If I had to taste at one winery before home became my new world,
I'm glad it was at Puma Road Winery.
My husband and I had a few days to get away for our wedding anniversary. It was our last vacation to enjoy each other and some wine outside the confines of our house—just before the shelter-in-place.
Owner, Ray Franscioni, produces Bordeaux varietal wines in the Salinas Valley. The valley's history includes flood rains which washed soil down River Road tearing out row crops of potatoes, beets, and beans. So in the 70's Ray started planting vineyards. That seemed to be the ideal time to plant grapes instead, since the area offers ideal weather “it doesn't get too hot, or too cold.”
Native to the Salinas Valley, Ray is a business man, wine advocate, and neighbor all rolled into one.
He has an easy, straight forward way about him and grew up on the Puma Road property.
The winery reminds me of a village pub: it's a landing place.
It's a close knit community with family, friends, and neighbors rolling into the
tasting room like clockwork. Around 4:00 pm, people stop in to taste, talk about the day,
then move on down the road to Pessagno Winery, Ray's other winery and tasting room.
Susie, the Puma Road Tasting Room Supervisor, shared “What you see is what you get.
No one is trying to be anything they aren't.” It was refreshing to be in that kind of setting.
Ray grows his own grapes for his wines.
Since my dad's background is in the nursery business, and my childhood was surrounded by agriculture,
I have a heavy respect and appreciation for growers and farmers.
Ray's hospitality is matched by his fastidious care for his wines. He shared with me that barrels are expensive, but he doesn't want to compromise on quality. A winery can spend as much on barrels as fruit. Olivier Rousset and Rodney Whitlock are Puma's dynamic wine making team.
Puma Road wines go down easy-like.
Not too acidic, tannic, sweet, or sharp, I was tempted to drink the tastings, not sip them.
At home, Puma Road wines are charming on their own as I'm cooking or while reading a book.
And they pair easily with foods; from bread and cheese to grilled meats and veggies.
I felt as if this was what wine should be doing.
For my tasting...
Puma Road and Pessagno Winery offer a myriad of wines to choose from;
Tannat to Chardonnay to Vintage Sparkling Wines. Explore! (Order online.)
Thank you Ray, Susie, and Puma Road staff for the terrific tasting
and overview of your wines and selections.
With a glass of Puma Road wine in our hands
and a prayer on our lips...
For tips on how to store your wines & not waste a drop visit my post on
"Closures, Keeping a Lid on Your Wines".
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