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Feb 24, 2008 10:48 AM

Central California must visit wineries?

Any central california (monterey, SLO, Santa Barbara, etc..) must visit wineries?


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  1. My sentimental favorite is Caparone Winery in San Miguel. Dave Caparone is one of the pioneers of growing and winemaking with Italian varietals in California. He tends to go for maximum extraction and minimal filtering in the red wines, so don't expect to pick up a 'drink it now' bottle there. Unless he has expanded, his winery and tasting room are all contained withing one small building; if you time it right you might get a barrel tasting.

    EDIT - found older thread on Paso area wineries, looks like I'm repeating myself:

    Caparone Winery
    2280 San Marcos Rd, Paso Robles, CA

    2 Replies
    1. re: DiveFan

      No schlocky themed tasting room here.. You are in the winery here. This is old time Paso wine country before the retired baby boomers took over.

      They used to call one of their heavy reds "steak-in-a-glass".

      1. re: toodie jane

        I love Caparone wines also. I still have a couple bottles of the 1980 cab (their 2nd vintage). A couple years ago, a friend had a bunch of folks over and we did verticals of the cabs and merlots from the mid to late 90s. All really outstanding.

        Dave Sr. retired a few years ago, and the last time I drove by the winery, the tasting room was closed. I know that his sons have stopped selling to Trader Joe's and were planning on charging prices closer to what the wines really are worth.

        With a little googling, I found that they are now open 11-5 daily. Winery is located west of the 101 on San Marcos Rd. Dave and Marc (the founder's sons) are usually at the winery. Prices now have gone up to $14 a bottle.

        Incredible, old-school red wines!


    2. Calcareous and Victor Hugo in Paso
      Foley (west of Buelton)

      1. My votes are:

        For the ambiance:
        Rusack - outside Solvang on the back road to Los Olivos - wasn't the best wine of our trip, but they have a great location with walk out patio that overlooks the hillside and great little area to settle down and have a picnic lunch (Panninos - MMMMM!)

        For the wine:
        Alma Rosa - Richard Sanford's newest venture, on an old dairy farm outside Buellton (10minutes from Sanford, on the same road)

        For the unexpected:
        Sunstone - they have a cool basement storage for all their casks and barrels, I don't remember the wine being exceptional, but it was pretty neat to walk around the more "traditional winery"

        1. This is a great time of the year to visit the wineries. I would pick Alma Rosa and Melville out west of Buelleton. Up in The SLO area, I like Talley.

          2 Replies
          1. re: littlestevie

            I got called away and did not finish. The last time we were up in SB we really had a nice time at Zaca Mesa, their wines have really improved over the years. Paso is great for exploring this time of the year because it is not so ghasthly hot. Tablas Creek has one of the more interesting tasting rooms and their blends are really nice.

            1. re: littlestevie

              In the Monterey area, the tasting rooms are not on the same property as the vineyard. But, the Monterey Transit bus system offers a tasting room route for only $4.25 - a bus comes by each stop every hour with the last bus leaving Carmel Valley heading back to Monterey a little after 7 p.m. It's a great option because you don't have to stay with the group as you would in most wine tours and it's cheap!

              Parsonage in Carmel Valley has luscious estate syrahs. The Boete tasting room near Quail Lodge has a really great cab franc.

          2. Do you have a favorite varietal?

            I like both Adelaide's (Paso westside)and Saucelito Canyon's Zinfandels (tasting room on Biddle Ranch Rd outside SLO)

            Claiborne and Churchill in SLO have a nice dry gewurztraminer.

            1 Reply
            1. re: toodie jane

              I second all of these. I also love Cathy MacGregor, who, last time I checked, was in a tiny industrial park on Sacramento Drive - her own label wines are always good. She also makes Windemere wines.