Take a Chill Pill With These 5 Barbecue Worthy Reds

BBq and red wineNever wear white after Labor Day. Always send hand-written thank you notes immediately following the receiving of a gift. You cannot start a sentence with a prepositional phrase. WHO SAYS? And, for that matter, who says that you can’t enjoy a perfectly chilled red wine, just as you would a white? If this idea blows your mind, you are not alone. But don’t worry—we’ve thoroughly researched this shocking idea. Not only is it totally kosher, but in the right context (read: not all contexts), a chilled red—so refreshing, elegant, and vibrant—is absolutely required. Eat your heart out, Emily Post. We’re taking this ice bucket challenge head on!

The Icy Truth

First: let’s recap. Why do we normally chill whites and not reds? Chilling turns up the volume on the refreshing acid elements of white wine, a huge part of their appeal. Lightly chilling any wine is always best, as chilling too cold will curb the full bloom of a gorgeous bouquet (can’t smell it, can’t taste it). Big-flavored reds would be greatly diminished by a hard freeze, and are usually best when served at room temperature due to their grainier tannins (those tannins become smoother the warmer the wine gets). However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t subtly chill a red now and then. Read on to find out how you can chill out while slathering on the barbecue sauce

Pick: Try a zesty Zinfandel paired with killer baby back ribs. Chronic Cellars 2014 Dead Nuts (74% Zinfandel, 12% Petite Sirah, 10% Tempranillo) is juicy and fruity showcasing black cherry, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries.

Chronic Cellars Buy the Wine 

Mapping and Directions to Chronic Cellars: speedfind.com/ChronicCellars

How Cold?

If you’re barbecuing for a group, you probably don’t have time to travel back and forth to the fridge to check on your red’s temperature (plus, God forbid you forget about it altogether and go for the beer). A short five-minute bath in an ice bucket or cooler will do the trick. Any more than that, and you run the risk of completing numbing out the flavor, which is not what we’re going for here. The idea is to bring the acid and refreshment elements up in the red wine without snuffing out any of its tantalizing and complex flavors. If in doubt, chill for a shorter period of time than you think the bottle needs. No one will complain that their red isn’t “cold enough.”

Pick: Try a fruity, fairly acidic red paired with mushroom and black bean burgers. Sextant Winery’s 2014 SLH Pinot Noir offers up a breeze of wild strawberries, lavender, anise and red currant bliss. Another great choice? Soaring Hawk Vineyards 2015 Grenache, which is subtle and light in body and features aromas of tobacco, leather, and charcuterie.

Sextant buy the wine                        Soaring Hawk Buy the Wine

Mapping and Directions to Sextant Winery Paso Robles: speedfind.com/SextantWines

Mapping and Directions to Sextant Winery San Luis Obispo: speedfind.com/Sextant

Mapping and Directions to Soaring Hawk Winery: speedfind.com/SoaringHawkVineyards

Make Bigger Better

Here’s a neat trick. Next time you’re serving up a big, fruit-forward very high alcohol red, give it a quick chill. Now, give that sucker a second try. Of course, the first taste was absolutely delicious, but you may notice that on the second taste there is a bit more structure to the wine—a new clarity, a crisper balance. Fancy wine editors and winemakers already know that a quick shot of cool temperature has the ability to enhance high alcohol reds and really bring out their playful, more acidic attributes. Cool party trick, huh?

Pick: Clavo Cellars 2011 Zinfandel Desperado (100% Zinfandel) would go great with grilled tri-tip crusted with black pepper. This fabulous wine peaks at 15.25 percent alcohol and has won some major awards (2016 Gold Medal San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition; 2016 Gold Medal Central Coast Wine Competition). That means it’s a perfect candidate for a brief chill, but you would never want to give it too cold a shoulder. Hoyt Family Vineyards Dylema, was actually created for the Malibu Chili cook off and features mostly Cabernet Sauvignon—known for its high sugar and alcohol content. This Gold Medal winner is named after the owners’ kids, (Dylan and Emma) and is fun, smooth, and easy on the palette (i.e. perfect barbecue wine).

Clavo Cellars Buy the Wine                          Hoyt buy the wine

Mapping and Directions to Clavo Cellars: speedfind.com/ClavoCellars

Mapping and Directions to Hoyt Family Vineyards: speedfind.com/HoytFamilyVineyards

Mapping and Directions to Hoyt Family Vineyards Downtown Paso Robles Tasting Room: speedfind.com/HoytFamilyRabbitHole

But it’s not proper!

Paso Robles Wineries BBQ Reds

No, it’s not, really. However, anyone who has been to Europe in the summer has probably experienced a chilled red or two (when temps rise, chilled reds and blushes do too). If anyone laments your bold chilled choice, first—ask them to try the wine—and if that doesn’t win them over, head to the internet, where you can find tons of articles written by pros championing the practice of chilling the odd red. Heck, show them this blog post. They’ll get over it. Or, more wine for you!

Ice, Ice Baby

While a red solo cup filled with to the brim with ice cubes, a solid grocery store Chardonnay and a slice of lime is totally apropos for a pool party, it is not a great choice for higher quality (read: more spendy) wines. Reds are generally higher priced than whites, so the stakes here are a bit higher here. While a quick chill won’t ever ruin your red and can actually enhance it, ice cubes will melt quickly and are known for diluting the flavor quicker than you can say, “Grill’s hot!” Just don’t do it. Some rules are meant to be left unbroken.



This blog was written by Hayley Thomas Cain, food and wine writer for SLO New Times and PasoRoblesWineries.net. You can reach her at hthomas@newtimesslo.com or follow her on instagram @flavorslo.


If you’re looking for a place to spend the night in Paso Robles, checkout:

Adelaide Inn

The Adelaide Inn is an iconic, loMake Reservationscally 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.

Directions: speedfind.com/AdelaideInn

 

La Bellasera Hotel & SuitesMake ReservationsLa 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.

Directions: speedfind.com/LaBellasera

 

Hampton Inn & Suites - Paso Robles

Make ReservationsHampton 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®

Directions: speedfind.com/PRWine.HamptonInn

 

Lekai-Ranch_Featured-ImageMake ReservationsExperience 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.

Directions: speedfind.com/Lekai | vrbo.com/701796

 

JUST Inn at Justin VineyardsMake ReservationsEnjoy 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.

Directions:  speedfind.com/JustinWine

5 Wildflower Wine Excursions

Paso Robles Wineries Wildflower Wine Excursions

Did you know that John Steinbeck was a huge fan of the Central Coast’s vivid wildflower display each spring? Here’s proof, from his book, East of Eden, where he describes the region’s bounty of petals:

“The spring flowers in a wet year were unbelievable … Every petal of blue lupin is edged with white, so that a field of lupins is more blue than you can imagine. And mixed with these were splashes of California poppies. These too are of a burning color—not orange, not gold, but if pure gold were liquid and could raise a cream, that golden cream might be like the color of poppies.”

Couldn’t have described the scene better myself, John! If you’re a hardcore wildflower aficionado, you might want to plan on driving through Shell Creek Road off Highway 58 South of Shandon or through the Carizo Plains in eastern SLO County. However, even the casual wildflower observer can take in an amazing array of vibrant foliage simply by hopping in the car and going wine tasting. These five spots are perfect for sipping, day tripping, and smelling the flowers along the way:

Golden Poppy

Is there a flower more famous in California? With its bright orangey hue and fiery appeal, our state flora is hard to miss (especially when it’s taken over an entire hillside or valley).California Poppies

About the flower: Eschscholzia californica, a.k.a, California Poppy, Golden Poppy, or California Sunlight, is a species of flowering plant in the Papaveraceae family, native to the United States and Mexico. It is an
ornamental plant and it is used medicinally and in cooking. The Poppy became the official state flower of California in 1903.

