Paso Robles

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3.5 - 4 hours from LA... but well worth the trip!

Courtesy of Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance

(click on the image to enlarge)

Paso Robles is known for their Zinfandels. I never really considered myself a Zin fan, but after tasting in this region, I now know that Zins can be diverse (as with all wines). This just goes to show that tasting is important (and I will continue to do it!)

Tasting in Paso is also economical - tasting fees cap at $10, and there are many coupons available in local magazines and in hotels to waive those fees. In addition, many wineries waive their tasting fee if you purchase a bottle of their wines. On top of that, several wineries give complimentary tastings. So first, figure out what road you want to taste on. Second, go to the Paso Wine Allliance website to find out how much the fees are. Lastly, take your time on the road and at each winery, and soak in the wine and scenery!

Here is a break down of the memorable wineries we visited:

(from west to east on the 46W)

1. CastoroTheir motto is "Dam Fine Wine" ("Castoro" means "beaver" in Italian). Well, I think they have DAM fine Zins3 complimentary tastings, 7 tastings for $3 (waived with purchase).

2. Windward: Specializes in Pinot Noirs. Each wine delicately tastes like the whole cluster - grapes, seeds, and vines. Interesting tannins, pleasant, unique. $10 tasting fee (tasting coupons available in local magazines and hotels). Pricey wines, but worth tasting at.

3. Terry Hoage: Vibrant, fruit forward wines produced by the former NFL player. $10 tasting fee (waived with purchase). Note: you probably wouldn't buy wines from this place, though. Each wine is at least $40.

4. Ecluse: Bravo to their CABs! This small family-owned winery is so confident in their wines that they give complimentary wine tastings. If you visit this place, you WILL walk away with at least one bottle of their awesome wines.

(off the 46E)

1. Eberle: Their wines didn't quite WOW us, but we went on their complimentary wine cave tour which was educational  and interesting. The tastings are also complimentary, so a visit to this winery is highly recommended if just for the tour.

2. Vina Robles: We walked out with one bottle (we usually don't buy more than one per winery) and the couple next to us walked out with 5 cases! THAT purchase is a testament to their wines. Wonderful Zins - we purchased an '07 which was off the tasting menu (thank you wine pourers that let you taste those!). Complimentary wine tasting. Check out this recent SF Chronicle article on Vina Robles!

3. Falcon Nest: Dark berries, pepper, oak, ripe tomatoes, and hint of acidic qualities. All of their wines have some combination of that. Great for "blending" parties. Buy two bottles of any of their wines and mix them on the spot for family and friends! $5 tasting fee (waived with purchase)


Anonymous said...

This sounds like a fun trip! John and I have never been wine tasting in California, however, we did go to a beautiful winery in the Loire Valley in France several years ago. Your entry on the Eberle winery reminded me of it. This winery was called "La Cave" (LAH-CAHV) because it was in a cave. The entrance was in the side of a mountain! It was so unique, complete with a huge antique wine press, rows and rows of stacked wines, and a wonderful circular room with stone walls, lined with aging, delicate wines. They demonstrated how they bottle their champagne, and the tour was amazing, like walking through the stone age. We selected a 1982 red for our daughter (she was not yet 21) to give her on her 21st birthday (1982 for the year of her birth). My son-in-law's mother lives in Santa Ynez, so we must go tasting there sometime! Love, Christi

gene said...

i hope i win!

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