Ambyth’s Nouveau Celebration

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This guest-post comes to us from Mira Advani Honeycutt, author of California’s Central Coast, The Ultimate Winery Guide: From Santa Barbara to Paso Robles .

The annual tradition of Beaujolais Nouveau wine released on the third Thursday of November and shipped around the world originates from France’s Beaujolais region. (Hear more about Beaujolais Nouveau from Stacie Hunt on A Good Food Thanksgiving.)

But a Nouveau from the Paso Robles appellation?  When I received an email from my friends Phillip and Mary Hart owners of Ambyth Estate Winery in Templeton inviting us to a Nouveau celebration, I was intrigued. We said yes. And better yet, they invited us to stay in their gorgeous hilltop house on Ambyth’s (which means “forever” in Welsh) 42-acre biodynamic ranch.

Bottles of AmbythSo what was Ambyth’s Nouveau wine? I know there’s no Gamay on this vineyard, which is home to mostly Rhône varietals. Phillip explained that in previous years, the grapes he picked for pre-harvest testing did not go to waste. He turned it into wine and consumed it right away like a Nouveau.

This year the Harts decided to share it with friends and released it at their Pick-Up Party, when wine club members pick up their bottles. A “field blend” of all ten varietals grown on the property, the wine is not for sale and was served only during that weekend. In fact the wine wasn’t even bottled but siphoned out of a large water bottle container.

“This is not a finished wine but a fun wine,” said Phillip, siphoning the wine into guests’ glasses.

Mary & Christopher
Mary & Christopher (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Ambyth is the first Demeter certified vineyard ranch in the Paso Robles appellation. The Hart family has created a paradisical self-sustaining and diverse estate. There are dairy cows with horn intact; the milk is used for drinking and cheese making and the whey used on vines as an ameliorative for powdery mildew. The portable coop allows the chickens to range freely among the vines and the bee-hive in the middle of the estate plays a vital role in pollination. And yes, there is an organic herb/vegetable garden and 600 Spanish varietal olive trees. Ambyth will soon be bottling the estate olive oil as well.