Hearst Ranch Winery button adSee it: You’ll find poppies blooming now across the Central Coast, but especially in the warm and sunny hills east of Paso Robles, where developments are few. Situated at the crossroads of Highway 46 and Highway 41 lies Hearst Ranch Winery’s newest tasting room, a great place to start your adventure. Sip on some juicy red wine or visit the famous Jack Ranch Café, well known for its proximity to the James Dean Memorial site. The Tasting Room is encircled by the Jack Ranch; a 73,000 acre working cattle ranch named for its long-time owner Howard Jack who sold the land to the Hearst Corporation in 1965. That ranch is now blooming more than just livestock: beautiful, bountiful poppies!

Mapping and Directions to Hearst Ranch Winery, Jack Ranch Café Tasting Room: speedfind.com/HearstRanch

Mustard

Yes, these spicy flowers do pack a punch! Bright, neon yellow and hearty as a weed, you’ll find them prolifically growing along the winding banks of iconic Peachy Canyon Road in West Paso Robles.

mustard flowersAbout the flower: Mustard plants are any of several plant species in the genera Brassica and Sinapis in the family Brassicaceae. Mustard seed is used as a spice. Grinding and mixing the seeds with water, vinegar, or other liquids, creates the yellow condiment known as prepared mustard. The seeds can also be pressed to make mustard oil, and the edible leaves can be eaten as mustard greens.

See it: The Peachy Canyon Winery “Old School House” tasting room, located in the hills near Highway 46 West, remains a landmark attraction. The historic Old Bethel School House (circa 1886) is definitely a must visit. Come taste the world famous Estate Zinfandels or any of the other 15+ handcrafted small batch Rhone and Bordeaux varietals while enjoying spring’s most spectacular display. Tip: Head out for wildflowers and delicious Peachy Canyon Zinfandel during Vintage Paso Robles Zinfandel Weekend, with events slated March 17-19.

Mapping and Directions to Peachy Canyon Winery: speedfind.com/PeachyCanyonWinery

Kiamie Logo ThumbSee it: Also located on Adelaida Road, you’ll find Kiamie Wine Cellars, a family owned business famous for its delicious Rhone and Bordeaux blends. Grapes are sourced from the best local vineyards, including Derby Vineyards, Halter Ranch Vineyard, Hearthstone Vineyard, and more. Tip: Try the 2014 Kiamie Kuvee while taking in the wildflowers. This vintage blend is ripe, rich and expansive with beautifully articulated aromas and flavors. It possesses the “power and grace” which is a hallmark characteristic of all great red wine.

Mapping and Directions to Kiamie Wine Cellars: speedfind.com/KiamieWines

Lupines

Lupine flowersPurple mountains majesty! These local favorites sway in the breeze like brilliant violet dancers.

About the flower: Lupinus, commonly known as lupin or lupine (North America), is a genus of flowering plants in the legume family, Fabaceae. The genus includes over 200 species, with centers of diversity in North and South America.

Tooth and Nail Winery logoSee it: It could be the cool ocean air filtering through the hills or the drastic diurnal swings, but there’s something about the Templeton Gap that makes grapes balanced and delicious. As it turns out, Lupines—in all of their periwinkle pride—love the area too. Located on Highway 46 West, Tooth and Nail Winery is currently exploding with color, making this castle wine tasting experience that much more majestic.

Mapping and Directions to Tooth and Nail Winery: speedfind.com/ToothAndNail

Beach Strawberry

It may not give delicious fruit, but this close-to-the-ground flower bursting with striking, tiny white flowers is lovely as ever.

Beach StrawberryAbout the flower: Fragaria chiloensis, the beach strawberry, Chilean strawberry, or coastal strawberry, is one of two species of strawberry that were hybridized to create the modern garden strawberry. It is noted for its large berries. Its natural range is the Pacific Ocean coasts of North and South America, and also Hawai’i. Migratory birds are thought to have dispersed F. chiloensis from the Pacific coast of North America to the mountains of Hawai’i, Chile, and Argentina.

Cutruzzola Button AdSee it: If you want to see this beach strawberry flower in its natural habitat, look to its name. Head for the coast—Cutruzolla Vineyards in pine-dotted Cambria is a good choice—and keep your eyes peeled for these humble yet beautiful plants. Taste award-winning boutique wines at the winery’s chill tasting room, located just four miles south of historic Hearst Castle in the funky West Village

Mapping and Directions to Cutruzzola Vineyards: speedfind.com/Cutruzzola

Happy wildflower sightings! See some cool wildflowers on your next wine tasting excursion? Tag @pasorobleswineries or #pasorobleswineries on Instagram to be featured on our social media feed!

 



This blog was written by Hayley Thomas Cain, food and wine writer for SLO New Times and PasoRoblesWineries.net. You can reach her at hthomas@newtimesslo.com or follow her on instagram @flavorslo.


If you’re looking for a place to spend the night in Paso Robles, checkout:

Adelaide Inn

The Adelaide Inn is an iconic, loMake Reservationscally 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.

Directions: speedfind.com/AdelaideInn

 

La Bellasera Hotel & SuitesMake ReservationsLa 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.

Directions: speedfind.com/LaBellasera

 

Hampton Inn & Suites - Paso Robles

Make ReservationsHampton 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®

Directions: speedfind.com/PRWine.HamptonInn

 

Lekai-Ranch_Featured-ImageMake ReservationsExperience 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.

Directions: speedfind.com/Lekai | vrbo.com/701796

 

JUST Inn at Justin VineyardsMake ReservationsEnjoy 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.

Directions:  speedfind.com/JustinWine

Celebrate St. Paddy’s Day the Paso Way

Paso Robles Wineries Celebrate St. Paddy's Day

Guinness? We’ll pass. Here in Paso Robles Wine Country, there isn’t a celebration that doesn’t call for a little (or a lot) of world class vino! This St.Patrick’s Day, Friday, March 17, skip the crowded pub (and beer bloat) and raise your wine glass with pride. Whether you’re wearing pistachio, lime, fern, olive, or juniper, these five uniquely Paso Robles Paddy’s Day activities are sure to bring you the luck of the Irish.

Find a Four Leaf Clover

The famous hills around Paso Robles are as green as Ireland this time of year, thanks to a hefty dose of much-needed rain. You know what that means: Cue the Sound of Music soundtrack and get out into the verdant countryside, where cows, vines, and wildflowers speckle the dreamy, undulating landscape. Limerock Orchards offers up walnut oil sampling, orchard tours, and wine tasting amid a gorgeous rural setting. Plus, this family-owned farm is just a stone’s throw from tons of other notable wine tasting rooms perfect for outdoor picnicking. Peachy Canyon Winery is one such neighbor, so you know you’re in for a day of pastoral bliss. Happy clover hunting!

