo has this rep, but this is only a tiny part of Baja, the skinny California peninsula stretching more than 700 miles (1100 km) south of the U.S. border to its glittery tequila-soused point. For those seeking a more remote location, fret not, there are plenty of quieter and lesser trod areas in between that will quell the craving for a low key, sun soaked, holiday experience – with a margarita or cerveza in hand, of course.

Loreto Mexico

I was recently invited to attend a Chef’s Week event at the new Villa del Palmar Resort in Loreto, Baja, to not only indulge in rocking cuisine from a trio of world class chefs, but also to explore this relatively and refreshingly undiscovered niche of Baja.

Danzante Bay Mexico

Situated 300 miles (500 km) north of Cabo on the eastern coast overlooking the Sea of Cortez, the resort is away from it all, yet clearly in the middle of exactly where it should be, with abundant opportunities for relaxation and activity. Everything evokes balance – including (literally) the mighty location of its stunning golf course landscaped into the teetering cliffs overlooking the sea. I don’t golf, but I thought pretty hard about taking a lesson when I hiked the trails around the Rhees Jones designed golf course, perched on a bluff with panoramic views.

View from Hike

The orientation of the resort is equally spectacular, sandwiched between the jagged ridge line of the grand Sierra de la Giganta Mountains and the picturesque and vertiginous outcroppings of the Islands of Loreto, a pristine Unesco World Heritage Site.

Villa del Palmar Resort Loreto

Boat Tour Villa del Palmar

North of the resort lies the historically rich and vibrant colonial town of Loreto, which also (conveniently) has an international airport with direct flights to and from Los Angeles on Alaska Air. Loreto is a quaint fishing village, easily walkable and offering a little bit of everything, including an historic mission, muchos curios shops, and a vibrant plaza ringed with restaurants and bars that come alive at night. A long promenade stretches along the town’s sandy beach, home to fishing and tourist boats, thatched beach umbrellas and cafés overlooking the waters of the Sea of Cortez which beckons with its multitude of islands and marine life waiting to be explored.

Downtown Loreto Mexico

Loreto Mexico

Loreto Mexico

Thirty minutes south of the town, with easy shuttle access, lies the secluded property of Danzante Bay and the Villas, surrounded by unrivaled nature with an expansive white sand beach, miles of hiking trails, and all of the active and zen (your choice!) amenities of one-stop shopping resort life, including the aforementioned golf, a world class spa and fitness center, all things water sport, and beach yoga. The easiest task at hand is to simply park yourself and let time slip away while you contemplate your next cocktail, meal, or form of exercise.

Villa del Palmar Loreto

For nature lovers – and you will be one, after you explore the Islands of Loreto – take a private boat tour from the Villa and Danzante Bay, where you will weave between the craggy rocks and jutting, cactus strewn islands dotted with deserted beaches and private coves inhabited by a lexicon of birds, with plenty of opportunities for snorkeling and whale watching, likely in the company of pods of playful dolphins.

Snorkling and Boat Danzante Bay

Whale watching Danzante Bay

Back on the mainland, I was lucky enough to be at the Villa for Chef’s Week, which perfectly balanced my zen downtime. It was a 5-day fiesta extravaganza helmed by Celebrity Chefs Keith Breedlove, Manouschka Guerrier, and the Villa’s Gerardo Garcia Martinez, where we were treated to demonstrations and tastings, multi-course extravaganzas, plenty of local wine and tequila, and all around socializing with a fun group of food-loving (and writing) folks.

Chefs Week Culinerdy

Chefs Week Villa del Palmar

Chefs Week

Clearly there is something for everyone at this destination, which is conducive to families, couples, and even solo travelers. You can be as active, festive, or exploratory as you wish – or not, and simply chill with a book and beverage in a hammock on the beach. The point is that you will come back relaxed, refreshed, and well-fed, with no travel burnout or crowd fatigue, which to me is the whole point of a vacation escape.

Danzante Bay Mexico

Disclosure:
My travel costs and accommodations were provided for by Villa del Palmar and Alaska Air. I was not compensated for this post, and all opinions and impressions are my own.