First Wine Tasting Trip to Paso Robles
Planning a visit next month to Paso Robles and would appreciate your thoughts on top 5 or so wineries in the area.
For sheer loveliness of a drive and some individual award winners, take look at the group called "Far Out Wineries" out Peachy Canyon Road. They have a website.
LOTS of choices ! Can you give us some idea what you are looking for?
Do you want the absolute top rated wine? Looking for cool tasting rooms? Great views and atmosphere? Food? Will you be there on a weekend or during the week?
Paso Robles has gotten expensive. A lot of the reds have inched up into the $40 range a bottle. My top five would be (for someone's first time):
Justin (furthest out of my recs)
Tablas Creek (very well balanced reds and whites - a little more restrained in style)
Daou (great new tasting room, whites are great, reds seem to be getting better)
Denner (if you are going during the week you can try calling and getting in, they have very little wine to sell so they are mostly restricted to members these days)
Terry Hoage - Small tasting room, really like their wines
Villa Creek (if Denner doesn't work out - tasting @ wine facility very bare bones - great wines)
I hope you don't mind my horning in on your post, but I am also planning a first trip to Paso with my husband and adult children in August and would love to hear what people recommend. As I will be the designated driver and won't be drinking, I'm interested in wineries in scenic settings or with interesting things to do besides tasting wine. We will be there Sunday-Wednesday. Food would be nice. My husband and kids are more interested in learning about and sampling wines than getting the absolute top rated wines. Thanks in advance for your ideas.
Unlike say, Napa - there aren't too many sights to see at wineries (to my knowledge). Justin, Tablas Creek and Daou (and Denner if you can get in) are rather picturesque with views. But they don't have the art collections, sculpture gardens etc.
Restaurants in Paso worth trying are:
Thomas Hill Organics
Villa Creek has a nice happy hour
Sculptera Winery has a beautiful open sculpture garden and bi weekly singer songwriter concert series Sunday afternoons, called Songwriters At Play. Great quality touring musicians from all over. Pass the hat. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimg944/...
For a look at a local Paso radio station that has tuned into its demographics ( locals, businesses and travelers) tune into 92.5 Krush radio. light rock and singer-songwriter music but interspersed with all sorts of wine industry analysis and interviews. Interesting shows and lots of event listings. http://www.krush925.com/shows.php
Again, I will recommend Far Out Wineries website - lets you plan a very scenic route and the wineries are small where you can get a lot of individual attention - some have food and snacks other have more substantial offerings. The website tells you what is what for each of them. If you can do this a week-day instead of the week-end, you will have a more serene time. http://www.faroutwineries.com/
Just being out in the quiet country can be beauty enough. Bring a good book, iPod, sunglasses, binoculars, a camera and/or some hiking shoes and just wander around the surrounding country side while you exercise your DD duty - good for you to do this -- these roads are narrow and only two lane. One needs to pay close attention because others may not be as responsible are you are.
If you decide to do the Far Out Wineries route, be sure to take the Peachy Canyon Road out from Paso Robles - a little tricky to find where it starts - I think it is out 4th or 5th streets through a residential area before it finally leaves town and changes its name to Peachy Canyon Road.
PS. The Far Out Wineries that offer event and wedding spaces are often the more scenically interesting. We are partial to Thacher Winery ourselves having attended an event there in the past and found the owners were so helpful and gave us a special background tour and preliminary tastings when we went back later for tastings. Doesn't hurt for them to also have an award winner best of reds Zinfandel at the last SF wine show either.