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Only 1 Day in Paso Robles: What Wineries to Hit?

MaddyK Jan 11, 2010 08:41 PM

Hi Everyone,

I'll be in Paso Robles for a full day and evening. I am wondering what wineries to stop at? There have been some other posts on this topic as well, but the "must-sees" were so overwhelming that I was still left wondering what were really the top 5--since we only have 1 day we can't see 15 vineyards.

So far here's what I'm thinking:

-Tablas Creek
-Four Vines
-Linne Calodo

Are these totally off-base or good choices?

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  1. d
    dentonfoodie RE: MaddyK Jan 11, 2010 09:30 PM

    Tablas Creek. For sure. All of the wines are amazing, world class.

    1. t
      taboo RE: MaddyK Jan 12, 2010 05:25 AM

      I have heard that Justin is a great vineyard and I have tasted the wines which are wonderful.

      1 Reply
      1. re: taboo
        kaysyrahsyrah RE: taboo Feb 16, 2010 09:03 PM

        I suggest two directions -- West on Hwy 46 to hit Turley and Zin Alley across the street. That will give you a great sense of the Paso Zins. Get appointments for both.

        Then head to Tablas Creek (my vote for best winery in the region, period!), Justin...and Adelaide is back there too.

        Random bonus -- If you end up in Paso town, take a look at Bodegas Robles. Small production, and the 2002 tempranillo was the best I've ever had in this varietal made in the USA.

      2. b
        Brad Ballinger RE: MaddyK Jan 12, 2010 07:48 AM

        Dover Canyon. Ask for Mary Baker. Tell her I said hello.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Brad Ballinger
          SteveTimko RE: Brad Ballinger Jan 12, 2010 01:05 PM

          Mary Baker was laid off last year from Dover Canyon and now works promoting wineries.

          1. re: SteveTimko
            Brad Ballinger RE: SteveTimko Jan 13, 2010 08:21 AM

            Thanks for that update, Steve. I'll have to get in touch.

            1. re: Brad Ballinger
              Mary Baker RE: Brad Ballinger Jan 23, 2010 05:15 PM

              Hi Brad and Steve! Long time ... ;) Minor correction, if I may. I was an investor and managing partner in the winery LLC, so I was not 'laid off'. It was a mutual parting of the ways, and my equity was purchased by the winery. I do indeed have my own consulting business now, and Brad I hope you'll look me up online ... are you on Facebook? Steve, I hope to see you again next time you come through Paso. Anyone visiting Dover Canyon should be sure to ask for winemaker Dan Panico, aka "Dover Dan". Cheers!

        2. c
          chadrich RE: MaddyK Jan 12, 2010 08:02 AM

          You're lucky as Paso is a great place and has a ton of high-quality wineries to choose among. I think a lot depends on what you want to accomplish. Are you looking for great architecture and views (Justin or Calcareous), good dependable wine, to locate wines you typically won't be able to buy at home, or something else?
          While most wineries have something low production for tasting room or wine club only; and I think highly of Four Vines, Justin, and Tablas Creek...my opinion is that you can likely buy most of the stuff you're going to taste there from the wine store closest to your house.
          I perfer to focus on low production places that may not distribute widely (Hunt), or known places that may have a large portion of their portfolio not generally available outside the tasting room or mailing list (Turley).
          I'd also carefully study your winery map considering that you have limited time. I think you'll be investing a fairly serious chunk of your time in going out to Justin, if you choose to do so.
          Whatever you decide, enjoy!

          1 Reply
          1. re: chadrich
            MaddyK RE: chadrich Jan 12, 2010 09:35 AM

            Chadrich, I'm definitely looking more for low production, great wines that may not distribute widely rather than a winery/tasting room that's flash or impressive. It sounds like Hunt or Turley would be more up my alley...thank you for your suggestions!

          2. n
            NoshLibation RE: MaddyK Jan 12, 2010 08:23 AM

            L'Aventure...The Estate Cuvee is stunning!