Mapping and Directions to Limerock Orchards: speedfind.com/LimerockOrchards

Mapping and Directions to Peachy Canyon Winery: speedfind.com/PeachyCanyonWinery

Be Green

Wearing green is great, but being green? That’s taking the Irish tradition to a whole new level, and then some. Show your support for eco-conscious wines and stop by Oso Libre, which is revolutionizing the way oak is used in its steel barrel program, Pelletiere Estate Winery, which uses clay vessels to add character to its Italian wines, and Rangeland Winery, which practices a true biodynamic approach to farming. Plus, you’ll feel good knowing that you are doing your part to keep the Earth green on the greenest of all days.

Mapping and Directions to Oso Libre Winery: speedfind.com/OsoLibreWinery

Mapping and Directions to Pelletiere Estate Winery: speedfind.com/Pelletiere

Mapping and Directions to Rangeland Winery: speedfind.com/Rangeland

Claim your Pot of Goldrainbow over vineyard

OK, so getting a killer deal on your next Paso Wine tasting experience isn’t the same as finding a literal “pot of gold,” but you will feel just as fortunate when you take advantage of these amazing discounts, going on right now! This spring, score two-for-one tastings, barrel tasting coupons, limo rental deals, and case specials here. In addition, this month only, Lone Madrone is offering a special of ten percent off three or more bottles of their 2012 Old Vine Zinfandel (just in time for Vintage Paso Robles Zinfandel Weekend, coming up March 17-19). Looks like this is your golden opportunity—better reach out and grab it!

Mapping and Directions to Lone Madrone: speedfind.com/LoneMadrone

Get Lucky in Love

You don’t have to be Irish to get kissed. Spring a romantic staycation on your significant other and you’ll be happier than two leprechauns going wedding band shopping. Book a stay at La Bellasera Hotel, which features spa services and a glittering pool—or hang at the JUST Inn at JUSTIN, where the upscale boutique-style rooms are always stocked with bottles of the winery’s ironic Isosceles red blend. Note: Did I mention both hotels feature upscale restaurants, so you won’t have to tackle the St. Paddy’s day crowds downtown? So great. Just don’t ask for green goat cheese. You may get a funny look. Click here for even more lodging options.

Mapping and Directions to La Bellasera Hotel: speedfind.com/LaBellasera

Mapping and Directions to JUST Inn: speedfind.com/JustInnAtJustinWinery

Enjoy an Irish FeastGreen Bloody Mary

Staying home and staying cozy? Fill your house with the smell of corned beef hash and soda bread, and your family will thank you handsomely. Not sure what to do with the leftovers? Make an epic Reuben sandwich with corned beef hash and toasted soda bread, and start a tasty new tradition. Pair these salty, tangy flavors with a light and fragrant white, like Rotta Winery’s 2015 Rotta Rousanne, on sale now when you buy by the case. Don’t have time to create an elaborate Irish feast? Go for a celebratory brunch with friends. No one can resist the allure of a Spicy Green BLT Bloody Mary.

Mapping and Directions to Rotta Winery: speedfind.com/RottaWinery

 


This blog was written by Hayley Thomas Cain, food and wine writer for SLO New Times and PasoRoblesWineries.net. You can reach her at hthomas@newtimesslo.com or follow her on instagram @flavorslo.


If you’re looking for a place to spend the night in Paso Robles, checkout:

Adelaide Inn

The Adelaide Inn is an iconic, loMake Reservationscally 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.

Directions: speedfind.com/AdelaideInn

 

La Bellasera Hotel & SuitesMake ReservationsLa 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.

Directions: speedfind.com/LaBellasera

Hampton Inn & Suites - Paso Robles

Make ReservationsHampton 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®

Directions: speedfind.com/PRWine.HamptonInn

 

Lekai-Ranch_Featured-ImageMake ReservationsExperience 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.

Directions: speedfind.com/Lekai | vrbo.com/701796

 

JUST Inn at Justin VineyardsMake Reservations    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.

Directions:  speedfind.com/JustinWine

5 Easy Paso Wine Budget Hacks

Paso Robles Wineries Wine Budget Hacks

“Wine” probably isn’t high on your list of budgetary priorities under “groceries” and “saving for the bathroom remodel.” I mean—it really shouldn’t be (if it is, you might have a problem on your hands). However, as a true Paso wine lover, you do want to savor “the good stuff” and invest in delicious, age-worthy bottles when you can. That ain’t cheap. Here are a few easy ways to help you enjoy the wine you love without going broke.

1. Buy Less of the So-So Stuff

It’s true. If you’re buying lots of unforgettable “meh” wines, you probably aren’t saving any money for better bottles. This spring, instead of picking up a weekly $7 bottle of chardonnay at the grocery store, why not visit a few local wineries and pick up a few choice bottles of refreshing whites? Not only will you find more unique varietals—like Verdelho or Roussanne—you’ll know exactly where the grapes came from and enjoy far superior flavor (for the same price).

2. Pay Less for Wine Tasting

fan of Paso Robles Wineries wine tasting specialsWhen it comes to wine tasting, the ultimate goals are always the same: enjoyment and education. However, if you’re like any wine lover worth their salt, you’ll also want to take home a few favorite bottles, too—for “further research,” if you will. With these awesome Paso wine tasting deals, you can now put more of your hard earned cash toward stocking up on those award winning wines you’ve had your eye on (which means your tasting excursion never truly has to end). Cha-ching! Get great wine tasting coupons (including 2-for1-deals) here. Just show your smart phone to the friendly folks at tasting rooms like Brecon Estate, Cutruzzola Vineyards, Dubost Ranch, Eberle Winery, HammerSky Vineyards, Hearthstone Vineyard and Winery, Hug Cellars, Lusso Della Terra, Opolo Vineyards, Rendarrio Vineyards, San Marcos Creek Vineyard, and Seven Oxen Estate Wines.

3. Buy by the Case

Wineries will often feature case specials to help move vintages from storerooms out the door. When you buy a case, you already get a discount, so look for discounts on top of case prices for an amazing budgetary boost. Throwing a big party or even a wedding soon? Keep your eyes peeled for cool case specials at these local wineries: Cass Vineyard and Winery, Cayucos Cellars, Sculpterra Winery and Sculpture Garden, and Four Lanterns Winery, among others!

4. Barrel Taste like a Pro

If you’re a Paso wine fan, there’s nothing more exhilarating than stepping into the barrel room with the winemaker and tasting through a range of developing wines. I mean, it’s akin to walking the movie set with a director and learning just how the film is made. At Écluse Wines, you can partake in this enchanting experience for less this nifty coupon here. Don’t pass up the opportunity like this…I promise, it’s worth every penny.

5. Ride in Style

If the idea of renting a limo sounds like dropping a lot of dough, you really need to experience the swanky side of Paso Robles. Note: It’s surprisingly affordable when compared to other wine regions elsewhere in the Golden State (Napa, we’re looking at you). Case in point: Pearl of Paso Limousine service offers a killer deal all year round: Book four hours and get an extra hour free (for up to ten people). We all know how many wineries you can explore in an hour! Not that you should, but you totally could.

pearl of paso limousine limo

 


This blog was written by Hayley Thomas Cain, food and wine writer for SLO New Times and PasoRoblesWineries.net. You can reach her at hthomas@newtimesslo.com or follow her on instagram @flavorslo.


If you’re looking for a place to spend the night in Paso Robles, checkout:

Adelaide Inn

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.

 

Make ReservationsDirections: speedfind.com/AdelaideInn

 


La Bellasera Hotel & Suites
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.

Make ReservationsDirections: speedfind.com/LaBellasera

 

Hampton Inn & Suites - Paso Robles

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®

Make ReservationsDirections: speedfind.com/PRWine.HamptonInn

 

Lekai-Ranch_Featured-ImageExperience 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.

