HOME > Chowhound > California >


Central California must visit wineries?

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


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  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: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/369917

    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.

            2. Linne Colado - really interesting Zin and Rhone varietal blends. Very highly regarding by the wine geeks and press. A small barn. Need to call ahead to make certain they are open. These are great wines for the person that likes fruit-forward style. These wines are not widely distributed.

              Garretson - The Tasting room is in Paso Robles. I've always been treated well and Matt Garretson is a class act.

              Turley - Widely considered some of the best Zin in California. Generally, you can tatse a number of their vineyard designated wines and buy wines that are only sold to their mailing list.

              Loring Wine Company - If you are going to trek to Lompoc you should call Brian Loring and set-up a tasting. Definitely a modern-style Pinot portfolio. Very hospitable and generous with his time and wine. Make sure someone is the designated driver or you spit!

              1. Caparone has been past down to Marc, Dave's oldest son who joined the Paso Robles Wine Alliance (Dave never would) and has raised the prices a bit, and increased production. The wine is still great, and the tasting room is still located in the barrel room. Linne Calodo IMHO is over priced, hyped up, too sweet. It's just one of those places locals don't go to. Victor Hugo is good, but it's not in Paso, it's in Templeton out in the country and they are open by appointment only. I do NOT recommend Turley. They charge a crazy high tasting fee and offer really weird wines that are not even from this area. (Which is such a waste, given they bought the oldest, best vines in the county!)

                If you are going to do Caparone, I would suggest visiting Christian Lazo which located in 10th Street Cafe (the place that does the Basque dinners) in San Miguel, and Locatelli which is also in San Miguel which is the far north end of San Luis Obispo County.

                A little further south, north of Templeton you can visit some great westside wineries in one fell swoop off Hwy 46W, just watch for the signs off the 101. I recommend Windward (exclusively pinot noir), Summerwood's okay, but Midnight Cellars on Anderson Rd is a MUST VISIT. Richard Hartenberger is the winemaker and he has the 'touch'. You will not disappointed with any of the whites, reds or blends there. Grey Wolf is at the end of the road, Joe Barton makes great reds. All are established, boutique wineries and charge ridiculously low tasting fees.

                Further south, in the Santa Ynez area, I agree about Foley, and Blackjack's over there too, they're okay. In Solvang, there are several tasting rooms right in town. Lucas and Lewellen was my favorite there. I hope you have a good trip.

                39 Replies
                1. re: paso_gurl_100

                  "Linne Calodo IMHO is over priced, hyped up, too sweet"

                  If by hyped up you mean highly rated, and too sweet you mean high extraction then yes. They are highly rated, higher extraction wines that command a premium price.

                  1. re: Scott M

                    Agree completely, Matt Trevisan's blends are unique and compelling. Don't see how the ones that are primarily Syrah or Grenache could be characterized as sweet.

                    1. re: PolarBear

                      I haven't traveled deep enough into Santa Barbara wine country, but I do feel like I can comment, at least with some authority, on Paso Robles. For us, the quintessential wineries in that region are:

                      Tablas Creek
                      Linne Calodo
                      Saxum (good luck)
                      Dover Canyon

                      Booker just opened a new tasting room which is quite beautiful. They were best known in recent years as vineyard managers and grape growers, providing berries to Villa Creek, Saxum, and Linne among others, but 2005 marked the inaugural vintage and the "Fracture" Syrah is among the best I've tasted from the area.

                      Without insider hook-ups, I highly doubt you'll be able to pay Justin from Saxum a visit. If you can work it out though, count yourself blessed.

                      L'Aventure is being made by Stephan, a Bordeaux refugee that shows his love for Cabernet berries (seldom grown successfully in Central California) by unconventionally blending with the Rhone varietals more consistent with the area. The Optimus, a bargain at $35 or so, shows his skills brilliantly. If you can get your hands on some very rare "Cuvee Coincidence", you'll be in heaven.

                      Mary from Dover Canyon is one of the kindest and grooviest wine characters in the region. Aside from writing a prolific winery blog, she's also a consummate host and a good ally to have when tasting in the region.