            1. njfoodies RE: MaddyK Jan 12, 2010 10:34 AM

              Just for fun, make Tobin James your last stop one of the days, and be there around closing time when they lock the doors and start pouring full glasses of their high octane fruit bombs. Always proves to be a great time, especially if you're in the mood for some HUGE, fruit forward wines! -mJ

              1. ibstatguy RE: MaddyK Jan 12, 2010 10:36 AM

                You've got a very nice line up there. Justin is failrly close to Tablas so make sure you hit that one.

                1. SteveTimko RE: MaddyK Jan 12, 2010 01:19 PM

                  Four Vines is good. I thought their 2007 Dusi was the best zin I tasted during two days of tasting in Paso last year.
                  Love Tablas Creek. You can't go wrong there. Down the road nearby is Adelaida.
                  Linne Calodo is relatively close to Four Vines. Their wines have gotten big and too expensive for me.
                  I Hadn't tried Denner before this last trip and they were a pleasant discovery.
                  I'm a great fan of Hug, Edward Sellers, L'Venture, MacPrice Meyers and a younger guy whose name I can't remember but I'll add later. Kukula makes a wine I've tried twice and like a lot.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: SteveTimko
                    PolarBear RE: SteveTimko Jan 12, 2010 03:24 PM

                    Totall agree re Sellers, L'Aventure, and MacPrice Meyers. Are you thinking of Jacob Toft, he can be found pouring at L'Aventure at times. Dark Star's winemaker's (Norm Benson) son is getting a lot of rave reviews lately, Brian Benson Cellars.

                    1. re: PolarBear
                      SteveTimko RE: PolarBear Jan 12, 2010 07:05 PM

                      No, it's the guy who is the assistant winemaker at Michaud. His wine name is a combination of his name and his wife's name. I'm spacing it right now.

                      1. re: SteveTimko
                        PolarBear RE: SteveTimko Jan 13, 2010 06:22 AM

                        His website lists Robert Henson as assistant "wine grower".

                        1. re: PolarBear
                          SteveTimko RE: PolarBear Jan 13, 2010 06:20 PM

                          I finally tracked it down, but he doesn't have a tasting room. It's JK Wine Company, The winemaker is Justin Kahler. They bottle under the Katin and Arada labels.

                          1. re: SteveTimko
                            PolarBear RE: SteveTimko Jan 14, 2010 06:26 AM

                            Thanks Steve, had not heard of them, available at the winery only?

                            1. re: PolarBear
                              SteveTimko RE: PolarBear Jan 14, 2010 01:21 PM

                              I dunno. The only time I have them were in the presence of the winemaker. I believe he sells mail order. I think some friends of mine loved them and ordered them from Family Winemakers last year. He sat at my table last year at the Rhone Rangers event in Paso Robles and he joined a group of us for dinner that night at Villa Creek (including the aforementioned Mary Baker).
                              I assumed he'd have a tasting room by now.

                    2. re: SteveTimko
                      chadrich RE: SteveTimko Jan 13, 2010 10:09 AM

                      I was remiss in not mentioning Adelaida. That was our absolute best tasting room experience and some of our most memorable wines from that trip.
                      Also really liked Edward Sellers, and if you're staying in downtown Paso, it's likely an easy walk to hit their tasting room.
                      Linne Calodo-really liked their wines, but the portfolio is somehwat narrow and the prices are on the high side.

                    3. m
                      msaly RE: MaddyK Jan 12, 2010 02:26 PM

                      Contact Scott Hawley of Torrin (scott@torrinwine.com) and make an appoitment if you want amazing small production Paso wine. He pours out of Booker (which is also an amazing winery, but they are not open for their own tastings for a few months).

                      Otherwise, I highly recommend Villa Creek, McPrice Myers and Denner.

                      I usually visit Justin, Jada, Tablas Creek and a few others - but those are more for "if you have the time" in my opinion. All still good, but after finding some of the smaller producers I prefer those above.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: msaly
                        Obessed RE: msaly Jan 13, 2010 08:32 AM

                        Agree - I'd definitely add Jada and Villa Creek (by appointment) to your list. Denner, Tablas Creek and Four Vines are also musts IMO.

