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Not every Sunday drive has to be on a Sunday especially in Paso Robles. Because if you don’t check to see if your favo olive oil company is open on a Thursday and you decide to visit a winery instead but find out the one you wanted to visit is also closed you might end up driving through the back roads of Paso Robles. But if it’s a gorgeous March afternoon and you arrive at the corner of Peachy Canyon Road and Vineyard Road and see sign for Brochelle Winery, Roxo Port and Limerock Orchards it is definitely worth stopping in.
My friend and I took a look around the great tasting room and decided to do some wine tasting with Brochelle. One of the advantages of going to a tasting room on a Thursday afternoon is that you are likely to find a more intimate crowd which is what we found on Thursday. The tasting room attendant Travis was very cheerful and professional and clearly appreciated the wine he was pouring for us.
My husband is the one who faithfully takes a photo of the tasting list but since he wasn’t on this little adventure I failed to get a shot of their amazing wine list. But I must say that every wine on that list was truly unforgettable! The Cabernet Sauvignon is unlike any I’ve ever had before, rich with dark, dark cherries. The two blends offered were nothing short of incredible and the Zinfandel was amazing.
One of our favorite and most often visited wineries in Paso Robles is San Marcos Creek Vineyard.
The winery is located on the southbound side of Highway 101 a few miles north of downtown Paso Robles and well worth the drive. We drove past the beautiful property for years before we started on our wine tasting adventures and always admired the beautiful tudor style “mansion”. Our friends visited the tasting room and absolutely raved about it so it wasn’t soon afterwards that we made a special trip out there. One thing I’ve learned from visiting wineries with this particular friend is that our taste for wine is completely opposite of one another so when she recommends a winery the verdict is still out until I try it myself but surprisingly we both agreed on this outstanding winery. Every wine on their tasting list is superb and though I am a huge fan of Paso Robles wines there are less than a handful of them that I can say that about! The owners Brady and Cathy are almost always in the tasting room to greet you warmly with a smile and share their fabulous wines with you. And did I mention that every wine on their tasting list is outstanding?
I’ve lost count of how many times we have been out to this winery and how many people we have recommended to check it out. We’ve been out there for picnics when family is in town, we’ve told visiting friends and family to head out there and they end up becoming wine club members. Our last big family get-together was spent at the winery for a picnic before Ray’s father passed away. Our friends became club members long before we did and we would pay a fee to attend their pickup parties as non-members. We finally figured that since we were loved their wines and their parties it became an irresistible choice to join the club ourselves.
As you drive north on the 101 past Paso Robles you will pass Wellsona Rd, just a few miles past that you will see a turnout on the left side to cross the highway into San Marcos Creek Vineyard. You will pass by a large pond on the right and may even see a peacock or two and a few ducks. When you approach the front door of the tasting room you are likely to be greeted by Chloe the sweet Australian Shepherd. I love how bright and open the tasting room is and it has some very nice wine gifts and accessories.
We mentioned that this is one of our favorite picnic spots. They have a nice shaded patio with a few tables and a nice view of the pond and vineyards and you are likely to see a peacock up close. Although we love all of their wines, some wines of note from today’s tasting are the 2012 Merlot, 2013 Flings First Crush, and the 2012 Estate Petit Syrah was memorable. All these wines have the classic Bordeaux structure with the fruit forward complexity that this region offers. The White Merlot finally sold out but we hear their will be a new release soon, highly recommend it!
Bookends tasting, as in we started the weekend tasting wine at Pear Valley Winery along with some live music and delicious food and we finished the weekend with a quick trip out to taste at the new winery, Tooth and Nail where Eagle Castle Winery used to be.
We started our weekend by heading out to Pear Valley Winery for a evening of delicious wines, great company, live music and great food. These Friday night Fireside Concerts are very popular and the main room was packed with people so we found a seat at a round table in the corner of the tasting room. Ray and I brought our own pizza to have for dinner (we bought a bottle of the Inspiration which was a GSM blend that paired well with our pizza) but we soon became jealous of our friends who called ahead and ordered dinner from Pretty Cafe when Lisa Pretty delivered an amazing looking lasagna with salad and bread (they bought a bottle of the Zinfandel which was a winning combination). But when Lisa mentioned that she made Tiramisu for dessert we couldn’t resist! We were not disappointed!! If you are ever at Pear Valley Winery and you have the opportunity to order food from Pretty Cafe I am quite confident that you will love it!
Friday night Fireside Concerts are always fun, this Friday duo of Billy and Charlie Foppiano, (father and son) known as “Meet the Foppers” performed some fun songs and even got a few up on the floor dancing!
We finished off the weekend by satisfying a curiosity and checking out the new Tooth and Nail Winery in Paso Robles. Tooth and Nail moved into the old Eagle Castle Winery that closed in 2013. The castle structure still exists and there really isn’t another building like it on the Central Coast. It’s the only winery with it’s own “moat” and you may even feel like you are about to enter medieval times.