                      As for Linne being "hyped up and too sweet" . . . well, I'd beg to differ. The very brooding and intense "Outsider" (primarily Zinfandel if I remember correctly) is quite antithetical to what people might expect from a Central California winery. It's inky black with a streak of adolescent punk rock, if I do say so myself. The "Sticks & Stones" is a rock star and I'll take it any day of the week. Getting a scant 2 tons of berries out of a single acre is something I'm willing to pay a little extra for, if, of course, that translates to great extraction/balance/elegance. Traits consistent in Linne's wines vintage over vintage.

                      R. Jason Coulston

                      P.S. - You might also want to check out the up and coming wine mavens in Paso Robles. Jacob Toft comes first to mind. I think he just released the 2005 Mary Jane's Cuvee which, consistent with the area, is a Rhone blend. It's great juice at an approachable price.

                      1. re: Jason_Coulston

                        Second on the Saxum. Just drank a 2005 Rocket Block and it was unreal.

                    2. re: Scott M

                      Highly rated by newly converted viti-philes is EXACTLY what I mean by "hyped up". The word 'pretentious' comes to mind. When Justin Smith was still there, the wine seemed a bit more sincere. Nothing against Matt, but there is NOTHING about his wine that "commands" a price any higher than anything Marc Caparone is making or that John Munch is putting out at Le Cuvier, or Mike Debellis sells at Rocky Creek for $15 bucks a bottle. Here's a tip: ask a winemaker. They all get their grapes from the SAME places. There is NOTHING Linne Calodo does (other than reverse osmosis, but that's actually pretty cheap.) that makes their wine worth that much more than any other wine from Paso Robles.

                      1. re: paso_gurl_100

                        Caparone gets his grapes from his winery along San Marcos Creek, 7 miles northwest of Paso Robles. Is that where Linne Calodo gets their grapes too?

                        Also, I hate to tell you this but even within the same vineyard there are varying degrees of quality. You could have two different wines from the same vineyard and depending on when it was picked and from which area of the vineyard you would see a difference in quality. I know you would like to think that all red wine from Paso is the same and comes from the same place.

                        1. re: paso_gurl_100

                          Here are notes by Robert Parker on the 2005 Sticks and Stones. I guess he is just a newly converted vinophile:

                          Parker notes
                          94 points: “The 2005 Sticks and Stones, a blend of 62% Grenache, 14% Syrah, and the rest Mourvedre, has elegant black raspberry, sweet cherry, and blueberry notes intermixed with some pepper and spice. The wine shows a hint of earth and some distant smoky, herbal notes. It is broad, savory, and both full-bodied and elegant at the same time. This is a beauty to drink over the next 5-7 years.”

                          1. re: Scott M

                            Hey now, this disagreement seems to be a perfect reason to do a blind tasting--the May Wine Festival and Central Coast Classic are just around the corner. Wouldn't it be fun to do a Chowhound dinner/tasting? See how the different wineries handle those local grapes?

                            How about it?

                            1. re: Scott M

                              oh, that's funny. Well, if the Wine SPECULATOR gives it a good rating, it's GOT to be worth twice as much as any other wine in the region. Sorry, you're getting ripped off. But the bottles are sure pretty. Especially when your friends find out how much you paid for it, huh?

                              Let's just agree to disagree on this one, guys. I like TJ's idea though. A blind tasting. I would love to do a dinner/ tasting. We can each bring a bottle and line them up. Maybe on the Sunday after either event? We could actually do a picnic type thing, if it's not too hot. Like at Eberle or Still Waters or ???

                              1. re: paso_gurl_100

                                I wasn't suggesting that its worth more simply because of a high rating. You suggested that only new vinophiles hyped the wine. BTW, Parker is the Wine Advocate not the Wine "Speculator".

                              2. re: paso_gurl_100

                                "Here's a tip: ask a winemaker. They all get their grapes from the SAME places."

                                I'll be sure and pass this gem along to Mark and Maggie at Windward.