Make ReservationsDirections: speedfind.com/Lekai | vrbo.com/701796

 

JUST Inn at Justin VineyardsEnjoy 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.

Make Reservations  Directions:  speedfind.com/JustinWine

4 Rainy Day Activities for Paso Wine Lovers

Paso Robles Wineries Rainy Day Activities

After years of intense drought, California is finally raining. And raining, and raining (and raining some more). Heavy downpours and storm clouds may sound like a gloomy forecast to some, but here in Paso Wine Country, we say bring it on! More rain = more vines, and more vines = more wines! Although we are loving this wet winter and all that it promises to bring to our verdant fields, we’re also experiencing a bit of cabin fever—which is not something us Central Coasters are used to dealing with. When you can’t kayak, hike, horseback ride, or simply stroll through the vineyard admiring the birds, what else is there to do? We say, try these 5 fun rainy day activities sure to whet your thirst for Paso Wine.

1. Do Downtown

bijou lifestyle boutiqueTraveling to a bucolic winery way, way out in the countryside can feel a little sketchy during California’s biggest storm in nearly a decade. Although we love these stops dearly, it may be best to let them dry out for a bit. Forget the worry of mudslides, flooded dirt roads, and possible fallen branches, and head for Downtown Paso Robles, where more than a dozen tasting rooms are easily accessible by foot. Grab an umbrella and stroll the quaint downtown peppered with art galleries and boutique shops (like unique gift and lifestyle boutique Bijou). Where to taste and stay dry? Try Lusso Della Terra Cellars, known for bold and sophisticated Italian wines, or stop by Tudor Wines, which features an award-winning lineup of Pinot Noirs, crafted in traditional methods developed in Burgundy. Consider your afternoon officially cozy!

Mapping and Directions to Bijou Lifestyle Boutique: speedfind.com/bijou

Mapping and Directions to Lusso Della Terra: speedfind.com/LDT

Mapping and Directions to Tudor Wines: speedfind.com/TudorWines

2. Get Your Comfort Food On

Pappy McGregors soup and sandwichWe know, we know. “Eating” should not be an activity you partake in when bored. However, when you’ve been cooped up all weekend (subsisting on leftovers and reruns), it sure feels nice to get out for a flavorful restaurant meal, doesn’t it? Plus, I don’t know about you, but I am craving all the carbs right about now. Get your fill of fresh seafood at Fish Gaucho or Catch Bar & Grill, try a savory burger or hot cup of lobster mac and cheese at Pappy McGregor’s, or – if you’re just feeling peckish – sample gourmet olive oils at Pasolivo. The best part? Most of these amazing foodie stops feature tons of Paso Robles wine by the glass and bottle, too.

Mapping and Directions to Fish Gaucho: speedfind.com/FishGaucho

Mapping and Directions to Catch Seafood: speedfind.com/CatchSeafood

Mapping and Directions to Pappy McGregor’s: speedfind.com/PappyMcGregorsPub

Mapping and Directions to Pasolivo Downtown: speedfind.com/PasolivoPaso

3. Take a (Lonnnng) Wine Bath

Yes, you are reading that correctly. No, I don’t suggest you pour your best case of Cabernet Sauvignon into the bathtub (I’m getting a panic attack just thinking about it). However, I do suggest you put your iPhone on “airplane mode,” light a few candles, pop the cork on that super expensive bubble bath, and pour yourself a nice, big glass of “me time.” When it rains it pours, and that’s quite all right! Forget those sunny days you used to spend romping through the outside world. Who says you can’t have just as much fun pampering yourself inside? Extra credit: Buy a fun drugstore nail polish or an adult coloring book for the ultimate evening of self-care and appreciation.

Our picks for “me time” wine:

Harmony Cellars 2014 Sangiovese: GOLD MEDAL at the Wine Makers Challenge, an international event held in San Diego.
Mapping and Directions to Harmony Cellars: speedfind.com/HarmonyCellars

Sextant 2013 Passage GSM: 94 points Wine Enthusiast
Mapping and Directions Sextant’s Paso Robles location: speedfind.com/SextantWines
Mapping and Directions toSextant’s San Luis Obispo location: speedfind.com/Sextant

HammerSky 2013 Party of Four Estate Grown blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah: 90 points Wine Enthusiast
Mapping and Directions to HammerSky: speedfind.com/HammerSkyVineyards

4. Take stock

Rainy days are perfect for forcing us to come face to face with…(dramatic music here)…our CLUTTER. Oh no! Don’t freak out. We can deal with this mess in one rainy afternoon! If your wine collection has gotten a little out of hand, now is the time to take stock of what you have, note what should be opened sooner rather than later, push your most age-worthy vintages to the back, and perhaps even dedicate a pile to holiday re-gifting, if you find yourself with one too many redundant bottles. Tip: Grab a dust rag to polish up those fancy wines you’ve been storing for years (no one likes to be met with a plume of dust every time they grab a wine to go with dinner). Oh, and believe you me: You will not want to take part in this activity when the sun is shining bright, so get on it now and enjoy a more relaxed and organized wine cellar come Spring.

Take stock and add these wines to your cellar:

Chronic Cellars 2015 Pink Pedals: 97 points Best Rosé Monterey International Wine Competition
Mapping and Directions to Chronic Cellars: speedfind.com/ChronicCellarsWinery

Michael Gill Cellars 2013 Tempranillo Tantrum: Gold Medal 2015 Pacific Rim International Wine Competition Best of Class, Best of Red Wines 2015 Jerry Mead’s New World International Wine Competition Call to place an order. (805) 239-1668
Mapping and Directions to Michael Gill Cellars: speedfind.com/MichaelGillCellars

Écluse 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Lock Vineyard: Double Gold San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Mapping and Directions to Écluse Wines: speedfind.com/EcluseWines

Cayucos Cellars 2012 Petite Syrah: Simply scrumptious flavors that you will want to have on hand for that special day. This winery is so uber-boutique that they do not go to competitions.
Mapping and Directions to Cayucos Cellars: speedfind.com/CayucosCellars


This blog was written by Hayley Thomas Cain, food and wine writer for SLO New Times and PasoRoblesWineries.net. You can reach her at hthomas@newtimesslo.com or follow her on instagram @flavorslo.


If you’re looking for a place to spend the night in Paso Robles, checkout:

Adelaide Inn

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.

 

Make ReservationsDirections: speedfind.com/AdelaideInn

 


La Bellasera Hotel & Suites
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.

Make ReservationsDirections: speedfind.com/LaBellasera

 

Hampton Inn & Suites - Paso Robles

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®

Make ReservationsDirections: speedfind.com/PRWine.HamptonInn

 

Lekai-Ranch_Featured-ImageExperience 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.

Make ReservationsDirections: speedfind.com/Lekai | vrbo.com/701796

 

JUST Inn at Justin VineyardsEnjoy 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.

Make Reservations  Directions:  speedfind.com/JustinWine

5 Facts About Oak Aging for Wine Novices

Paso Robles Wineries Oak Aging

Oak. It’s what your coffee table or bed frame might be made out of. You may have recently eaten a steak grilled to perfection over smoldering oak chips. The log you threw on the fire last evening to chase away the last chill of winter? Oak strikes again. There’s a reason we love oak (sturdy, plentiful, dependable burning). But, if you’re a wine novice (no judgment here), you may not know that oak is very often represented in your glass, too. The next time you “knock on wood,” why not say a little “thank you” to this infinitely useful natural material so plentiful in our wineries, our homes, and our hearts?

