09 Dec Wine and the Pacific Coast Highway part 2
Continuing with the travel plans for our upcoming trip, here’s the plan for day 2!
After arriving the night before in Paso Robles and doing tastings at Cass Winery & Wild Horse, soaking in a hot spring spa at River Oaks Hot Springs and falling over for the night at the Adelaide Inn, we should be well rested and set for a day of West side tastings!
Paso is divided in large part as West 46 and East 46. The East side being further inland is flatter, the West side is tucked into the mountains with winding back roads and lots of trees. On this day we will be visiting some terrific wineries that we have been to before as well as a couple new ones.
We will begin our day at Tablas Creek with a winery tour and tasting. We visited Tablas Creek the last time we were here, but I am anxious to see their new tasting room and to tour the winery. The winemaker here is Neil Collins and the winery itself is a sister property to the Perrin Family’s Chateau Beaucastle in France. They specialize in Rhone style wines here (like Cass) and are one of the founders of Paso Robles “Rhone Rangers”. A friend gave me a bottle of their Vermentino and I fell in love. It, unfortunately is made in small quantities and is typically only available to wine club members.
After Tablas Creek, we will head around to Adelaida Cellars. They were recommended by a friend who is a sommelier and frequents Paso Robles. They are in the North Western part of Paso near Tablas Creek.
From there, we will take a break from wine and do a little Olive Oil tasting at Pasolivio. They have been producing world class olive oil here in Paso for the past 10 years.
We will continue down Vineyard Drive back to Route 46 to have some lunch at the incredible Farmstand 46! When I say I love this place, it’s an understatement. They have gardens to the side of the restaurant where they grow fresh produce and they make some of the best sandwiches and salads I have ever tasted.
After filling ourselves up, we will head across Route 46 to the old Bonny Doon property which now houses Lone Madrone and Kenneth Volktasting rooms. From our previous trip, this was my favorite stop. Lone Madrone is Neil Collins winery (he is also the winemaker at Tablas Creek). Here he makes what he wants. He sources from vineyards in the area working with them to create just the right grapes for the wines he will produce. Some of the vineyards work biodynamically. Typically his sister is running the tasting room. When last we were here we loved “The Will”, the “Barfandel” and “Sweet Cheeks”. I can’t wait to see what new wines they have this year. Kenneth Volk’s tasting room is attached. You will remember he had founded Wild Horse. He is constantly experimenting with new varietals, searching for the next amazing grape.
Also on the property is Fat Cat Farm where you can pick up fresh herbs and garden plants. I think they have a petting zoo also.
One last vineyard stop for the day at Castoro, which is off of Route 46 heading back into Paso. Castoro is a brand you will find on the shelves in the grocery store. While I love tasting wines at small vineyards, where it feels really special to just have a bottle of their wine, I often find myself needing to pick up a bottle of wine at the store, just to enjoy a glass after work. When I do this, I don’t want to dip into the cellar. Those bottles are to open with Michael and spend time to enjoy. If I know more about Castoro and the people there, I can run to Vons grab a bottle and create a better experience for my glass of wine after work, without breaking the bank or having to have wine shipped. It’s a bottle I can open at Midnight for a single glass without guilt. And despite the fact that Castoro wines are readily available everywhere, the tasting room itself is said to be unpretentious. They are known for making “dam fine wines” with a picture of a beaver on the label.
Well, that’s a day! Depending on the hour and how we feel, we will either head back to the hotel, or straight out to dinner. I am waffling between the Artisan and Thomas Hill Organics. We will see! Stay tuned for details on our day 3 itinerary!