With its dreamy, manicured gardens, jaw-dropping artifacts (Egyptian sarcophagi included), and dramatic, craggy coastal backdrop, Hearst Castle is, hands-down, the Central Coast’s coolest cultural excursion. Spring is just around the corner, and in Paso Robles Wine Country, that means leisurely road trips up the coast to visit the grand castle in all of its ornate glory. Of course, we locals know that the drive up Highway 1 to San Simeon is half the fun. On the way, you’ll want to take in the salty sea air, soak up the glorious sunshine, and sip on a plethora of world-class wines, of course. I think you’ll find that these selections are as rare and alluring as any young starlet who had the good fortune of entering Mr. Hearst’s good graces.
1. Cutruzzola Vineyards
At Cutruzzola Vineyards, even the grapes whisper of coastal escape. Grown just 6.5 miles from the Pacific Ocean and just east of glittering Cambria sands, riesling and pinot noir ripen to balanced, elegant perfection. On a sunny, breezy day up the coast, you’ll be itching for something refreshingly dry: Reach for a taste (or glass) of Cutruzzola’s small-lot classic dry riesling, perfect when paired with a packed cheese plate picnic. With a zesty finish and notes of melon, lime, green apple, chalk and crushed quartz on the nose, you will want to purchase a bottle to remember the day by.
Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/Cutruzzola
2. Cayucos Cellars
With its cheery, ocean blue exterior and ocean front locale, you can’t miss Cayucos Cellars, proud purveyors of “wines by the sea.” Here, wild, natural yeast, extended aging in neutral oak, and a “go with the flow” winemaking mentality make for decidedly laid back, beachy wines that naturally impress. Sip on the family owned winery’s 2010 Chardonnay and you’ll see just what I mean. Tart and sweet as a freshly cut pineapple, this honeyed wine is the personification of the perfect spring afternoon spent leisurely walking barefoot in the sand.
Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/CayucosCellars
Cayucos Cellars 2010 Chardonnay
3. Harmony Cellars
As you stroll the quaint, pebbled pathway through the historic dairy town of Harmony, a thought may occur to you: “Am I dreaming?” Although you may feel like you’ve entered a storybook land, you have, in fact, just experienced what we locals know as the “Harmony effect.” After your tour of the fascinating glass blowers and cute chapel, be sure to visit Harmony Cellars, which overlooks the coastal
town below. This succulent and crisp pinot gris is just the thing to bring you back to reality—although you really don’t have to wake up just yet!
Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/HarmonyCellars
This blog was written by Hayley Thomas, food and wine writer for New Times and PasoRoblesWineries.net. You can reach her at [email protected].
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