In 2010 we had an opportunity to spend a couple of days in Paso. My friend Al had recommended Lone Madrone and boy am I glad. The grounds are artsy and fun. They have a small petting zoo, picnic grounds and share space with Fat Cat Organics, which sell potted herbs and plants (all organic). There is also a separate tasting room for Kenneth Volk (more on that later).
The tasting room was almost empty when we got there. It was late in the day in the middle of the week and there was only one other person in the tasting room, a local friend of the vineyard, who gave us great insights on other winery’s as well as his favorites here. Jackie did our tasting and I am grateful that it was quiet and we had the opportunity to monopolize her time. The tasting room is beautiful with the shop filled with local artist’s wares and fair trade goods. The wines are exceptional.
Neil Collins is the winemaker (Jackie’s brother). He is also the winemaker for Tablas Creek (more on them later). He believes that great wine begins with the grapes. He sources his grapes from local growers who grow sustainably. Some of the wines are biodynamic (I know, love or hate it, biodynamics shows a reverence for the ground and the grapes and I say that can’t be bad!) Here we tasted their 2007 “Sweet Cheeks”. This is a desert wine where the Viognier is allowed to raisin and then is pressed. It is delicious. We also loved “The Will”. This wine won a Gold Medal in 2010 at the San Francisco Chronical Wine Competition and Double Gold Medals at the 2010 San Francisco International Wine Competition. It is a blend of 41% Grenache Noir, 40% Petite Sirah, and 19% Zinandel. They claim it WILL stain your teeth. Called “The Will” as it is organically dry-farmed on Will’s Hills of the Heaton Vineyard.
The last of our Favorites here (and this was hard to pick because we loved everything!) was the 2007 Barfandel, which they call the Barf. Jackie shakes her head at her brothers sick sense of humor and that she has to daily pour tastings of a wine called the “Barf”. This is a blend of Zin, Petite Sirah, and Barbera which is really delicious.
The wines here are genious! Don’t miss this place!