This past weekend, we traveled with our friends Dave and Sarah to the Paso Robles Wine Country. It turned out to be two fantastic days of great food, great company, and outstanding wine.
Our first impression of Paso Robles came in 2011 and we liked it so much we returned again on our 2013 California wine trip. Dave and Sarah made their first trip to Paso in 2013 and really enjoyed it too. It’s always fun to share a bottle with them, so we decided to plan a return trip to Paso Robles together.
Accommodations were at La Bellaserra Hotel & Suites on the strength of two previous visits. They offer a nice level of luxury at decent prices that make this hotel a perfect home base for a Paso Robles wine adventure.
Paso Robles wine is really coming along. They aren’t up to par with Napa or Sonoma in our opinion, but they’re still outstanding in their own right. Here are some of our favorites along with our dining choices.
No trip to Paso Robles would be complete without a visit to Herman Story Wines. They’re one of our favorite wineries and one of only two wine clubs we belong to. Winemaker Russell P. From gave us a sneak preview of his spring releases and let us taste barrel samples of the 2012 On the Road Grenache, 2012 JS Syrah, and 2012 Nuts and Bolts Syrah. All three of these wines really wowed us with their full-bodied complexity and velvety texture.
Another fun stop on Day 1 was Paso Underground. It’s a collective tasting room right on the downtown square comprised of four wineries: Aaron, Clos Selene, Edmond August, and Turtle Rock Vineyards.
We tasted at both Aaron and Clos Selene and were impressed with both. One of the fun aspects of tasting here was winemakers Aaron Jackson (Aaron) and Guillaume Fabre (Clos Selene) were pouring their wines. They were both passionate, interesting, and took time to answer our endless questions. And, both wineries featured outstanding wine.
Dinner that night was at McPhee’s Grill in neighboring Templeton. It had the vibe of an old school steakhouse with friendly service and outstanding food. We all thoroughly enjoyed our meals, which were accompanied by 2011 Herman Story Nuts & Bolts Syrah.
We spent most of the day touring wineries on the west side of the wine region. Some of our favorites included Sextant Wines, Tables Creek Vineyard, and Kenneth Volk Vineyards. You’ll likely see reviews of wine from all three wineries in the coming months since we purchased a few bottles from each.
Lunch was at Second Press Wine Bar & Eatery, a new restaurant on Paso’s downtown square. We all enjoyed our meals while sitting in the bar and watching the Patriots play the Broncos in the AFC Championship game.
Dinner was at Artisan, a repeat from our last trip to Paso Robles. It’s also on the downtown square and features a tasty bistro menu. I enjoyed a lamb cassoulet which was a real treat. We shared a bottle of 2010 Kenneth Volk Enz Vineyard Zinfandel with our meal.
It took us five hours flat to get to Paso Robles from San Diego. I’m sure we’ll be back before too long.