                      2. Bill Hunt RE: MaddyK Jan 15, 2010 05:56 PM

                        I'd do Turley, but get an appointment. They have two tasting rooms, so make sure that you get Paso Robles.


                        1. w
                          wineman3 RE: MaddyK Jan 18, 2010 09:11 PM

                          ROBERT HALL

                          1. a
                            araknd RE: MaddyK Jan 19, 2010 08:53 AM

                            Nadeau Family Vinters http://www.nadeaufamilyvintners.com/

                            1. w
                              wynner RE: MaddyK Jan 19, 2010 02:37 PM

                              Hunt - off base
                              Denner - safe
                              Tablas Creek - must see
                              Four Vines - solid
                              Linne Calodo - must see

                              Add to your list
                              Terry Hoage - must see
                              L'Aventure - must see
                              Booker - must see
                              Windward - must see

                              Terry Hoage, L'Aventure, Booker and Windward are all within minutes of each other. Linne Calodo is probably 5 minutes from Booker and Tablas Creek is probably 20 minutes from Booker and 15 minutes from Linne. You can get a very good overview of some of the best wines from Paso all in close proximity and very little travel time. Logistically, start at Terry Hoage Vineyards then Windward, L'Aventure, Booker, Linne, Tablas Creek.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: wynner
                                syrahgirl RE: wynner Jan 21, 2010 06:31 PM

                                We love Robert Hall, we were just there this past Fri. and stopped on our way over to Shell Beach for the weekend. The do a very nice Orange Muscat there. If you like reds, try to get over to Wild Coyote, it is the house of reds, a Southwestern place with excellent Zins and Merlots. Tablas Creek, Bianchi, Summerwood, Villa Robles, Eberle, Peachy Canyon are all very good places to wine taste in Paso. Justin is also a favorite of ours. :)

                              2. perk RE: MaddyK Jan 23, 2010 09:22 AM

                                I was there in October for a very quick trip. Really only had time to go into town, but there's a lovely wine tasting bar/store. I think it's called Paso Wines, and they have an excellent selection of wines from the area. They have a lot of wines available for tasting. I picked up a Linne Colodo, Turley, Alban and RNC. The couple that runs it is very nice and very knowledgeable. I'd definitely make it a stop.

                                1. m
                                  MaddyK RE: MaddyK Jan 29, 2010 02:43 PM

                                  I just wanted to thank everyone for their input and advice. I had a great time in Paso and tasted lots of great wines. I ended up making it to Villa Creek, Denner, Tablas Creek, and Four Vines.

                                  Overall, I thought that Villa Creek was the most interesting and really loved all of the wines there, basically across the board. It was totally worth it to make an appointment and the atmosphere was very laidback, friendly, and cool. I got an amazing Grenache there that I just love.

                                  Denner's wines were delicious all around and the tasting room there is beautiful. Loved their Mourvedre and Syrah blend.

                                  Four Vines had some big, bold reds that were super fruity and worth a stop if you like Zin. Their gourmet cheese/food shop attached is adorable & a great place to order a wood fired pizza with a glass of wine.

                                  To be honest, the only place I wasn't in love with was Tablas Creek, but probably more because of the atmosphere since the wine was great, especially if you like Rhone-style reds--while the staff was nice, the attitude was a little serious and dry for my tastes (not as "fun" as the other places) and felt a little more corporate than the other stops.

                                  Thanks all!!

                                  1. r
                                    Reds Lady RE: MaddyK Feb 15, 2010 12:58 PM

                                    Jada has unbelievable reds as well as a very small winery called Bella Luna. Midnight Cellars also had some enjoyable wines. I agree with other responses Tablas Creek are very good french style wines and Four Vines have great bargains with their Maverick and Biker Zin's. Typically either Maverick or Biker is rated in the low 90's. I found Justin to be snobbish; the servers in the tasting room were a real turn-off.

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