1. Why Oak?

The first thing you think about when I say, “winery,”–besides, perhaps—rows of sprawling vines—is probably a barrel room filled with rotund oak barrels. But why is wine aged in oak and not—say—pine or birch? The molecular structure of oak allows just the right amount of oxygen into the wine through its pores. Plus, the wood imparts a lovely array of flavor characteristics, depending on levels of toasting (the practice of heating up a barrel to literally “toast” the wood). How long a wine is left to age in oak—and the type of oak at hand—can change the color, flavor, tannin profile, and texture of the wine in question—which is why winemakers will shell out big bucks for premium barrels.

Toasty: Do you like your buttery chardonnays? Then you’ll certainly enjoy Harmony Cellar’s 2015 Chardonnay, lightly oaked (hence the golden color) and bursting with citrus, apple, and butterscotch yumminess. Tropical notes are balanced with a full-bodied, creamy flavor that finishes with notes of buttered toast.

Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/HarmonyCellars

 

2. Isn’t Oak all the same?

Well, in a word, no. Just as fruits or veggies grown around the world will vary by sub-species, flavor, and appearance, so is oak vastly different, depending on where it is grown (ever see a purple Japanese yam?). The three main types of oak used in wine are as follows: American (species: Quercus alba), a neutral flavored choice grown throughout the US and commonly found in Missouri; Hungarian Oak (species Quercus robur), which is grown in Eastern Europe and—although remarkably close to French oak—boasts a cheaper prize tag; and—the Queen of all oaks—French oak (species: Quercus petraea), which has a finer grain, imparts more flavor, and features the highest price tag of all. Another interesting note about French oak? The forests used for barrel oak are selected for their fine-grained consistent wood. Most notably, well-made barrels from Alliers, Vosges, and Tronçais command upwards of $4,000 per barrel!

French Connection: Here’s a great example of French oak working its magic: Aged 18 months in fine French oak barrels, Seven Oxen Estate Wines’ 2013 Mourvedre shows the perfect balance of toastiness and fruit flavor. Notes of black pepper, licorice, leather, and candied fruits are balanced out with a touch of Grenache, giving this complex wine a subtle, round fruitiness.

Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/SevenOxen

 

3. What does Oak Taste Like?

So why all the hoopla and dollar signs when it comes to sourcing and toasting good oak? This all comes down to one word: flavor. Everyone wants to showcase the best flavor—and often, winemakers work to dress up a grape’s natural deliciousness with varying degrees of oak (it is a balancing act). Every time you sip a Cabernet Sauvignon with undertones of caramel or vanilla—that’s oak. Every time you enjoy a Chardonnay with a whiff of buttered crème brûlée toastiness, that’s (yes, you guessed it) oak. Although American Oak barrels are commonly crafted for the spirits industry (bourbon, especially), more and more winemakers are using American oak barrels to impart vanilla, coconut, and even dill flavors. Hungarian oak helps boost the flavor of full-bodied wines, such as petite verdot and malbec, with its distinct heftiness. French oak is prized by chardonnay makers because the wine notoriously soaks up the oakiness of the barrel easily. Ever wonder how that “oaked chardonnay” trend became so popular around the world? Fun fact: Plenty of winemakers will use all three oaks at different parts of the aging process to produce a multifaceted wine that showcases the winery’s unique point of view.

Jada Vineyards Buy the Wine ButtonNeutral Palate: Jada Winery’s 2011 adaj Cabernet Sauvignon was barrel aged in 100 percent neutral French oak for 18 months. Why neutral? The winemaker did not want to overpower the wine’s gentle tannin structure or fresh minerality. Black fruit, orange peel, cocoa, rosemary, potpourri, and earth round out a palate of dark cherry, plum, and chocolate-covered strawberries.

Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/JadaVineyard

 

4. Oak in Unexpected Places

Not all oaking happens in oak barrels. Did you know that oak can be introduced in the form of a barrel during the fermentation or aging periods, or as free-floating chips or staves added to wine fermented in a vessel like stainless steel? Some barrels even feature a stainless steel outer shell with oak boards inserted into the wine. We’re not knocking other fermentation and aging vessels like clay, concrete, or steel (they all have their place and their value), but it’s a good idea to know just what your wine was aged with and for how long. Perhaps you will find you prefer completely unoaked, crisp whites, a neutral or medium oak aging on your Rhone blends, or a heavy oaking in your merlot or cab. There is no wrong answer. In fact, the only wrong thing to do is not to ask. Wander into the woods, friends! Get lost, live a little, and learn a lot.

To Oak or not to Oak?: Tudor Wines is known for its fabulous pinot noirs, many of which are aged in French oak for upwards of 10 months. However, even this oak loving winery can see the merits of a differing aging process, depending on the varietal at hand. For example, the winery’s 2014 Dry Nacina SLH Riesling is aged in stainless steel to keep a clean, crisp, fresh flavor profile. Remember: oak doesn’t always equal superior. Sometimes it’s completely unnecessary!

Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/TudorWines

 

5. Oak and our Earth

Although many wineries use and re-use oak barrels, their flavor does wear off over time (hence why “new” barrels are often prized). Wineries are known to borrow, trade, re-sell and repurpose their barrels regularly, but this doesn’t tackle the issue of deforestation around the world. As more and more wineries become greener and more eco-conscious, new and inventive ideas have sprung up to ensure that wines remain flavorful as the world remains healthy.

Oso Libre buy the wine buttonFuture of oak?: Oso Libre Winery has found a keen solution to this problem: using steel barrels fitted with oak planks inserted inside. Known for powerful, lush red blends, the winery will be releasing their first vintages crafted in this method soon. Stop by the tasting room and see what’s in store for the future of oak! Hint: It’s just as delicious.

Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/OsoLibreWinery

 


This blog was written by Hayley Thomas Cain, food and wine writer for SLO New Times and PasoRoblesWineries.net. You can reach her at hthomas@newtimesslo.com or follow her on instagram @flavorslo.


photo credit: Ulf Bodin Artur de Barros e Sousa 1999 via photopin (license)


If you’re looking for a place to spend the night in Paso Robles, checkout:

Adelaide Inn

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.

Make Reservations
Directions: speedfind.com/AdelaideInn


La Bellasera Hotel & Suites
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.
Make Reservations

Directions: speedfind.com/LaBellasera

 

Hampton Inn & Suites - Paso Robles

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®
Make Reservations
Directions: speedfind.com/PRWine.HamptonInn

 

Lekai-Ranch_Featured-ImageExperience 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.

Make Reservations

Directions: speedfind.com/Lekai | vrbo.com/701796

 

JUST Inn at Justin Vineyards

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.

Make Reservations  Directions:  speedfind.com/JustinWine

5 Wine-Friendly Valentine’s Day Staycations in Paso Wine Country

Wine Friendly Staycations

You don’t have to go far to enjoy a romantic vacation with your sweetie! This Valentine’s Day week, aim to take a mini vaycay not far from home featuring plenty of romantic Paso Robles wines and nibbles. Whether you prefer a nature-filled weekend bolstered by wildflowers and vineyards, a swanky multi-course dinner with opulent dessert, or a simple landing pad for your day trip to Hearst Castle, these wine friendly hot spots will get you deliciously back in touch with your better half.