                                1. re: PolarBear

                                  please do. In fact, I can mention it to Maggie myself when we pick up our kids from school today. It's not an insult, it's a fact. And yes, even the Goldberg's have had to get grapes from Madera or Fresno. Their wine IS EXCEPTIONAL, and DOES "command a higher price" because what you get in a bottle of their pinot is the terroir. When you spend $50 bucks on a bottle of Windward pinot, IMHO, you are paying for what is in the bottle. Linne Calodo is another story.

                                  1. re: paso_gurl_100

                                    Paso gurl 100, are you sure that Windward has gotten Pinot Noir grapes from Madera or Fresno?

                                    1. re: pasoguy

                                      No, I'm not sure. But I know they've bought grapes from other sources, all the locals wineries do. Maybe I should have said, "have had to get their grapes from somewhere else" . For pinot, if they do not come from Paso, they are most likely from Santa Barbara, or San Benito County (where the original Windward grape clones are from, btw).

                                      The point that I am trying to make is that Linne Calodo is not doing anything that warrants charging twice as much as any other local winery for their blends. That turned into an argument about all the grapes pretty much being 'from the same sources', and rock n' roll and some such thing. Not sure how this spun off into a discussion about Windward, but, for the record, they are a great winery, their wines hold their value and are well respected locally (as I am sure you already know).

                                      If you scroll back to my original post where I was trying give poor Buttacup my recs, Windward is at the top of my list.

                                      1. re: paso_gurl_100

                                        With your argument why is one painting (ie. Picasso) worth more than another. If the paint and canvas come from the same place then its all the same. Same paint, same canvas just different artist/winemaker.

                                        1. re: paso_gurl_100

                                          You can not like Linne Calodo, but don't generalize it.

                                          1. re: paso_gurl_100

                                            As the person who originally suggested Linne Colado, I have been following this discussion with a grin and grimace. I sense your cynicism and dislike for Linne Colado wines/winery. To each their own. I have greatly enjoyed Linne Colado wines and respect the creativity of their winemaking. I am certain their style is not for everyone and their prices may not reflect "good value" to many. Baskin Robins offers 33+ flavors for a reason.

                                            You seem to be a bit judgmental. You feel they "are not doing anything to warrant charging twice as much", but I am not certain what your basis for that assessment is. Is it that they buy grapes from vineyards that sell to other wineries that ultimately sell wines for less than Linne Colado? You are probably aware that many wineries buy grapes from the same vineyards, but that does not always mean each wine produced from the same vineyard ends up retailing for the same price. Is it that you have knowledge of their cost structure and think their margins are too high? What is too high? Why do you seem to be so negative with respect to Linne Colado?

                                            I am not a wine novice. I do not think wine novices spend $50+/bottle to experiment. I enjoy many styles of wine and do my best to keep an open mind. Again, not all styles are for every person, which is what I think makes wine so interesting. Reviews in the Wine Advocate and other publications provide a reference point though they are not the main reason I "like" a wine.

                                            The original post requested recommendations for Central Coast wineries. I think the poster might want to determine for themselves whether Linne Colado is enjoyable. I have had very good experiences at the winery and people I have taken to the winery seemed to enjoy the small barn, personal connection to the winemaker and the wines.

                                            1. re: winelvr

                                              Here here, winelvr. The hating and disdain seem somewhat rooted in other issues not obvious to me here, but I'm not sure why one would be so decidedly anti anything in the wine world. It's a big community out there and if somebody is interested in learning about Central Coast Wineries, since that is the subject of this thread after all, it would seem to me that Linne has made a mark on that landscape in one form or another. Isn't it up to the each individual person at the end of the day to decide if they like or dislike the wine?

