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Oct 11, 2012 07:59 AM

Another Paso Robles Winery Question (with specifics)

Hello All,

Next weekend the wife and I are going to swing by Paso Robles on the way home from a Big Sur weekend. We have only been down there once 2 years ago (live in the SF Bay Area).

We plan to go back to Denner (and have an appt) which we loved.
We went to Tablas Creek last time and weren't that impressed. It was a bit crowded and the wines weren't as solid across the board.
We wanted to go to Justin but it looks like that is their harvest weekend.

We would like to find 2 - 3 more wineries to visit in addition to Denner. We enjoy:
Syrah over Zin (though one quality Zin place isn't terrible); Pinots are also great
More European style (earthy and dry over fruity and heavy)
We also appreciate oaky chardonnays and crisp acidic sauviogon blancs
We will buy bottles in the $20 - $60 range. Denner is our $60 place so would like to find some places that had quality bottles in the lower price range too.

Any suggestions for places to go would be appreciated.



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  1. Next weekend is the Harvest Festival for Pao so expect the area to be mobbed. A list of what each winery will be doing can be found at this link

    For Justin, unless their policy has changed since they were sold, you will not be able to taste their better wines unless you are a member.

    Nomally I'd recommend Tabals Creek for Rhones, but they have had two bad harvest in a row so I don't know what to expect.

    You may consider Le Cuvier. John is a bit of a maverick in the area and he put's out plain good wines.

    For an oaky chard, try Dunning. His Chard is an oaky Napa stly.

    5 Replies
    1. re: mike0989

      What's Harvest Festival like? We tried to avoid it when we lived in Sonoma b/c we aren't really into large crowds. We more like being able to drive through the country-side sipping good wines where you can chat a bit with the people making it...

      Didn't realize Justin was sold. Has their quality changed?


      1. re: bennyscuba

        Paso is diferent than Napa\Sonoma. They have so far retained their rural feel and attitude. You will run into crowded tasting rooms. Some may be closed at specfic times for special events, so check the schedule.

        Fuji water bought Justin. To my knowledge, they still have the same winemaker.

        1. re: mike0989

          "Fuji water bought Justin."

          Did you mean Fiji Water? I cannot imagine Fuji Water (in Japan) buying a California winery.

          1. re: mike0989

            Yeah that was our impression last time we were down there - we loved how chill everything was. Also liked the fact that most of the houses were architecturally interesting and not the overtop style you often see in Napa...

            Since we will be there during Harvest Week is there a good reason to rethink "wanting to avoid crowds" and anything compelling worth checking out? Again this would be for Sunday, so the end of the week...

            1. re: bennyscuba

              First Fiji water. Bad hair day. Fat fingers and can't spell.

              Sunday things usally start winding down so the crowds won't be as bad. Most wineries are doing their big events either Friday evening or Saturday. Checkout the link in my first post. If something jumps out at you, give it a shot. About the only caveat I can add is the better wineries tend to be on the West side. Dry farmed for the most part and the terrior really comes hrough. The East side is irrigated and the soil is different.

      2. Thacher in the Far Out Wineries group - SFO wine show Best of Reds winner.

        1. I'm from the central valley and we go wine tasting over there all the time. One of our recent favorites was Oso Libre, and if you like a pretty drive on the way this one will be great. They're way down winery drive and there are a bunch of others to stop at on the way if you like (I also love opolo, which is down the same road). We know the owners at Oso and they are so nice! It may be a bit crowded because of the festival, but you'll fund that everywhere and at even when they're busy they make everyone feel at home and the wines are definitely worth it!

          1. Forgot to add that the bottles we bought were in the $30 range :)

            2 Replies
            1. re: emarie527

              Thanks - some more to add to the list..And I like that price point!

              Also should have asked at the top - any recs for a good place to pick up lunch. Thinking a picnic style lunch is a good idea so something along the lines of an Oakville Grocery where you can get nice salads, sandwhiches cheeses etc. to go...

              1. re: bennyscuba

                Try Di Raimondos on 13th street. Best cheese in town. They will ahve other provisions for you as well

            2. My absolute favorite in Paso is Adelaida - lovely tasting room and not far from downtown Paso - definitely worth a stop! It is right up your alley with what you are looking for with wine (at least reds).

              (I know what you mean about Tablas Creek - I expected to be impressed, but it fell flat for me!).

              1 Reply
              1. re: The Oracle

                second the rec for adelaida. we also enjoyed tobin james, although they are sort of the exact opposite. adelaida is elegant, old world, and tobin james is bold, in your face fruit and high alcohol. we did pick up some great wines from both places however, as well as chumeia.