Picking the best of Paso Robles wineries is not an easy task. There are nearly two hundred wineries in the area, and the bucolic hills that once fed roaming cattle, now house vineyards and tasting rooms.
The sunny, dry climate, limestone-rich soil, and proximity to coastal air has given this wine region the ability to produce wines as diverse as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as well as a wide range of Rhone varietals. Grapes planted as early as the 18th century – were used to create the sacramental and secular wines of the California missions. The region began producing wine as early as the 1880s, but it has only been in the last ten to fifteen years that the Paso Robles name has received great acclaim.
So, with many choices, beautiful back roads, and nearby beaches beckoning, what are the don’t-miss-wineries in Paso? The answer may lie in which varietal and vintage is preferred.
Pinot aficionados will want to start with Adelaida Cellars. Also known for their Syrah, it’s the estate Pinots – taken from what is reportedly the oldest Pinot vines in the area – that draws oenophiles. The Pinot Noir HMR Vineyard 2013 is a stellar example, with notes of black cherries, cinnamon, rose hips, and wild strawberries.
Syrah is a strong reason for guests to visit the welcoming and charming Eberle Winery, which also offers tours of the estate and complimentary tastings. Current offerings include the 2013 Syrah Rosé, which offers a slightly smoky, slightly spicy depth, and notes of orange, cherry, and spice. The tasting room itself is worthy of a stop, with its stunning stained glass windows and sweeping views of the estate.
Linne Calodo is another excellent stop for reds. A modern tasting room and blends that compel with their complexity make this an excellent choice. But it’s not all about the reds. Wine aficionados praise Trevisan’s Contrarian, a white that combines Roussanne and Viognier. The winery’s Sticks and Stones Grenache blend is another wine worth remarking over. Dessert wine fanciers will want to taste Nemesis, rich and sweet with blackberries and strong floral accents.
Villa Creek Cellars has several complex wines that make this vintner a standout. Villa Creek Grenache, amid the blend of Tempranillo and Rhone in its Mas de Maha are two must-tastes.
Also interesting is High Road, a Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvdre blend. Known for its unique blends, there is always an interesting wine at Villa Creek Cellars worth tasting.
The Robert Hall Winery is a big name with a large showroom, sweeping grounds, and ample tastings of reserve and other wines. Bocce ball courts flank the tasting room and shop for post-tasting recreation. Tours of the largest wine caves on the Central Coast include a barrel tasting. As to the wines themselves, among the highlights are a 2013 Roussanne is rich with pear, honey, and the floral touch of chamomile tea; the distinctive Orange Muscat has a balanced citrus sweetness all its own.
Tablas Creek Vineyard offers outstanding reds and whites, ranging from table wines to complex vintages such as the Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc, redolent of rose petals, anise, and white currants. The biggest focus is on reds such as the Cotes de Tablas, a superior blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvdre and Counoise.
With so many wineries to choose from in the region, there’s something for everyone here and many more worthy contenders for any “best” list.