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Paso Robles Wine Tasting- Request for recommendations

alaina9yaya Aug 13, 2012 12:07 PM

Hi all,

My husband and I are taking a quick wine tasting trip up to Paso Robles this weekend and were wondering if any of you had recommendations on must-visit wineries. We tend to like smaller wineries that are often off the beat and path or appointment only. We tend to enjoy wines that are dryer, food friendly (my husband is a chef), and more European in style. I know that Paso has some great Zinfandel, but we we tend to steer away from any Zin-centric wineries, since for our personal tastes, we are not huge Zin drinkers.

That being said, we are open to any style, as long as it's made well and tastes good. Some of our absolute favorite wineries in California include Demetria Estate Winery (Los Olivos), Harrison Clarke (Solvang), and Unti (Healdsburg).

Any recommendations you have are much appreciated!!


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  1. g
    goldangl95 RE: alaina9yaya Aug 13, 2012 04:10 PM

    Any price restrictions?

    My favorites are: Villa Creek (you can taste at their wine facility), Tablas Creek, Terry Hoage, Denner (need appt and can be hard to get)

    Other ones to check out are: Epoch and L'Aventure

    Some old threads on the subject:

    1 Reply
    1. re: goldangl95
      alaina9yaya RE: goldangl95 Aug 13, 2012 04:29 PM

      Thank you, goldangl95! I've heard good things about those wineries from other posts and research. I've actually been to Tablas Creek and was impressed with their wines, though the atmosphere can leave something to be desired. The only one that seems to have mixed review is Denner. Not sure why though.

      No price restrictions, per se. Obviously, nothing outrageous. Tastings under $20- my husband and I usually split a tasting anyway.

    2. k
      knows_eats RE: alaina9yaya Aug 13, 2012 05:37 PM

      hi there
      i am not a fan of the big red/typical paso blends but in this area the winery that i like the best
      is tablas creek. nice selection of rhone style reds. your best bet by far based upon what you like.
      up the road a bit is halter ranch - a lovely spot, and they have some nice wines to try as well.
      i would avoid l'aventure - big big complex pricey wines, and anything in the area that compares to that type of wine. enjoy the drive, drive safe and have fun!

      1. f
        foufou RE: alaina9yaya Aug 13, 2012 05:52 PM

        If you like Zinfandels, check out Turley in Templeton.....

        2 Replies
        1. re: foufou
          pamf RE: foufou Aug 13, 2012 06:41 PM

          Paso Robles has a lot of wineries that feature Rhone varietals. Tablas Creek has already been mentioned more than one. I believe they were the originals in the area with an association with a French estate in the Rhone.

          I also like Chronic Cellars. They do use some Zin but make several interesting blends with Rhone grapes and are well priced for the the quality.

          Anglim has a tasting room in downtown Paso Robles (the old train station) and they also use a lot of Rhone varietals for their blends. The in-town tasting room is not as scenic as those out in the west side hills, but they have some very nice reasonably priced wines. If you are visiting Paso Robles, you will probably find yourself in the downtown area for lunch or dinner at some point and it might be an easy stop.

          1. re: foufou
            foufou RE: foufou Aug 13, 2012 09:27 PM

            reading is fundamental (lol)...overlooked that you do not like Zinfandels.

          2. b
            Bruce in SLO RE: alaina9yaya Aug 13, 2012 09:21 PM

            I'll offer a couple other choices. Windward, a Pinot Noir specialist invery Burgundian style. In addition, Bodegas de Paso downtown. try all their wines.

            1. a
              araknd RE: alaina9yaya Aug 14, 2012 09:09 AM

              I would recommend Chateau Margene. The winery is way out in Creston, on the east side. Great Cabernet and Meritage. They do have a tasting room on the west side at Vineyard and Peachy Canyon. Right next to the tasting room is Opolo. Also out of the way is Nadeau Family Vintners. Nadeau does do a lot of Zin, but they also do a substantial Syrah and Rhone blends.

