A weekend of wine tasting in Paso Robles sounds sublime until the gravity of trying to create an itinerary consisting of 8-10 wineries when there are over 200 to choose from makes for a daunting task. But we followed our tried and true method of asking for recommendations, researching the options and mapping it out and it made for a perfect trip.
The drive from Los Angeles to Paso is 200 miles and if you time it right it can be a quick 4-hour drive. Leave at the wrong time and it can be as long as 6+ hours. With that in mind, we opted to leave before rush hour to make the most of the afternoon. A 6:00 a.m. start time ensured we would make it to the area by opening time for most wineries.
Our first stop, Chronic Cellars was high on our list. We’ve been a fan of their wines for several years and knew we had to visit. Chronic produces a great variety of blends, primarily reds. Their pursuit is to make “killer wine” and in keeping with that theme, their cool labels depict skulls and skeletons. Their catchy names like Dead Nuts, Robyn the Cradle, Rays in Hell and the Unteachables add to the fun and lightness of their brand. The best part? The wine in the bottles! We were off to a great start here.
Our next stop was Alta Colina, a beautiful winery in the Adelaida district of Paso. Producing primarily Rhone-style wines, Alta Colina is known for limited-production wines that reflect the beauty of the region in which they are grown. With a lovely outdoor patio, this was the ideal location to do our tasting and enjoy the lunch we brought. Cheese, crusty french bread and a charcuterie tray paired perfectly with their Syrah blends.
After a nice meal, it was on to Pelletiere Estate for a private tour and guided tasting. We received a few recommendations to visit Pelletiere and it exceeded even our highest expectations. For the full story about our visit and the lovely owner, Janis Pelletiere Denner, click here.
Our last stop of the day was to Seven Oxen, another winery that came highly recommended. A small tasting room in an industrial park proved big on wine and service! Our hostess, Nancy, took amazing care of us, guiding us through a generous number of wines. She was by far the most passionate, knowledgable and enthusiastic person we have encountered in a tasting room! Their estate wines are produced from vineyards that sit high in the hills on the westside of Paso. The low yield and sustainable farming practices along with winemakers’ passion make for some exceptional wines.
We wrapped up our first day of tasting with a lovely dinner at Berry Hill Bistro, located in the heart of downtown Paso. They boast comfort food with a flair. A French bistro-style menu that included a nice selection of appetizers, salads, steaks, seafood and more all made from farm-fresh ingredients. As an added bonus of our corkage fee was waived when we brought a couple of bottles of local wines from our day of tasting.
At the end of a long day, we were thrilled to find a lovely cottage to relax, unwind and get a good night’s sleep. Located a little South of Paso, in Templeton, we found the “wine country escape” that we had booked through Airbnb. The cottage was clean, modern and stylish and set in a rural area with nice country views. The perfect end to a fantastic day.
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Chronic Cellars 2017 Dead Nuts
Alta Colina 2016 Toasted Slope Syrah
Pelletiere Estate 2017 Montepulciano
Seven Oxen 2015 Tannat