                                              R. Jason Coulston

                                              1. re: winelvr

                                                Wow! What a kerfuffle! Of course I am judgmental. That is the purpose of this message board, to share our opinions (judgments). A ‘novice’ is someone who is new to something. I would have to say that I am not a novice to tasting wine in Paso Robles. I have been drinking local wines since I was 19 (I’m now in my 40’s), my family has been here since 1979. For the past 10 years, I have been wine tasting at least 3-4 times a month. My husband and I go out on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and try to visit a winery we’ve never tried before. We attend mixers for 2 local chambers of commerce (Paso Robles and Templeton) and a different winery is featured each month. In fact, last month’s mixer was at a winery in Paso. I volunteer at the Zinfandel Festival, the Paso Robles Wine Festival and the Atascadero Wine festival. I first tried Linne Calodo at a fundraiser for the Paso Robles Public Library. There were several wineries pouring at this function, Matt was pouring 2003 Problem Child. The food was heavy hors d’ouevres and I was stuck on sushi, so I attributed the sweetness to a bad pairing. I have been to the winery a few times while entertaining out of town guests, the last time was in 2006 when we took our guests to Windward, Turley, Le Cuvier, Linne Calodo and Pipestone. Our guests bought wine at every winery except for Turley and Linne. Although I don’t have ‘tasting notes’, this visit does stand out in memory as a not impressive experience. The tasting room wasn’t crowded, but the staff was not friendly. (The original post was a request for “must visit wineries”. Based on this particular experience, I would say we could have skipped the visit.) Last September, I attended a gathering at a neighbor’s and she served a bottle of 2003 Problem Child. At this point, the wine was clearly past its prime, over the top sweet, thick and hot, seemingly well over 16% alcohol. That is my opinion. Take it for what it’s worth. I just don’t see the big fuss. I’m not an expert, I don’t use terms like “volatile acidity” or “residual sugars”, I just know what I like and I have a right to share my opinions here like everybody else. I do not claim to have any qualifications other than experience, interest in and a very personal connection with the wineries of Paso Robles. There is nothing in these posts that I would not say directly to the winemaker. I have grown accustomed to paying $12 for a good bottle of wine, $30 for a spectacular bottle. I was shocked to go into a local restaurant a few days ago and see a bottle of Problem Child priced higher than Stephan Asseo’s L’Aventure Optimus, it just doesn’t make sense to me. But that’s JUST MY OPINION. I felt a little attacked by my dissenting opinion of Linne Calodo, and I apologize if some of my posts came across as a “counter-attack”. From a consumer’s standpoint, what Matt is doing is a disservice. Because yes, the cost structure in local wineries do not vary so drastically. From my perception, he is price gouging. For local winemakers, of course, it works in their favor. But I still don’t see many following Linne Calodo’s lead with pricing, I would suspect that either the demand is not there or that they are simply pricing with their conscience. It is not with hatred, or disdain, but from my own experience that I exercise my right to voice my opinion here. I am new to this forum, I enjoy good food and beverages and I like to see new places. I like to seek feedback and share my own. I do not view anyone here as an adversary, on the contrary, we are all on the same team. We are all consumers and we should all look out for each other.

                                                1. re: paso_gurl_100

                                                  To get so heated up over a personal opinion, IMO, is silly. Whether or not your kids go to the same school as another winemaker makes no difference to me.

                                                  Being a local doesn't make one a expert, or a fool, it just makes it easier for the postman to deliver your mail.

                                                  I gave up trying to be the expert- it is too much trouble.

                                                  Share in good fun- life is too short to drink bad wine.

                                                  1. re: paso_gurl_100

                                                    "Highly rated by newly converted viti-philes ...."

                                                    The Chowhound credo is rate the food (or wine) not the person. It appears I wasn't the only one to find this comment condescending and elitist.

                                                    1. re: PolarBear

                                                      I think that's the quote that did it for me too.

                                                      Who cares though? It's all good. We all love wine so let's celebrate our commonalities, not our differences on minutia.

                                                      I thought the debates on the vintage toy boards I belong to were heated, but I see spirited discussions are abound on every message board, regardless of subject matter. It's the passion we all have for food and wine, seemingly, that fuels such conversation.

                                                      As for me, I'm getting ready to close my Friday out and pop a new bottle . . . of Jacob Toft no less. I just received my bottles of the current vintage release of Mary Jane's and I'm eager to see what it's up to.

                                                      R. Jason Coulston

                                                      1. re: Jason_Coulston

                                                        Jason, where did you find the Toft? I'm currently down in Arroyo Grande and having a hard time finding shops that carry a good selection, e.g. stopped in the outlets in Atascadero only to find the wine shop that was there out of business, likewise with Gatsby's in AG. The Albertsons here and in SLO have really shrunken their inventory, found nothing of interest. Any help greatly appreciated.