Rejuvenate at Adelaide Inn

A hidden gem nestled in the heart of wine country, Adelaide Inn is cozy and homey with a warm and welcoming vibe that’ll put you and your sweetheart instantly at ease. Go for the wine and spa package aimed at releasing tension and bringing back that Paso Robles Lodging - Adelaide Innromantic glow you both had at first meeting. Take in an open air artesian mineral spring spa at River Oaks Hot Springs paired with a complimentary bottle of Paso wine, then retreat back to your executive king or double queen room. Sounds like bliss, doesn’t it?

Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/AdelaideInn

 

Find Adventure Hampton Inn

Looking for a quick, casual, comfortable stay to accommodate a weekend wine tasting adventure in and around Paso Wine Country? Check into the Hampton Inn & Suites, a great place to rest your head if you plan on exploring wine tasting, trails hitting Hearst Castle, or simply taking in the culinary nightlife of downtown Paso Robles (all great date night activities, BTW). However, with a heated pool and free breakfast, you might end up spending more time hanging out around the room than you thought. Don’t forget to use that handy “Do Not Disturb sign!”

Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/PRWine.HamptonInn

 

Dive into Wine at The JUST INN

When you stay at a Wine Enthusiast Winery of the Year, you know you’re going to be privy to awesome wine tasting experiences. However, did you know that The Inn at iconic Paso winery JUSTIN also features an equally awesome stay for locals and tourists alike? Surrounded by vineyards, the JUST INN suites offer luxurious appointments like fireplaces, Tempur-Pedic® mattresses, and Frette linens. An overnight stay also includes breakfast and a tour of the winery and caves. Just Inn Vineyard View RoomThe Restaurant at JUSTIN is no less impressive, showcasing multi-course meals with plenty of ingredients plucked fresh from the garden. Be still, your beating heart!

Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/JustInnAtJustinWinery

 

Live the Mediterranean Life at La Bellasera

Step into a modern Mediterranean inspired retreat where the opulence and grander of a Tuscan Villa meets the rustic charm of cowboy country. Let romance blossom in La Bellasera’s over-sized rooms and suites, offering generous amenities like signature bedding and in-room spa therapy treatments. Fall in love with flavor while experiencing the masterful culinary designs at La Bellasera’s Enoteca Restaurant & Bar, serving a contemporary menu paired with award-winning wines. And when you feel the need to relax, you and your sweetie can make reservations for The Spa at La Bellasera, known for its peaceful and invigorating spa treatments. Va-va-voom!

Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/LaBellasera

 

A Ranch Stay With A Vineyard View – Lekai Ranch

Lekai Ranch is tranquility personified: a breath of fresh air that truly stirs the soul. This rustic-chic rental showcases an expansive view spanning 50 miles, including the rear portion of scenic Big Sur, Hearst Castle, and more vineyards than you can shake a bottle at. From here you can explore dozens of fantastic tasting rooms featuring wine, olive oil, and more.

Just 15 minutes from downtown, you’re far enough out to feel secluded yet not so far to make dinner a trek. With a private Lekai Ranchentrance, relaxing porch for morning coffee, and a soothing Tempur-Pedic® bed (and three twins for kids or co-vacationers), you’ll never want to return to the land of honking cars again.

Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/Lekai

 


This blog was written by Hayley Thomas Cain, food and wine writer for SLO New Times and PasoRoblesWineries.net. You can reach her at hthomas@newtimesslo.com or follow her on instagram @flavorslo.


If you’re looking for a place to spend the night in Paso Robles, checkout:

Adelaide Inn

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.

Make Reservations
Directions: speedfind.com/AdelaideInn

 


La Bellasera Hotel & Suites
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.
Make Reservations

Directions: speedfind.com/LaBellasera

 

Hampton Inn & Suites - Paso Robles

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®
Make Reservations
Directions: speedfind.com/PRWine.HamptonInn

 

Lekai-Ranch_Featured-ImageExperience 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.

Make Reservations

Directions: speedfind.com/Lekai | vrbo.com/701796

 

JUST Inn at Justin Vineyards

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.

Make Reservations  Directions:  speedfind.com/JustinWine

How They Landed in Paso Wine Country

Paso Robles Wineries How they landed here

Claiming your spot in Paso Robles Wine country is a unique and singular adventure. No two tales are alike, although each path has, more or less, led to the same vineyard view. No one knows quite sure why, but Wine Country attracts many folks in drastically different professions: corporate accountants, entrepreneurs, tech gurus—even dancers, artists, and musicians. Perhaps it is the struggle and adventure that lies dormant in each new grape or the chance to start afresh each vintage. Perhaps it’s the romance of the “wine country lifestyle” which—if you really do make wine—is full of both toil and joy. Whatever it is that attracts so many walks of life to the demanding and rewarding winemaking field, these five Paso Robles Wine Country icons have, indeed, heeded the call.

From Veg to Vineyard: Hearthstone Vineyard & Winery

Hearthstone VineyardHoy Buell, owner of Greenheart Farms, one the largest vegetable transplant, cyclamen and rose producers in the world, knows a thing or two about volume. He once grew 2.5 million pine trees to replant deforested Louisiana, for starters (and that was just for fun). Now, the grower produces 1 billion row crop veggies per year while also creating just 1,500 cases of SIP certified, SIP Certified logobiodynamic Hearthstone Estate wine. How did these two passions meet? Well, it all happened back in 1999, when Buell, a Cal Poly grad, decided he would try to combine his love of fine wines with his green thumb. A magic spark ignited that is still going strong today. The 40-acre vineyard he and his team planted in the heart of the Adelaida district is still flourishing, and the green tale continues, season after season.

Learn more about Hearthstone’s growing techniques and bold Paso reds here.

Mapping and Directions to Hearthstone: speedfind.com/HearthstoneVineyard

From Friends to Partners: Cass Winery

Anyone who’s tasted out at Cass Winery knows that the owners (Steve Cass and Ted Plemons) aren’t “stuffy.” In fact, you could say the pair often represent the life of the party. It’s not uncommon to see both guys hanging around the tasting room, chatting up guests, and throwing fun events under the stars. Still, the pair are also known as powerful businessmen with plenty of diverse experience. Steve Cass retired from Charles Schwab after a 20 year career in 1999, then planned to set sail around the globe with his wife, Alice. After splashing through the Mediterranean, Alice told Steve something important: she had enjoyed quite enough boating for one lifetime, thank you very much. Well there goes that big dream. What to do now? Cass thought of a chance trip he had taken to Paso Robles—a burgeoning area to make wine and plant vineyards. A year later in 2000 the 145-acre Cass Vineyard was established, and in 2002, the man that built the new Cass residence and barn, respected builder Ted Plemons, entered the scene. The guys became fast friends. One night, during a trip to South Africa celebrating the completion of the winery, the guys sat down for dinner (and several bottles of Syrah). By meal’s end, Cass and Plemons had sealed the deal on a business partnership that would go down in Paso’s bromance history.

Find out more about the story and Cass Winery’s world class Rhones, here.

