The long days. The longer nights. The picking, pruning, and punching-down. The blending. The bottling. It’s a lot, right? I haven’t even touched on the fermenting, aging, sales, marketing, and nitpicking over just what should go on the back of that hard-earned wine label (we don’t have all day, here). No wine is made in a vacuum, and—if you think about it—each vintage represents an entire team’s worth of blood, sweat and tears.
These bottles truly are collaborations representing the brightest talent Paso Robles Wine Country has to offer. That means that industry awards aren’t just appreciated by a few at the top: they’re shared among friends and family, tasting room staff and vineyard managers alike. Today, we applaud these hardworking wineries—and every single person who has a hand in making great wine—for their dedication, devotion and deep attention to craft. This one’s for you! Take a bow. You earned these accolades. We can’t wait to enjoy the “fruit” of your labor.
1. Allegretto Vineyards and Wines
2014 Cabernet Sauvignon (Gold)
2013 Zinfandel (Silver)
San Francisco Chronicle
2014 Cabernet Sauvignon: Moderately fruit forward, big and bold filled with savory notes opulent layers of black currents; wild blackberries and green peppercorn carry through to the palate, which is accented by firm tannins and a rich mouth feel. A long lingering, velvet finish reminiscent of an age first growth Bordeaux.
2. Brecon Estate
Brecon Estate Feral Underclass 2016 Single Vineyard Reserve Adelaida District
57% Petite Sirah; 43% Zinfandel
99 points Double Gold, Best of Class Best of Varietal, New World International Wine Competition, March 2018
Brecon Estate Forty Two Red Rhone Blend 2016 California; Central Coast
99 points, Double Gold, Best of Class, Best of Varietal, New World International Wine Competition, March 2018
Brecon Estate Petite Sirah 2015 Reserve Monterey
95.2% Petite Sirah; 4.8% Tannat
95 Points, Best of Class, Gold, New World International Wine Competition March, 2018
2016 Brecon Feral Underclass
Coined in 2011 by the Right Honorable British Justice Secretary during civil unrest in the UK, the term went viral. Brecon loves how the name rolls off the tongue and of course imagines its wine a tad on the riotous side. It all kind of fits, as the winery uses two varieties traditionally excluded from the nobel variety club: Petite Sirah and Zinfandel. When properly nurtured in Paso Robles, they are world-class. The winemaker has put one proverbial finger up at the conventions of a class system by bottling it in Brecon’s single vineyard reserve program. By the way, it’s a big, structured cooler climate Petite Sirah/Zinfandel blend with bags of character and layers of hidden pepper and spice.
3. Écluse Wines
2015 Ensemble Blend
32% Petit Verdot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec
Double Gold, 2018 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
2015 Insider Blend
25% Tannat, 25% Petit Verdot, 25% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc
Gold Medal, 2018 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
2015 Ensemble: Incredibly rich in color, notes of sweet tobacco and vanilla lead to blueberry pie on the nose. This full bodied Bordeaux blend excites the palate with flavors of cranberry, bright red fruit and dried cherries with good structure and perfect balance. Phenomenal now but will continue to age beautifully—if you can wait. Only 377 cases produced.
4. Harmony Cellars
2016 Harmony Cellars Chardonnay
Double Gold, Best of Class, 97 points: New World International March, 2018
2014 Harmony Cellars Reserve Aria
Double Gold, Best of Paso Robles, 94 points: Toast of the Coast, January 2018
2016 Harmony Cellars Chardonnay: Light golden in color, this wine offers intense aromas of pineapple, melon and butterscotch. Tropical and citrus flavors are complemented by crisp acidity. Full-bodied and creamy, this wine finishes with notes of buttered toast.
5. Hoyt Family Vineyards
2013 Petit Sirah
Gold, San Fransisco Wine Chronicle
2017 Pinot Noir Estate Rose
87 points, Wine Enthusiast
2017 Pinot Noir Estate Rose: This new estate grown release is beautifully delicate, with strawberry notes and a lovey grapefruit finish. 2013 Petit Sirah: Willow creak AVA. Beautiful full mouth feel, blackberry and currant notes.