                                                        1. re: PolarBear

                                                          Have you tried DiPalo at Spyglass? They seem to have a fairly wide selection though their prices may not be the greatest. I have not been in there for a bit but the albertsons in MB was supposed to have the widest selection on the CC, but that may just be an urban myth or a wino myth.

                                                          1. re: littlestevie

                                                            Thanks ls, I'll have to recheck at DiPalo, and you're correct, they are pricey on all fronts. Albertsons in MB does seem to have the best representation of the area, unfortunately probably won't have time to stop in this trip.

                                                          2. re: PolarBear

                                                            We originally had the Toft at a Villa Creek wine dinner hosted by Mary from Dover Canyon. The next day we met Jacob when we stopped by L'Aventure for a tasting. We ended up on the front patio with him for a good solid hour just shooting the breeze about the Paso Robles wine scene. He gave us a bottle of Mary Jane's Cuvee upon our departure then I signed up for his mailing list when we got back from our trip. Last week I received an offering to buy the newest release so I jumped on it. I only picked up 2 bottles but they were really just for tasting. If I like the wine, which I imagine I will, I'll probably pick up another 4 - 6 bottles. For us it's great drinking wine and I remember it being ready to drink young. It's great Paso screwcap wine with a solid vineyard source.

                                                            R. Jason Coulston

                                                            1. re: Jason_Coulston

                                                              Thanks Jason, I found his website and that appears to be the only was to purchase them.

                                                              1. re: PolarBear

                                                                Shoot Jacob an email to his jacob@jacobtoft.com address. I'm sure he'll help you out direct.

                                                                R. Jason Coulston

                                                            2. re: PolarBear

                                                              I love the Albertson's in MB!

                                                              That's where I first found (& started drinking) Fratelli Perata's wines. 1995 Cab. Sav. Reserve for close to $10 a bottle (this was back in about 1997 or 1998). I still have a couple bottles of that in the cooler I'm saving for a special occasion.

                                                              Now Fratelli Perata is a must-stop for me & my wife.

                                                              1. re: alanstotle

                                                                I'm not from the area... where is MB? Do you think the Albertson's has L'Aventure?

                                                                1. re: JojoSF

                                                                  On the coast about 12 mi west of San Luis Obispo. And yes, I believe they carry a couple of Stephan's wines.

                                                    2. re: paso_gurl_100

                                                      You can generalize Paso Robles wineries all you want, yes, many of them get fruit from the same vineyards. But there is a lot more to a vineyard than you are stating.
                                                      Different blocks are on different facing slopes which give them more or less sunlight, some at higher elevation, etc etc, I could go on for days. This provides a vast array of fruit from the same vineyard through using different blocks. Each winemaker chooses the blocks they would like fruit from, meaning they all have different representations of fruit from the same vineyard, they do not have the same fruit.

                                                      But this isn't what I am trying to get at.

                                                      I am here to talk about how, and why, Windward Vineyard came up in this conversation. Marc and Maggie are completly passionate about Burgundian Style Pinot Noir. They made it their mission to find a suitable climate to replicate the Pinot's of Burgandy. The planted their Pinot vineyard in 1990 with 4 clones, 2 of which are French and 2 of which are American. They produced their first vintage of Pinot Noir in 1993, once their vineyards were mature, and have continued to do so since. They only produce 2,000 cases a year, off their single, 15 acre vineyard. I don't know where the comment came that they PURCHASE FRUIT, and especially from Fresno. They have never purchased fruit, and never will as that is not true to the "Monopole" style of winemaking they are achieving - single vineyard wines are Marc's passion and livelihood and he wouldn't have it any other way. And how could they purchase Pinot from Fresno? Pinot doesn't grow anywhere that is too hot, especially not in Fresno.