Mapping and Directions to Cass Winery: speedfind.com/CassWinery

A Chance Visit Leads to Lifelong Passion: Écluse Wines

Ecluse Wines Steve and PamEnding up in Paso Robles was plum coincidence for Steve and Pam Lock. Before they started Écluse Wines, they took a trip to France, where “locks” on the canals gently carve their way through the countryside. Still—that was way before the couple had even heard of Paso Robles. As native Californians, wine had always been big in the couples’ lives, but they hardly thought it would ever become a profession. After spending the bulk of their days in in Southern California, life and other opportunities took the pair to Whidbey Island, Washington (this was back in 1980). Sixteen years later, the couple visited a close friend in Paso Robles who just so happened to be starting his own vineyard. So impressed were the Locks with the gorgeous setting and the winemaking lifestyle, that they set out to plant 30 acres in Paso Soil. Today, those planted vines remained nestled in an almost hidden little canyon just west of downtown Paso Robles, their forever home. The first vintage came in 2001—and since then—the couple has thanked their lucky stars for that one good ole friend in Paso Robles.

Explore the French connection at Écluse Wines here, where Rhones and blends are always ripe for the tasting.

Mapping and Directions to Écluse Wines: speedfind.com/EcluseWines 

Somewhere Over the Olive Branch: Pasolivo

The folks at Pasolivo Olive Oil might not make wine, but they pretty much live the same lifestyle in Paso Robles Wine Country. Each vintage brings harvest, pressing, bottling, and plenty of tasting, both with bread and straight down the gullet. What attracted the owners? Well, the region would not be what it is without its gorgeous Mediterranean climate and expansive olive oil orchards brimming with the luscious fruit. The Dirk camily fell in love with this scenic charm back in 2012—but who owned the 140 acres of rolling hills before that? As it turns out, this slice of heaven was home to none other than legendary Hollywood director and producer King Vidor, who called the land Willow Creek Ranch. Vidor directed such classics as War & Peace, Stella Dallas, Northwest Passage, and The Champ, as well as the black and white portion of The Wizard of Oz. Vidor, himself a survivor of a legendary tornado in his native Galveston, Texas, created the classic film’s epic tornado sequence as well as directed the iconic scene in which Judy Garland sings “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. Pasolivo still embraces the wild beauty that brought King Vidor here and the Dirk family loves showing off the property’s majestic, towering oaks, flocks of lively wild turkeys, and families of deer. The splendor and tranquility of the ranch are embraced by the staff, too—who provide visitors with a warm, educational experience and hospitality that is second to none. Tough day on the job, huh?

Olive oil gets the Hollywood treatment, here—with none of the Hollywood snobbery—at the laid back Pasolivo tasting rooms.

Mapping and Directions to Pasolivo Olive Oil Vineyard Drive Location: speedfind.com/Pasolivo
Mapping and Directions to Pasolivo Olive Oil Downtown Paso Location: speedfind.com/PasolivoPaso

From Chateauneuf du Pape to Paso

Ryan Render Rendarrio vineyardsRyan Render of Rendarrio Vineyards grew up surfing and swimming as a young guppy. Growing up in Orange County, there were no shortages of ocean adventures or ways to get in touch with nature. After Graduating from Cal Poly in 2003, he set out to make wine on the Central Coast, an incredible wine region as well as a wicked surf spot. No one knows if it was the waves or the wines that truly seduced Rendarrio, but he’s certainly given his heart and soul to the latter. Inspired by a trip to Chateauneuf du Pape in 1999, the young winemaker set out to make great Rhone style wines, and today—nearly two decades later, he’s doing just that.

Sip the surfer’s epic Rhones and watch a video on Rendarrio’s unique winemaking techniques here.

Mapping and Directions to Rendarrio Vineyards: speedfind.com/Rendarrio

 


This blog was written by Hayley Thomas Cain, food and wine writer for SLO New Times and PasoRoblesWineries.net. You can reach her at hthomas@newtimesslo.com or follow her on instagram @flavorslo.


If you’re looking for a place to spend the night in Paso Robles, checkout:

Adelaide Inn

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.

Make Reservations
Directions: speedfind.com/AdelaideInn


La Bellasera Hotel & Suites
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.
Make Reservations

Directions: speedfind.com/LaBellasera

 

Hampton Inn & Suites - Paso Robles

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®
Make Reservations
Directions: speedfind.com/PRWine.HamptonInn

 

Lekai-Ranch_Featured-ImageExperience 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.

Make Reservations

Directions: speedfind.com/Lekai | vrbo.com/701796

 

JUST Inn at Justin Vineyards

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.

Make Reservations  Directions:  speedfind.com/JustinWine

5 Things You Should Never Do to Your Paso Wine

We know, we know. Aren’t there enough rules to the wine world (swirl this, spit that—don’t add ice cubes, blah, blah blah)? We aren’t saying you can’t add a splash of soda water to your chardonnay if you find a spritzer occasionally refreshing. We are, however, saying that there are a few things that are simply not done. What follows are five cardinal sins that will not only ruin your wine tasting experience, but may also ruin your entire dinner party. I suggest you listen and learn, lest you experience your own winetastrophy (yes, we are allowed to make up our own words because we make the rules around here).

Paso Robles Wineries Wine MistakesWinetastrophy: Noun. A calamity, catastrophe, or tragedy pertaining to misuse or mishandling of fine wine.

1. Leave Your Wine in a Hot Car

We shudder to think about the number of wine tasters who purchase a great bottle of wine on a summer day, then leave the darn thing in their car for a “quick stop at the drug store.” Ah, not so innocent, I promise you! It might be 75 degrees outside, but your car—parked in a sunny spot—can easily soar to triple digit temps. After about the 80 degree mark, your wine is actually being “cooked,” which drastically taints the flavor (think sour, jammy canned prunes. Yuck!). Heat can also compromise the seal of the cork or screw cap, which (you guessed it) leads to oxidation issues. Just remember this rule: If you wouldn’t leave your child or dog in a hot-parked car, why would you leave your precious wine?

Bodega De Edgar Buy the wineKeep a cool head with this red: Bodega de Edgar’s 2011 El Pape is made with 65% grenache, 30% mourvedre and 5% syrah—all 100% delicious.

Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/BodegaDeEdgar

 

 

2. Overchill Your Whites

Sorry, but you are probably already doing this on a regular basis. (How to know if you’re serving a white too cold? Have your guests taste it, then ask each person to tell you what, in fact, they just experienced. You may be arguing for quite a while.) Not only does over chilled white wine register as unpleasantly acidic or tart on the tongue, it also tastes a heck of a lot like “nothing at all.” That’s because serving your white wine straight from the fridge masks the true flavors and deadens your taste buds. Butteryness, fruitiness, minerality, a hint of candied pear? Good luck experiencing any of the subtle nuances. How to combat this issue? Simply leave your white on the counter for a good 30 minutes prior to sipping.

Cayucos Cellars Buy the WineWarm up to this white: Tart and sweet as freshly cut pineapple, this 2010 Cayucos Cellars Chardonnay deserves a warmer welcome.

Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/CayucosCellars

 

 

3. Not Decanting Big Reds

No, not all red wines need a true “decanting” process—many can sit on the counter with the cork off and reap the same benefits of a little aeration. However, bigger, beefier wines—say a ten-year-old Syrah—will need more breathing time to allow its true colors to show. Decant these heftier, more complex reds for five minutes to two hours and sample within that timeframe to experience the changes. Need to speed up the process? Pour the wine between two different decanters or simply swirl the wine to increase the air/wine ratio.

Clavo Cellars LogoDecant and enchant: Allow sultry aromas of dark chocolate and black currants to deepen and develop when you decant Clavo Cellars’ 2010 Petite Sirah.

