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5 Award Winning Paso Wineries To Bowl You Over

Forget the academy. The Oscars might be a big deal for actors and actresses, but wineries have their own benchmarks for excellence. It comes in the form of stellar reviews, gold medals and—of course—points. You’ve seen the glowing accolades emblazoned on plenty of tasting lists, right? 90 points from Wine Enthusiast! 94 points from Wine Spectator! Ever wonder how these wines are scored? Well, read on to discover just how—and why—top marks matter. Yes, we like these. We really, really like these.

1. What makes a Winning Wine?

Well, it should be good, right? But how do critics quantify yum-factor? For better or worse, the 100-point wine rating system has become the benchmark of quality in the wine industry. The system rates many aspects of wine quite well, including production quality, but, of course, the best barometer of what you like is…well… your opinion. Still, points can be incredibly useful, especially when you’re new to a winery or seeking out the crème de la crème for a special event. Here’s a good rule of thumb: 90-94 wines are considered “superior” to “exceptional.” 95-100 wines are fantastic benchmark examples or considered “classic.” You really can’t go wrong with anything above 80. When you dip from 70-50, beware. You may get into some less-than-appealing flavors. That said, awards, gold medals, and praise also factor into the prestige of a particular bottle. Read those reviews and do your research; like the making of a great film, there simply are no shortcuts when it comes to crafting great wine.

2. Rocking It

And the winner is (that JUST sold-out): Rendarrio 2014 “The Rocker” Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles 93 points; The Tasting Panel

“I am very lucky to source 100% of the vineyard fruit from Clare Ranch Vineyard located in the sought-after Templeton Gap area of Paso Robles. This Cabernet is a very stylish effort that combines richness and density with finesse and refinement. As a youngster, this is appropriately powerful and by black cherry, licorice, currant, and loamy, gravely earth.”

– Rendarrio Winemaker Ryan Render

Also try: Rendarrio 2016 “The Rocker” Cabernet Sauvignon

Buy Rendarrio wines here
Mapping and directions to Rendarrio

3. Going for the Gold

And the winner is: Michael Gill Cellars

“I have received 17 Best of Class awards since I started entering wine competitions in mid-2013. All of my wines have won gold medals and I just learned from a wine judge that only two wineries in the state can make that claim. We work to keep our quality high.”

Michael Gill, Winemaker

Michael Gill Cellars announced a number of wine awards for 2017, including Best of Varietal and Best of Class for both their 2016 vermentino and 2016 viognier. These same wines were also awarded gold medals along with the best of varietal and class at the Jerry Mead’s New World International Wine Competition (NWICW) held in late February in Ontario, CA. Along with the awards from the NWICW, Michael Gill Cellars 2014 syrah was awarded a gold at the 2017 Berlin International Wine Competition (BIWC) and five golds and one double gold for 2016 vermentino at the 2017 Florida State Fair Wine and Grape Grower’s Competition. The BIWC was held in March in Berlin, Germany. The Florida State Fair competition was also held earlier this year. Michael Gill Cellars was also named the “Best Paso Robles Winery” at the Berlin competition.

Buy these award winning Michael Gill Cellars wines by calling (805) 239-1668
Mapping and directions to Michael Gill Cellars

4. Taking the Ox by the Horns

And the winner is: Seven Oxen 2014 Grenache 93 points; Wine Enthusiast

“This wine will continue to develop in the bottle, and will reach its full expression within a few years. Decant it to drink now, or lay it down for the next 5 to 8 years. Pairs well with zesty pizza and pasta, or with a dark chocolate dessert.”

–Bastien Leduc, Vineyard Manager and Winemaker

Seven Oxen’s 2014 Grenache contains 100% of the varietal. This vintage of Grenache is vastly different from the 2013 vintage and reflects a hotter, dryer year in Paso Robles. Strong, concentrated red fruit and cherry brandy flavors are balanced with spicy notes of black pepper and rounded out with a nice, bright acidity. The fruit was harvested from the vineyard’s southernmost slope and aged 12 months in one-year old and neutral French oak.

Also try:
2014 Cassidy Rhone Blend; 90 Points, Wine Enthusiast
Buy now
2014 Mourvedre; 90 Points, Wine Enthusiast
Buy now
Mapping and directions to Seven Oxen that is opening April 29 in their new location!

5. Top of the Class

And the winner is: Hoyt Family Vineyards 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Best of Class, San Francisco Wine Chronicle

“This is our favorite Cab yet. It’s unbelievable round mouth feel, is chewy,fruit forward, leggy and lovely. A sophisticated Cab, very limited production; it will sell out quickly.”

-Hoyt Family Vineyard Team

Also try:
Dylema; Gold Metal Winner
Buy it now
Mapping and directions to Hoyt Family

6. Double the Pleasure

And the winner is: Oso Libre MV Carnal Red Rhone Blend 96 points; Double Gold Medal Winner

“This Rhone blend comprised of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre is an Oso Libre staple. The fruit for this wine were all picked and vineyard sorted on very cold mornings in November. Each of the musts were crushed and cold soaked for two days. Open top fermentation was managed with punchdown and pump-over processes twice daily. The must was kept cool for a long fermentation preserving fruit notes. The wine was aged for 20 months in 20% new French oak, and 70% neutral French oak. The wines were aged separately and blended just before bottling.”

– Jeff Freeland, Winemaker

Also try:
Editor’s Choice NV Rojo del Patron; 94 points
Cellar Selection 2011 Querida Cabernet Sauvignon; 93 points
Learn about these Oso Libre wines and purchase here
Mapping and directions to Oso Libre


 This blog was written by Hayley Thomas Cain, food and wine writer for SLO New Times and You can reach her at [email protected] or follow her on instagram @flavorslo.

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