                                                      I believe you are completely mistaken about Windward Vineyard. Yes, they have amazing Pinot Noir, many say it's the most Burgundian Pinot in California-of which I have no doubts-but they don't purchase fruit. They never have, they never will. Windward Vineyard is passionate about making Pinot Noir from a single vineyard in a Monopole style, and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone looking for a hidden gem on Paso Robles' Westside.

                                                      1. re: Paso_Wine_Lover

                                                        Welcome to the board, in the future may I suggest that you read the posts a little more carefully before shooting from the lip? ;>P

                                                        "I don't know where the comment came that they PURCHASE FRUIT, "
                                                        No one said that Windward ever purchased fruit but rather that it was the general practice of all the wineries in the area. My comment about mentioning it to Mark and Maggie was meant to be in their defense, knowing that they use only grapes grown on site and being a long time admirer of their work, in fact I have a 10 year vertical of the wines.

                                                        "and especially from Fresno."

                                                        I sincerely hope you are just referring to the grapes here, which we're all aware of their uses and limitations.

                                                        1. re: PolarBear

                                                          Thank you.
                                                          Just so you know, that wasn't in rebuttal to your post, but rather to the post from Paso Gurl 100 stating:

                                                          "please do. In fact, I can mention it to Maggie myself when we pick up our kids from school today. It's not an insult, it's a fact. And yes, even the Goldberg's have had to get grapes from Madera or Fresno. Their wine IS EXCEPTIONAL, and DOES "command a higher price" because what you get in a bottle of their pinot is the terroir. When you spend $50 bucks on a bottle of Windward pinot, IMHO, you are paying for what is in the bottle."

                                                          Based on many of the posts on this board, I don't feel people really understand viticulture, but I will just leave it at that. I am not trying to pick fights or frusturate people, I just try to educate.

                                                          So again, this wasn't an attack on you whatsoever, it was a rebuttal to the comment that I have quoted above

                                                          1. re: Paso_Wine_Lover

                                                            My apologies, PWL, I'd totally forgotten any mention of the Madera/Fresno grapes, I guess I found it as preposterous as you that they'd be used in any central coast wines, much less those of the Windward family.

                                                            Anyway, looking fwd to your future posts, I think you'll find we're a pretty friendly, if occasionally sarcastic bunch.



                                                            1. re: PolarBear

                                                              "I guess I found it as preposterous as you that they'd be used in any central coast wines, much less those of the Windward family"
                                                              PB- it's not preposterous, it's a fact! Many, many central coast wineries source grapes from the Valley. Tobin James' very popular sparkling "Dreamweaver as well as a lot of other sparkling wines sold here, come from Fresno, Doce Robles' earliest vintages were from Fresno, in fact, they were farmers there before coming here. What have you got against Fresno, anyway ? aren't you from there? :-P

                                                              1. re: paso_gurl_100

                                                                Should have clarified that a little more PG100, sorry. Yes I cop to being from "Fresburg" but the wines I've seen made traditionally from the grapes here over the past half century damn nearly kept me from discovering the real gems. Probably wouldn't have gotten through college without the help of the Bros. Gallo, Carlo Rossi, and a couple of local favorites, or might have come through with a few more brain cells intact.

                                                                I was referring to the fact that I don't believe we supply any (and least any reputable) makers of Pinot or Syrah with grapes for blending. I know as of the past decade the valley floor and surrounding foothills are growing more and more Zinfandel and, iirc, some Petit Sirah, so who knows, modern science can probably tweak a varietal to put up with most anything. It's all one grand experiment, and I'm a more than willing guinea pig.

                                                  2. re: paso_gurl_100

                                                    Okay, read: I STAND CORRECTED.The Goldbergs do NOT source their grapes. They have gone from producing about 300 cases to 1500 cases on their own property. I had them confused with another winery on the West side (pinot doesn't come from the Valley anyway) I still stand by the rest of my post, thier wine is exceptional commands a higher price. Thank you.