Warm sunny Sundays are a perfect excuse to run up to Lowes to look at tile especially if there are great wineries within a few miles of it.
Our friends Corey and Jinky drove up from San Luis Obispo to join us for our trip to Lowes with our bag of cheese, crackers and salami. We drove out past the Paso Robles Airport and a pistachio farm to Le Vigne Winery out on Buena Vista Drive. The tasting room was remodeled last year and it’s very open and spacious with a cheese room, a counter where you can buy panini’s and nibble on a few delicious samples of chocolate or cheese (or both).
A very friendly tasting room attendant named David made room for us at the handicapped counter as Ray’s mom accompanied us. We wouldn’t have guessed it but it was only his second day working in the tasting room but not his second day in the wine industry. We decided to go for the wine and cheese pairing, and why not with the amazing cheese selection in their cheese refrigerator chosen by the Cheese Lady, Zina.
We enjoyed our wines and cheese pairing and especially the Lamb Chopper and a delicious Bleu Cheese. Ray enjoyed the 2009 LV Cuore Della Vigna, which was a wine made in the Super Tuscan style; this particular blend I believe used Petit Syrah with Zinfandel and Sangiovese. It’s always good to get an education in the diverse wine making styles of our area. We purchased a bottle of the Kiara California Sparkling Wine to enjoy with our picnic and Laura got a single glass of the 2012 Merlot. We settled ourselves into one of the tables out on their front patio to enjoy the warm sun and gentle breezes. We all took a moment to notice just how quiet it was out there, it was almost deafening but quite pleasant. The view just beyond the parking lot is seemingly endless vineyards where Laura has pulled over a number of times to photograph the vines in the fall.
Rainy days are few and far between in California lately and are actually quite thrilling for most Californians. It definitely didn’t stop us from piling into our car to head out to a couple of Paso Robles wineries last Sunday.
Our first stop was to Shale Oak Winery on Oakdale Road right across the street from another favorite, Red Soles Winery. Shale Oak has set the standard in Paso Robles for sustainability. The beautiful grand windows at the tasting room let in plenty of light making the need for lighting more of a design accent than a need for illuminating the room. They also take recycling to the next level by having seeds implanted into the tasting list which can be planted to grow wildflowers!
Ray’s mother joined us for this outing and even though she has little interest in drinking wine she enjoyed sniffing our glasses and easily agreed with our taste in good wines. Our favorites this visit were the always fabulous 2011 Petite Verdot and the delicious 2011 Zinfandel.
We had hoped to head up to Rabbit Ridge Winery in Paso Robles where we are wine club members but remembered that there is a new place in downtown Paso Robles called the Rabbit Hole where they are in collaboration with Rabbit Ridge Winery and sell their wines along with a Bubbly Bar. We were greeted by the wonderful Paula and were seated at some comfortable chairs and couch and the coffee table/foosball table with a stuffed rabbit in the chair across from us. The tasting room is very colorful and whimsical to say the least.
The wines were all delicious and Paula was kind enough to give a small portion of wine to my mother in law so she could sniff the wine out of her own glass and even had a couple of sips which she enjoyed.
On occasion I will get a call from a good friend asking me if I would like to accompany her during the week to either pick up a wine club shipment or to pick up some Olive Oil out at Olivas de Oro in Creston. There are other times that we get together for an errand in North County and somehow end up at a winery for a taste or two.
I got one of these calls the other day and yanked myself from my computer where I work at home and jumped in the car with her to pick up some of the best olive oil. Olivas de Oro is owned by two of the nicest people you will ever meet who are very passionate about their olives and olive oils, balsamic vinegars, olive trees and herd of sheep. It was a Chamber of Commerce kind of day in San Luis Obispo County with mild temperatures and wispy clouds when we took the 20 minute drive from Atascadero out to Creston. We were greeted by the owners friendly daughter and the fragrance of some delicious concoction they have set up to sample their oils and seasonings. My friend picked up her stock of olive oil and I grabbed some frozen lamb ribs. On our way out we stopped to chat with the owner Frank Menacho while he was tending to the small herd of sheep that seemed to be very interested in what we humans were up to.
The drive away from the tasting room is something to behold in itself as you pass by the century old Olive trees that Frank and Marti moved from their orchard in Oroville down to Creston.
Following our visit to Olivas de Oro we figured since we were already out in the area of the Creston Wine Trail we might as well find a winery we hadn’t been to in a while. We came upon Hansen Vineyards where we had gone many years ago and really enjoyed talking with the owner and tasting his wines. The owner was there in the tasting room and we were served by the cheerful Marina and her little dog Jules made sure we knew that he was glad we were there. Hansen has a fabulous Viognier that I took home and their Cabernet Sauvignons are powerfully delicious!
Nothing like a midweek adventure out to the Creston Wine Trail, it’s definitely worth the drive!