Jason and I packed up the car today to head up to Squaw for a week of skiing with friends from from Santa Barbara and New York. We stopped in Paso Robles for lunch at Artisan. This is one of my favorite restaurants – great locally sourced food, an awesome wine list and a relaxed, casual atmosphere complete with cool photography by Ross Halfin. While checking out the menu, I ordered a flight of three Paso Robles wines for us to share – this is the equivalent of about one glass of wine. (I didn’t want us to get tired on the road.) We had the 2004 Chateau Margene Cabernet Sauvignon, which was a beautiful garnet color. On the palate, we tasted currant, raspberry and cedar. Next up was the 2006 RN Estate Cuvée des Trois Cepages. This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. It had soft tannins and made a wonderful transition over my entire palate. The Cabernet Franc dominated the long finish. It went really well with the portabella, sundried tomato and pesto panini and the seafood chowder we ordered. The third wine of our flight was the 2005 Booker Remnant, which is a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot. This is a deep purple colored wine, with flavors of white pepper spice, cedar and a hint of mint. I am on the Booker allocation list, so I hope to be able to taste this one again in a few years?  Perhaps Booker will do a library release?  After our fabulous Artisan lunch we got back in the car and finished the drive to Squaw. We arrived just before dinner; perfect timing to open up a few bottles. First we finished off the 2006 Stolpman Grenache that we opened yesterday evening. It tasted much better today than it did yesterday. I think it just needed some time to open up. I also opened a 2006 Tre Anelli Sangiovese – fruity and very food friendly.  If you’re a fan of Italian and Spanish varietals, I highly recommend visiting the Tre Anelli tasting room.  Tre Anelli makes so few cases, that they sell all their wine from the tasting room.  Next up was the 2003 Mandolina Toccata. This is a blend (45% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 15% Freisa and 10% Merlot) that had a wonderful richness on the palate.   Mandolina’s tasting room is located in Solvang and is also worth a visit!