                                            1. re: santabarbarian

                                              My faves to visit:

                                              Paso Robles:
                                              Tablas Creek
                                              Whalebone (relatively new and with great cult potential, get in the wine club while you can!)
                                              Dover Canyon

                                              Santa Barbara:
                                              Foxen (Sea Smoke grapes!)
                                              Zaca Mesa
                                              Rancho Sisquoc

                                            2. These two are favorites. We like Italian wines and always drink wine with food. We just finished a bottle of 2005 Palmina Dolcetto, Santa Barbara County, with our pizza tonight. My wife has it down: stone baked thin crust, lightly covered with Italian cheeses, no tomato sauce, sparse toppings. It’s so good we’re going to buy one of the Italian, wood-fired pizza ovens available in Watsonville. Anyway, the Palmina was outstanding, mildly vivace (detectable fizz) with big flavor. I had previously had the 2003 Palmina Nebbiolo, “Sisquoc”, Santa Maria Valley, at the Los Olivos Café, which I thought was outstanding. Palmina has a little tasting room in Lompoc.

                                              Before the Dolcetto, we finished a bottle of Vista Del Rey, Lot “53”, Zinfandel, “Seda Bolso”, Paso Robles, which was a real “food wine”. Vista Del Rey was suggested to us by another winery on the San Benito County Wine Trail, which I highly recommend also. I believe, these dry-farmed, organic wines are available only at the winery. The address is 7340 Drake Road, off San Marcos Rd. west of Hwy. 101 north of Paso Robles.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: BN1

                                                Life doesn't get much better than that, does it? A wood fire baked pizza and a nice glass of wine. We love Dave King and Vista del Rey, have known him for years and his wine gets better and better. His place is one of the original "boutique" wineries of Paso. Our last visit out there was Harvest Fest in October and he was serving up his 'killer zinfandel' meatballs...he always seems to have food there as well, which is something I wish we could say about more wineries these days...

                                              2. I had a super fun time at Penman Springs in Paso Robles. I loved the friendly family atmosphere. The "mom" and "grandma" with a bunch of food out to taste. It felt like a party at my aunt and uncles house in their little country kitchen. The wine was good too. And mom tried to keep me from paying for it after we chatted for about an hour. These are the kind of people who inspired my interest in wine many years ago.

                                                And, just for the record, I too was quite unimpressed with Linnie Colado. You are not the only one, Paso Gurl.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Rizza

                                                  Next time you go to Penman (I agree, VERY nice people), check out their neighbors, Carol and Franco at Falcon Nest. Very interesting place, good wine. They bought their property in the 70's as a tax write off. They owned an Italian resto in Simi Valley for years. A few years ago they retired up here. The tasting room has a DINING ROOM TABLE and you can get an Italian meal for like $12 bucks! I had the eggplant parm made with a bechamel sauce on top! My husband had a plate of lasagna. Talk about feeling like a welcomed guest, huh? Of course, we bought a bottle to drink with our meal. This was about a year ago, I understand they have expanded, but I hope to go check them out again soon and report back. They stay open until 7:30!

                                                2. This is slightly off topic here, but we are planning to stay a few nights in the Paso Robles area. Someone suggested the Inn at Justin. I am not necessarily concerned about what you think of their wines, but any feedback on the Inn? I am happy to have found this in a search because I will print out everyone's suggestions and pick out some wineries to hit. We will be there in the beginning of July. Of course Turley is one of my favorites, althought their prices have gotten very high, so will definitely hit that.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: robinsilver

                                                    I've not been to the Inn there but I've eaten at the restaurant, Deborah's Room. Excellent ! Very tiny (maybe 6 tables?) but so worth it.

                                                    There are several new choices for lodging in Paso that are pretty nice. Hotel Cheval, La Bellasera , Canyon Villa (not new, but good). Where are you coming from?

                                                    My wine pix are Four Vines, Lone Madrone, Chateau Margene.
                                                    NOT Eagle Castle, Tobin James, EOS, ....and I am not fond of Robert Hall.

                                                    1. re: dockhl

                                                      I haven't stayed at the Just Inn either, but I have to agree with dockhl that there are many choices. The JI is way out there, so if you are looking for a quiet, romantic time, it would be great. But, if you want to get out and see the town, you would be better off at one of the other choices mentioned. Hotel Cheval is right in the downtown core, but I hear it is booked way in advance. If I had the money, I would stay at Villa Toscana. It's right outside the city limits but still remote and romantic.

