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TUESDAY TRIBUTES
06/30/2015
A New Spirit in Paso Robles

By Stephen Eliot

The one constant lesson of my forty-something years in the endlessly fascinating business of wine is that there is always something new to be learned, and it is not at all uncommon for the really exciting discoveries to be serendipitous turns of luck.

While racing down Adelaida Road on the way back to town from the mountains west of Paso Robles a couple of weeks back after a day spent visiting Daniel and Georges Daou at their beautiful and wonderfully successful winery, a sign announcing a new, at least to me, craft-spirit producer caught my eye. Despite the considerable urgencies of finding a something cool to drink and a big screen in Paso upon which to view the afternoon’s US vs Sweden Women’s World Cup match, curiosity compelled a turn into the driveway of Villicana Winery and Re-Find distillery, and after a few minutes of talking with proprietress, Monica Villicana, it became clear that the visit would not be brief.

Villicana Winery has been a small but successful fixture in the Paso Robles wine scene for well over a decade, and, if its wines are certainly worth noting, it was the Villicana’s new project, Re-Find distillery that nearly made me late for the game. Adhering to the “waste-not, want-not” mantra of sustainability, the Villicanas were originally motivated by the need to find something to do with saignée, the free-run juice that winemakers will often bleed off as a way of concentrating soon-to-be fermented red wines. Rather than using saignée to make Rosé as is the norm for most winemakers, Alex Villicana believes that it makes for inferior wines, especially given the ripeness of Paso Robles fruit. Finding the idea of simply pouring his saignée down the drain anathema, he decided to experiment with distilling it and thus was born the Re-Find family of distillates which includes vodkas, gin and a limoncello exclusively based on brandies made from premium grapes rather than much cheaper, grain-based spirits.

Suffice it to say, that Re-Find’s spirits are anything but run of the mill. Personal favorites include a heady, deeply flavored Gin, or “Botannical Brandy” as it is labeled for sale at the winery, the sublime cucumber-infused vodka and the vibrant limoncello that is ideal for digestif drinking.

You can find the Re-Find story at http://www.refinddistillery.com/distillery.html, but, better yet, make the turn up the driveway, just as I did, the next time you are in the neighborhood. You will not be disappointed.


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Comments

Agree...
by TomHill
Posted on:6/30/2015 3:34:44 PM

Villicana sez about Saignee: "Alex Villicana believes that it makes for inferior wines"

To which I would have to agree. Saignee wines, leftover from the red wine process, are typically harvested later and make for a heavier/coarser rose. I far prefer roses in which the grapes are harvested earlier to specifically make a rose, like SteveEdmunds does. The wines are brighter/crisper/lower in alcohol and, I find, more refreshing.

   But then, it's well known that I'm a blind adherent of RajParr and JonBonne!!!  :-)

Tom

 

Villicana Winery and Re-Find distillery
by Stanley Yucikas
Posted on:7/1/2015 10:48:25 AM

I have driven past this winery over that past several years with never a thought about stopping.  Always on the way to or from one winery or another, Daou included.  Thanks to your article, I now have a very valid reason to stop, Limoncello, a beverage I truly love to sip, Ice Cold, during the long hot summers of Paso.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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