How do you mark a special holiday occasion? Do you light a fleet of favorite fall-scented candles or bake a big tin of your grandma’s famous triple fudge-walnut brownies? Perhaps you decorate to the nines with baubles on the highest bow; or your style might be to keep festive occasions simple and country chic. Regardless of your holiday entertaining style, a quality bottle of Paso Robles Port-Style wine can do wonders in setting the mood. Amplify the rich, celebratory flavors of the holidays and share something special with your closest comrades. Here are five Paso Paso Port-Style wines you should be pouring this December:
Hold up. What exactly is the difference between Port and Port-Style Wines?
Port: A fortified wine, typically sweet and red dessert wine, but also comes in dry, semi-dry and white varieties. “True Port” is produced exclusively in the Douro Valley in the northern provinces of Portugal. Plenty of awesome Paso Robles wineries produce “Port-Style” Wines with delicious—often creative—results. Pair with: Strong cheeses; work into sauces featuring chicken, duck, or beef. You can also drizzle these dessert wines over vanilla bean ice cream or sip alone in a pretty glass.
1. Peachy Canyon 2016 Port-Style Wine
Why it’s awesome: A true Paso Robles classic
Peachy Canyon is known for its fruity, “classic Paso Robles-style” Zinfandel wine. It’s no wonder, then, that the iconic winery recently took home 96 points from Tastings.com for its 2016 Zinfandel Port-Style Wine, which is as berrylicious as it is festive. Fortified with a blend of over 13 vintages of estate grown Zin, this wine boasts 13 years of oak barrel aging (not bad)! Noted by critics as “a superb, complex domestic Port-Style Wine with long waves of rich berry, spice, and honey flavors and an enticing layer of ice wine-like stone fruits,” this Platinum Medal winner tops the list as a coveted stocking stuffer.
Pair with: Stilton Cheese and Blackberry Preserves
Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/PeachyCanyonWinery
2. Écluse Wines Finis Port-Style Wine
Why it’s awesome: Fruit Forward Zing
Featuring exceptional Zinfandel sourced from Écluse Wines’ estate Lock Vineyard in Paso Robles and crafted using the Solera method of fractional blending, this special non-vintage dessert wine is velvety smooth and full of fresh, jammy fruit. A Silver Medal winner at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Finis has been known to bowl over even the staunchest Port skeptics in the tasting room. Barrel aged to bring out richness, complexity, and depth, Finis—French for “Finish” is the perfect end to your next magical holiday meal.
Pair with: Dark Chocolate
Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/EcluseWines
3. Riverstar Vineyards & Winery’s 2012 Estrella Brilliante
Why it’s awesome: Best Ice Cream Topping Ever
Made with 100 percent Touriga Nacional from Paso Robles, Riverstar Vineyards’ fortified dessert wine is dense and flowing with blackberry and floral aromas. With black fruit flavors and a truly velvety finish, this wine goes gangbusters with Mexican chocolate and is a dream when drizzled over vanilla bean ice cream. Pour it on!
Pair with: Vanilla Ice Cream
Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/RiverstarVineyards
4. Sculpterra Winery’s Jagger’s Primitivo Port
Why it’s Awesome: Replaces Figgy Pudding Once and for All
Displaying aromas of ripe fig and caramel with chocolate undertones, Sculpterra Winery’s non-vintage blend brings together five years of fantastic Primitivo pleasure. With aromas of ripe fig, rich chocolate, raspberry truffle, and toasted jam, your sweet tooth won’t be crying out for anything more than this bottle for dessert. It’s not too sweet, either; and boasts a nice counterbalance of apple and nutty flavor. Drink now, or lay it down for the next 15 years…if you can resist!
Pair with: Fig and Blue Cheese Crostini
Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/SculpterraWinery
5. Cass Winery’s 2012 Dessert Syrah
Why it’s awesome: Warming Winter Vibes
At Cass Winery, great wine starts in the vineyard. The same is true for the 2015 Central Coast Winery of the Year’s 2012 Dessert Syrah, produced from ultra-ripe grapes sourced from their estate Paso Robles vines. The wine is massive and rich, with flavors and aromatics that feel like winter coziness in a glass. Warm notes of brown spice, crushed rose petal, dried raspberry, orange-almond liqueur, potpourri, juniper berry, and cinnamon sticks ignite the palate. Grated chili and chocolate flavors add a bit of backbone while structured tannins balance the never ending finish. And when I say never ending…I mean it literally lingers forever.
Pair with: Braised Short Ribs
Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/CassWinery
If you’re looking for a place to spend the night in Paso Robles, checkout:
The Adelaide Inn is an iconic, locally owned hotel known for its friendly staff and lush landscaping. With spacious rooms and a convenient location close to highway 101 and the event center – home of the California Mid-State Fair – this hotel is a great choice for most travelers.
La Bellasera Hotel & Suites is an elegant boutique hotel nestled in the heart of Central Coast Wine Country. Influenced by Mediterranean and Italian architecture, the luxurious accommodations reflect the aged sophistication of the Central Coast region and the relaxed nature of the California countryside.
Hampton Inn & Suites Paso Robles is nestled in the Central Coast wine region, home to over 200 wineries, beautiful beaches, mountains and diverse attractions. Relax and revive in a comfortable guest room with all you need for a successful stay. You can count on Hampton to deliver value, consistency and service with a smile. We love having you here®
Experience the pristine countryside of Paso Robles Wine Country at Lekai Ranch. Lounge on the porch of your private suite and lose yourself in the tranquility and stunning views of the vineyards and oak studded hills beyond. This vacation rental is located just minutes from some of the most distinguished wineries and a premier olive oil estate, and only 15 minutes from downtown Paso Robles’ restaurants, wineries and shopping.
Enjoy the elegance, style and natural beauty of California’s Central Coast at the JUST Inn®. Surrounded by vineyards, our JUST Inn Suites offer luxurious appointments like fireplaces, Tempur-Pedic®mattresses, Frette linens, hydro-spa tubs, and range in size from 600–1,200 square feet. An overnight stay includes breakfast and a tour of the winery and caves.