Contact Clavo Cellars for more information: (805) 226-0174. Or, visit their tasting room: Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/ClavoCellars

 

 

4. Leave the Cork Off Overnight

Just as water destroys the Wicked Witch, so does air destroy wine. A little air is always good, but leaving your bottle uncovered for a full night will result in some funky flavors come morning. Before going to bed, ensure that wines are securely closed off with a cap, cork, or –better yet—a wine saver that pumps excess air out of the bottle and away from the precious contents within. Like washing your face nightly or flossing, this is simply good wine hygiene that will pay off tenfold!

Brecon Estate Buy the WineKeep this one air-tight: A true “foodie Syrah,” Brecon Estate’s 2014 Central Coast California Syrah showcases ripe flavors and a complex framework of both American and French oak. Enjoy with dinner all week long (as long as you keep the cork secured).

Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/BreconEstate

 

5. Aging Too Long

Life is short. Drink good wine while you’re still in the pink! The temptation to save nice things: a crisp new work shirt, your grandma’s good china, that expensive bottle of wine, is universally attractive. We all want to believe that “one day” the perfect occasion to drink that special, French 1979 vintage will pop up on our calendars. The sad truth is that we don’t know how much time any of us have left, so you’re better off popping the cork now and getting some enjoyment out of your wine cellar. That said, never age a wine that’s meant to be enjoyed young (lighter reds and whites are often meant to be slurped within two years or so). Have a bottle of red you’ve been assured will mature well over the next ten years or so? Go ahead and lay it down, just don’t be afraid to take it out of retirement early if and when an everyday celebration presents itself.

Jada Vineyards Buy the Wine ButtonCan’t wait to taste:  Jada Vineyards & Winery’s 2013 Hell’s Kitchen is a blend of incredible estate Rhone varietals brimming with blackberry jam, mint, rose petal and flinty goodness. Age until 2020 or drink now. We won’t judge!

Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/JadaVineyard

 

 


This blog was written by Hayley Thomas Cain, food and wine writer for SLO New Times and PasoRoblesWineries.net. You can reach her at hthomas@newtimesslo.com or follow her on instagram @flavorslo.

photo credit: Domiriel Splashed! – Everywhere! via photopin (license)


If you’re looking for a place to spend the night in Paso Robles, checkout:

Adelaide Inn

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.

Make Reservations
Directions: speedfind.com/AdelaideInn


La Bellasera Hotel & Suites
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.
Make Reservations

Directions: speedfind.com/LaBellasera

 

Hampton Inn & Suites - Paso Robles

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®
Make Reservations
Directions: speedfind.com/PRWine.HamptonInn

 

Lekai-Ranch_Featured-ImageExperience 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.

Make Reservations

Directions: speedfind.com/Lekai | vrbo.com/701796

 

JUST Inn at Justin Vineyards

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.

Make Reservations  Directions:  speedfind.com/JustinWine

Is Red Wine Really “Good” for You? 5 Reasons Why

Is Red Wine Good For You

Performing stomach crunches, keeping up with regular dental cleanups, and drinking wheatgrass are all “good for us.” They’re also all less than enjoyable experiences. But what about red wine—something we all love to sip and share with friends? Could it possibly be as good for us as scientific studies have claimed over the years? The answer might surprise (and delight) you. Here are 5 good reasons why you should always keep a bottle of Paso Robles red wine on your countertop. That’s right! A New Year’s resolution you’ll keep with flying colors.

1. Drink in Moderation

First: We’re talking about moderate wine consumption—not downing an entire bottle during a Netflix binge. This means about two-to-four ounces per day, according to the American Heart Association. Think one standard glass per day for women and two for men. P.S. Drinking too much wine—or any alcohol, for that matter—will increase your chances of health problems down the line, so try not to overindulge too often.

2. Combat Heart Disease

Red wine isn’t just bold, structured, or “velvety.” It’s also jam packed with procyanidins, which protect against heart disease (a major health issue in this county). More than a decade of research has proven that light drinkers who consumed moderate amounts of wine cut their risk of dying prematurely from heart disease by almost one third. Moreover, helping your heart has some pretty obvious benefits: decreasing your risk of stroke and heart attack, for starters!

3. Lower Bad Cholesterol

Is Red Wine Good For YouCholesterol can be tricky. Not only does red wine help prevent bad LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, it also helps boost the good kind (cool, huh?). One study tested 275 men and women around the age of 32. Those who imbibed the equivalent of a glass or two of wine each day had significantly higher levels of “good” cholesterol because they remove the “bad” artery-clogging LDLs before they have a chance to choke blood vessels. Take that, bad LDL.

4. Reduce Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Too much sugar and processed foods can lead to serious problems, including life changing battles type 2 Diabetes. But did you know that moderate red wine drinkers have 30 percent less risk than nondrinkers of developing the disease? This finding comes according to research performed on 369,862 individuals studied over an average of 12 years each at Amsterdam’s VU University Medical Center, published in Diabetes Care, 2005.

5. Cut the Risk of Colon Cancer

Many studies have shown that moderate red wine consumption and reduced colon cancer risk show some interesting links. A Stony Brook University study of 2,291 individuals over a four-year period, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2005, showed that those who drank moderate amounts of red wine cut their risk of colon cancer by 45 percent. That’s no small deal.


4 Delicious (and good for you) Reds to keep on-hand while working on those healthy New Year’s Resolutions:


Tooth and Nail buy the wineTooth and Nail 2014 Force of Nature Cabernet Sauvignon: Produced from grapes grown on Mossfire Ranch in Paso Robles, this wine reflects the terroir’s 40 degree diurnal shifts, snow dustings, summer sun and bitter winds. The extremity of the climate creates fruit of uncommon concentration and uniform ripeness.

Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/ToothAndNail


Dubost Buy the WineDubost Ranch 2011 Tempranillo: Rustic and dusty this Tempranillo has leather, brambly, jammy, red raspberry and cranberry notes. Flavors of expresso and cocoa powder are followed by low tones of cherry.

Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/DubostWinery

 


Brecon Estate Buy the WineBrecon Estate 2014 Petite Sirah: Deep dark mysterious hues and monster fruit hit with balanced tannins and subtle a framework of both fine French and complexing American Oak. Great winter warmer, fireside wine. Tuck away under the stairs for a few years, it will reward you well. This wine was recently awarded Editor’s Choice/93 points from Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/BreconEstate


Bodega De Edgar Buy the wineBodega de Edgar 2010 Mis Pasos: This wine offers primary earthy notes of caramelized beets, white pepper, and fresh cut wood, with secondary notes of rose petal, cumin, and garlic blossoms.

Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/BodegaDeEdgar

 


This blog was written by Hayley Thomas Cain, food and wine writer for SLO New Times and PasoRoblesWineries.net. You can reach her at hthomas@newtimesslo.com or follow her on instagram @flavorslo.


If you’re looking for a place to spend the night in Paso Robles, checkout:

Adelaide Inn

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.

Make Reservations
Directions: speedfind.com/AdelaideInn


La Bellasera Hotel & Suites
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.
Make Reservations

Directions: speedfind.com/LaBellasera

 

Hampton Inn & Suites - Paso Robles

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®
Make Reservations
Directions: speedfind.com/PRWine.HamptonInn

 

Lekai-Ranch_Featured-ImageExperience 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.

Make Reservations

Directions: speedfind.com/Lekai | vrbo.com/701796

 

JUST Inn at Justin Vineyards

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.

Make Reservations  Directions:  speedfind.com/JustinWine