6. Michael Gill Cellars
Gold, Berlin Germany International Wine Competition – also named ‘California Winery of the Year’
Double Gold Best of Show, Florida International
99 Points, Best of Class, Best of Variety, New World Wine Competition
Double Gold, Jerry Mead’s Competition
Tempranillo Tantrum 2016
Gold, Florida International Wine Competition
Gold, Florida International Wine Competition
Tempranillo Tantrum 2016 : This is a very approachable and tasty wine, especially for a grape that can be so tannic when young. Aromas of cola, chopped mint and cherries translate to a fruity and minty palate, with just enough tannins, a nice acidic spice and a bit of woodiness on the finish. It’s very well measured. – Wine Enthusiast
7. Opolo Vineyards
2016 Mountain Zinfandel
93 Points, Wine Enthusiast
2015 Reserve Rhapsody
93 Points, Cellar Selection, Wine Enthusiast
2015 Reserve Rhapsody: Only the best goes into Opolo’s Rhapsody Bordeaux blend consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cab Franc and Malbec. Rich cassis and dark plum greet the nose. Fleshy currant and black cherry follow. This a big wine worthy of cellar aging. It is drinkable now if decanted and left to breathe for at least an hour. Heavy bodied and best if laid down for 2-4 years and will continue to improve with proper cellar aging for 10 years. Pair classically with any prime cut beef or pair with Malaysian curry for some spice.
8. Oso Libre Winery
Grande Comemorativo Adelaida Bordeaux Blend
Double Gold, 96 Points, San Francisco International Wine Competition, Summer 2017
2012 Quixotic, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Gold, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, February 2018
2012 Quixotic, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon: Aromas of ripe cherries, dried plum and vanilla burst with a bright acidity and fresh fruit flavor. A silky smooth finish is produced due to their extended aging techniques, lingering with notes of licorice and chocolate.
9. Peachy Canyon
2015 Snow Zinfandel
Single Vineyard Zinfandel – Adelaida District, Paso Robles
92 points Wine Enthusiast
2015 Bailey Zinfandel
Single Vineyard Zinfandel – Adelaida District, Paso Robles
91 points Wine Enthusiast
2015 Snow Zinfandel: A light and elegant Zinfandel. Begins with fresh herbs, pine nut, and rose petals on the nose. The palate then starts with blackberry, raspberry, and cherry cola before introducing notes of clove, nutmeg, and white pepper for a dry, lingering finish.
10. Seven Oxen Estate Wines
93 points, Wine Enthusiast
90 points, Wine Enthusiast
2014 Grenache: Dark chocolate on the nose. Strong, concentrated red raspberry and cherry brandy flavors are balanced with spicy notes of black pepper and rounded out with a nice, bright acidity. 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.
11. Sextant Wines
2015 ‘Kamal’ Cabernet Sauvignon
94 Points, Wine Enthusiast
92 Points, Wine Enthusiast
2015 ‘Kamal’ Cabernet Sauvignon: From the very first vintage, the Sextant Kamal has consistently been an elegant representation of Bordeaux-style blends with Paso Robles provenance. It features range and depth, flowing with sumptuous cherries, plums, and raspberries. Hints of bramble and cedar bring lifted layers. An inviting scuffle of dark cocoa, mission figs, and crème de cassis join the gentle fray. The integration of refreshing acidity and smooth tannins are once again perfected, leading to a pleasing echo of the profile in a lengthy finish.
12. Tooth and Nail Winery
Tooth and Nail 2015 The Stand Petite Sirah Paso Robles
91% Petite Sirah, 8% Syrah, 1% Viognier
92 points, Wine Enthusiast
Tooth and Nail 2015 The Possessor Red Paso Robles
91 points, Wine Enthusiast
Tooth and Nail 2015 The Stand Petite Sirah Paso Robles: This Petite Sirah, enhanced by 8% Syrah and 1% Viognier, is extremely dense on the nose, with aromas of blueberry, black currant, vanilla, tarragon and fudge. Mouthcoating tannins and powerful acidity bloom on the palate, where black-cherry-laced chocolate-cake flavors rise to an espresso bean finish. – Wine Enthusiast
This blog was written by Hayley Thomas Cain, food and wine writer for SLO New Times and PasoRoblesWineries.net. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on instagram @flavorslo.
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.
Majestically set among vineyards, olive groves and fruit baring orchards, the 20-acre Allegretto Vineyard Resort is a world unto itself, offering breathtaking settings that inspire and bring joy to all who choose this memorable wine country haven. Featuring 171 rooms and suites, on-site spa, grand ballroom, wine tasting room, and inspired culinary creations at Cello, the resort’s full service restaurant.
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.
Paso Robles Vacation Rentals, also known as PasoStay.com assists guests in creating memories and wonderful experiences by providing quality privately owned vacation home rentals in Paso Robles Wine Country. With over 90 vacation homes to choose from, small enough for a couple’s romantic getaway to large homes amongst local vineyards and olive orchards, PasoStay.com has the perfect option for you. Feel free to call 805-423-9174 to talk with a local expert or book online at PasoStay.com.