Is there anything more exhilarating than hitting the pavement in search of adventure? There’s the open road, the unexpected faces along the way, and—of course—the loud, off-key singing to the radio (a must). In California, Highway 101 is the best road to travel the state, especially if you’re a wine lover. Whether you’re hopping on in Los Angeles to the south or San Francisco to the north, you should plan to stop midway in Paso Robles Wine Country, the land of world class wines and friendly folks. Whether you’re looking for a little escape from the office or a thrilling new epicurean experience, these picturesque tasting rooms off Highway 101 are not to be missed. And with their convenient location you can stop, sip, and roll:
Nestled in the picture-postcard country village of Templeton, Clavo Cellars is a quaint and welcoming tasting room where you can put your elbows on the bar and take a breather. Kick up your boots and take a load off with a taste of viognier, albarino, grenache blanc, sparkling grenache, or vermentino—all of which are well worth stopping for. Winemaker Neil Roberts is obsessed with ensuring the quality of wine “from ground to glass,” and this mentality shines in each and every handcrafted offering. Just ask the man himself. Who knows, he might just be sitting in the next seat over.
Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/ClavoCellars
Lusso Della Terra
With plush coaches and a lounge-like atmosphere, Lusso Della Terra is a perfect place to park your car (and your rear) for an afternoon of relaxation and good conversation. Sourcing grapes from both Paso Robles and Sonoma county means that you’ll enjoy a wide swath of varietals, including Sonoma and Paso Robles pinot noirs (for some fun, try ‘em side by side!). Like the atmosphere of this popular downtown Paso hangout, the wines are “special:” only a small amount of each are produced each year. That means one thing: live in the moment and love the wine, because it may not be around the next time you drive through town.
Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/LDT
You can’t utter the words “zinfandel” in Paso Robles without also talking about Peachy Canyon, arguably one of Paso’s greatest wineries. Whether you seek wild ripe jam or a light berry flavor with a touch of spice, there is a personality-packed zinfandel waiting for you at this downhome Templeton tasting room. Oh, and don’t forget to check out the historic Old Bethel School House, which dates back to 1886 (a fun photo-op for your road trip). They sure don’t build schools like they used to, huh? But, thankfully for us, they still make wine in that good old-fashioned way. Cheers to a delicious Paso tradition decades in the making!
Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/PeachyCanyonWinery
There’s nothing more perfect to break up a long car ride than an adventurous estate vineyard tour at this enticing Highway 46 winery. Stretch your legs and breathe in some invigorating, fresh Templeton Gap air while learning about the terroir of Monterey, Paso Robles, and Edna Valley—the three incredible wine regions grapes are sourced from. Sextant may offer up every wine varietal besides the kitchen sink, but I recommend delving into their array of award-winning chardonnays if you get the chance. Ranging from lush and toasty to clean and bright, there is a chardonnay for every mood—and, considering the fact that you’ve been wine tasting all afternoon—I assume your mood will be quite happy.
Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/SextantWines
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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