The region, known for its Zinfandels, did not disappoint. I now have a newfound appreciation for Zins and other wines from this area.
04.11.2009 - 04.12.2009 75 °F
I'm drinking a glass of the 2006 Mourvedre from our recent trip to Paso Robles. We purchased the bottle from Tablas Creek - our last stop on our wine tasting trip to Paso Robles. I'll write a little more about the wine later...
I'm quite surprised I've never explored this region, I've been all over California (Sonoma, Napa, Santa Ynez) to wine taste, but have never stopped by the wineries in Paso Robles. I've heard and tasted many wines from this region, and I finally know what all the hype was about.
According to prcity.com, Paso Robles (PR) is California's fastest growing wine region and now I know why.
How did we choose which wineries to go to? We asked a few friends in the wine industry for their faves and made sure to stop by a few of those wineries. For a good guide, check out http://www.pasowine.com/. If you can, try and get a hold of their brochure. It's comprehensive with winery profiles as well as a visitor's guide.
Our first stop was the fun Four Vines Winery. Their wines have really catchy names (Naked Chardonnay, Loco, Heretic).
We went home with a bottle of their '06 Maverick. Some notes on this particular wine:
2006 "The Maverick" Zinfandel, Amador County; $25
Devious mischief abounds from these dry-farmed, head pruned, old vine vineyards in the Shenendoah Valley. This Sierra Foothill Valley is renowned for its old vine Zin vineyards which produce a wine that is chewy and spicy, rich with blackberry fruit and a hint of velvet vanilla oak. Blended with a touch of Syrah from the Bailey Vineyard. Maverick...The Jam Bomb...mischievous fun! http://www.fourvines.com/images/tasting_maverick_06.pdf
3750 Highway 46 West
Templeton, CA 93465
Phone: (805) 237.0055
Tasting $7 includes an etched Riedel glass
The next winery we went to was Turley, which specializes in Old Vine Zinfandel ($28). Their tasting consisted of several Zins, all of which were quite delicious. We bought a bottle of their '06 Old Vines Zin and so far (from looking at our purchases) it looks like 2006 was a good year for the varietal.
2900 Vineyard Drive, Templeton, CA 93465
Phone: (805) 434–1030
Tasting $10 w/ Riedel glass
Lunchtime! And what better way to have lunch than a picnic overlooking the beautiful wineries of PR. A nice couple who we met while tasting at Turley recommended the nearby Croad Vineyards for their fantastic view.
Croad just recently opened and we couldn't have picked a better picnic spot. The vineyard is on the hilltop overlooking the valley, the mission-style architecture was beautiful, and the owner was there to greet us. Overall, this was a great winery to visit and I'd definitely come again. We went with another Zinfandel - their 2005 Zin at $28/bottle.
Tasting room directions: http://www.croadvineyards.com/department.asp/csasp/DepartmentID.792/csasp.html
Phone: (805) 226-9899
On our way back down to the 46 West, we saw the Red Soles Winery and had to stop. The winery was beautiful. We chatted with one of the ladies in the tasting room and she talked about how the owners farmed on the land for years and just fairly recently opened the winery. For more history on Red Soles, click here: http://www.redsoleswinery.com/about_us.php
Fun fact - the owners named the winery after the fact that your soles turn red after crushing grapes with your feet. Speaking of stomping on grapes, I couldn't resist and had to add this hilarious clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMS0O3kknvk
Next stop: Linne Calodo Cellars. The friends I asked raved about the wines here and it definitely lived up to the hype. Here's an excerpt from their home page:
... a family-owned and operated winery, focused on the production of unique and exceptional, hand-crafted wines. Our name, Linne Calodo, describes the distinctive limestone soils of the west side of Paso Robles where our vineyards are located. We are proud to be creating unfined and unfiltered wines balanced through the blending of Rhone and Zinfandel varietals.
The ambiance wasn't much, it was basically a big warehouse with wine barrels and the tasting room. It looked like the winery was still under construction, but nonetheless, the wines were simply divine. The wines were pretty expensive but that didn't stop the 2 couples that were in the tasting room - they filled the back of their suv with multiple cases of their wines.
3030 Vineyard Drive
Phone: (805) 227.0797
Our last stop for the day was Tablas Creek Vineyard, which you hit when you drive north from the 46W up Vineyard Drive. This was definitely the most commercial of the wineries we visited. It reminded me of being in Napa where there's often a line of people waiting for their next pour. It got pretty rowdy here as well, people were dropping glasses, etc....this was probably because we got there late in the afternoon.
We got a bottle of their Cotes de Tablas 2006 ($25) which is 72% Grenache Noir, 11% Syrah, 9% Mourvedre, 8% Counoise. Easy to drink and tasty.