              2 Replies
              1. re: araknd
                goldangl95 RE: araknd Aug 14, 2012 11:46 AM

                Huh I've only been there once. Peoples' tastes are different so this doesn't mean much. But I really disliked Chateau Margene's wines for the price. Felt they were very unbalanced wines lots of over the top hot fruit.

                1. re: goldangl95
                  araknd RE: goldangl95 Aug 19, 2012 10:37 AM

                  Then we agree to disagree. Everyone's taste is different. Opened a bottle of Chateau Margene's 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Friday night and enjoyed its full bodied dark fruit intensity.

              2. n
                Nowinesnob RE: alaina9yaya Aug 14, 2012 02:39 PM

                There are many great wineries in Paso, I would avoid Tobin James if you are looking for anything more than a crowed, noisy wine tasteing room. Their wines are for the most part unremarkable and in some cases undrinkable, there Chardonay is just plain awful as is most of the reds, the zin being the most palletable. The only comparison I could make to the vast majority of their wines would be taking a glass of grape juice and adding a splash of alcohol. The popularity of this winery is beyond believe, it is not bult on anyting close to good wine. Having a wine room that is no more than patrons getting drunk and acting foolish does not make for a good time. If that is your cup of tea then go for it. If you want to taste exellent wine I suggest you go somewhere else and just drive right on by Tobin James on Hwy 46. Tobin James is currently makin a big push to becoming a Super Market wine they already in Costco, Von's Pavillion and Whole Foods. Volume sales at Super Markets and outlets may help them have a better bottom line but it surely won't help them produce a drinkable wine.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Nowinesnob
                  OldJalamaMama RE: Nowinesnob Aug 15, 2012 10:57 PM

                  Brochelle and Hug are next to eachother off of 46 E- what about Niner- is that the cool place with the heart of oak trees?

                  Have fun- it will be HOT.

                2. a
                  alaina9yaya RE: alaina9yaya Aug 16, 2012 01:39 PM

                  Thank you everyone for the recommendations! Based on our research and all of your kind responses, we have come up with a tentative list of wineries to visit. Here they are:

                  Linne Colado
                  Jack Creek
                  Edward Sellars
                  Alta Colina
                  Terry Hogue
                  Villa Creek
                  Ambyth Estate

                  How does this list look to you? Does anyone have any feedback on the above wineries? 'Must-visits'? 'Don't-bothers'? We likely won't have time to visit all of these wineries, so any feedback would be great!

                  Also, if we left anything off that is absolutely fabulous, let me know.

                  Thanks again everyone!

                  Oh, I should mention that while we love Tablas Creek, we have been there 2 or 3 times in the past and are looking for some new wineries to try during this trip.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: alaina9yaya
                    PolarBear RE: alaina9yaya Aug 16, 2012 03:03 PM

                    Might consider adding Kenneth Volk to the list.

                    1. re: alaina9yaya
                      goldangl95 RE: alaina9yaya Aug 16, 2012 04:52 PM

                      I think it's a good cross section of Paso Robles - big wines and more restrained wine.

                      Villa Creek and Terry Hoage are very similar - I would absolutely go to one of them but you don't necessarily need to go to both. Neither need an appointment (if you fall in love with one I'd highly suggest you drop by the other). They both have minimalist rustic tasting rooms (a shed, in the warehouse of the tasting facility). They both make whites and reds I'd say of a similar intensity. You can often meet the owner/winemaker/assistant winemaker depending on the day.

                      Booker and Linne Colado are similar - I think you should absolutely go to one of them but maybe not both. Their tasting rooms are not particularly scenic but are tasteful and well done with some seating. Both of them make huge big wines (but balanced). Linne Colado usually doesn't have wine to sell - you get to taste but not buy if you become a member because they are running out. Booker runs out of their wine and closes their tasting room sometime around now - so call ahead.

                      I'd keep L'Aventure it's in a different style from the rest of the wines on your list.

                      I like Alta Colina's wines. I've never visited their winery.

                      Not very familiar with Jack Creek, Edward Sellars, Windward or Ambyth Estate.

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