                                                  2. Thanks doc and pasogirl. I will look into the other hotels. We will be there either July th or 7th, depending on how many days we want to spend in LA.We have to be up in Monterey on the 9th. It looks like it should take us no more than 2 hours to get up to Monterey from Paso. Am I correct?

                                                    1. This has been more than an amusing thread.

                                                      First off, let me say that price is strictly the result of market pressures and really has very little to do with true quality and more to do with Robert Parker's opinions. Like it or not, that is the way it is.

                                                      Wineries that get big ratings tend to raise their prices. Matt has received some fairly large scores, as have Saxum and L'Aventure and most of all their wines have risen in price.

                                                      I don't really know what to tell anyone who is uncomfortable with it but it is the way it is and bitching online about it is as old as the hills and ultimately not very satisfying for the one doing the complaining.

                                                      No disrespect towards anyone intended, I understand how everyone feels. Bottom line is buy the wines you like to support and let the other ones be.

                                                      OK, onto some of my faves in the area: Tensley for his Rhone varietals and his wife has another Label called Lea. (not her name), that makes Pinot Noir and Rosé. Very nice!!

                                                      Kenneth Crawford makes some very beautiful Syrahs and Pinot Noirs.

                                                      Ampelos for Pinot Noir and Grenache. Syrah is good too!

                                                      Demetria has some really nice wines. Great place to visit too!

                                                      Presidio has a line called the Artist Series that is terrific

                                                      Shoot for a great place to visit, Melville and Babcock are both pretty cool.

                                                      Agree on the Foley and Alma Rosa comments.

                                                      Palmina and Fiddlehead are great and located very near to each other.

                                                      Talley if you are down in San Luis.

                                                      Also Shadow Canyon has a tasting room in downtown San Luis Obispo that is really nice! Their wines are exceptional too! Just opened a bottle of their Grenache/Syrah blend called the David Salvador and man is that stuff awesome!

                                                      I could keep on going but time is limited!

                                                      Good luck to everyone in this thread!!

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Wino

                                                        We LOVE Lea Rose!!!! Really yummy and very good with carme asada tacos- especially when served at the Tensley Casa!!

                                                        1. re: Wino

                                                          Wino, a little research shows that a number of these great sounding wines require appointments at the wineries, Would you know if there are tasting rooms that pour several, or even all of say, Tensley, Crawford, Ampelos, Demetria, and Presidio? TIA

                                                          1. re: PolarBear

                                                            Well, Tensley has their own tasting room in Los Olivos that they share with Carina Cellars. Joey makes both the wines and the Lea is there too. Presidio has a tasting room in Solvang.

                                                            I think Demetria has a tasting room but they may require an appointment. Can't remember. I usually make appointments because you get to taste better stuff and learn a lot more about the winery but it depends on how much someone is into wine I suppose.

                                                            Kenneth Crawford is a tough one but I bet they have someone who pours their wines in Solvang. They have a website with phone numbers of everyone who works there, so a call ahead of time to ask if their wines are poured anywhere would be a good idea.

                                                            I can't think of where Ampelos would pour.

                                                        2. Just got back from Paso and can recommend Anglim (downtown, at the train depot) for terrific rhone varietals and warm, unpretentios people. Small, family atmosphere. They really make wonderful wines - we left with a mixed case. D'Ambino in the same building is also small, family run and a fun place with good reds. Stacked Stone is also small, run by a great character whose two golder retrievers bound up to greet you. We left there with a mixed case of reds (he only makes red wine).

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: sbgirl

                                                            Thanks much Wino and sbgirl, really love th syrahs and Rhone blends in the area. Note the correction in spelling for D'Anbino to help with searches (it appears frequently with a "m" replacing the first "n")

                                                            Anglim Winery Tasting Room
                                                            740 Pine Street Paso Robles
                                                            (805) 227-6813

                                                            D'Anbino tasting room
                                                            710 Pine Street
                                                            Paso Robles

                                                            Stacked Stone
                                                            1525 Peachy Canyon Road Paso Robles