Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

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J. Rock
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Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#1 Post by J. Rock » March 11th, 2019, 9:31 pm

My wife and I and another couple are planing a 3-day wine-centric trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles during the summer. While the other couple is pretty knowledgable about wine, I'm just starting to get serious and learn about wine, but have really loved the PR wines I've had so far (L'Aventure - The Sibling and Austin Hope - GSM being my favorites so far). My main goals for this trip are to (1) discover and taste great wine and (2) learn more about wine and wine production, especially how various production techniques and different ages of wine affect what I experience when I drink my wine.

We are already planning on going to L'aventure and Foxen since the other couple are members, but what do you think of the rest of our lineup?

Day 1 (SYV):
- Dragonette Cellars - Private Winery Tour and 6 wine flight
- Sarloos and Sons - Private Tasting w/ Cupcake Pairing
- Foxen 7200 (other couple has membership)
- Foxen (other couple has membership)

Day 2 (PR):
- Clos Solene - private tasting w/ cheese pairing
- Booker
- Torrin - I’m much more interested in the Torrin wines, so I want to make sure the tasting consists of at least half Torrin and not just Lagom
- Tablas Creek - not sure if we want to do the GA tasting room or the private vertical tasting

If we have time after those 4 (since they close at 4 pm):
- Herman Story (closes at 5); and
- Justin downtown PR tasting room (closes at 6). I think we’ll have time for Justin, but not sure about Herman Story.

Day 3 (PR):
- L’Aventure
- Epoch
- go home :(

I'm VERY excited for this trip and really looking forward to your expert opinions.
J o r d a n

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R. Gaston
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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#2 Post by R. Gaston » March 11th, 2019, 9:58 pm

Welcome to WB. Please skip Sarloos as it is a joke if you really want to learn about wine. Hit Bien Nacido/Solomon Hills for some beautiful wines. Please hit Larry at Tercero for some great talk and wines. I will let others take Paso but Booker is not that great of a tasting. Ledge is the best thing going over there IMO. Try to set up a tasting at their place if you can.
Have Fun!!
Ryan

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ky1em!ttskus
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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#3 Post by ky1em!ttskus » March 11th, 2019, 10:15 pm

Herman Story is great. Right around the corner, if you have time, check out Field Recordings. Waaaay better to do these two than Justin, IMO (bought by Fiji water — not the same).

Add Tercero to day 1 — beautiful wines, great company, and [berserker.gif].

Where you eating???

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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#4 Post by larry schaffer » March 11th, 2019, 10:28 pm

Jordan,

Send me an email and I'll be more than happy to give you some suggestions for our area - not only wineries but places to stay, places to eat, a tip about a beer speakeasy, and more.

Cheers!
larry schaffer
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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#5 Post by J. Rock » March 11th, 2019, 11:51 pm

R. Gaston wrote:
March 11th, 2019, 9:58 pm
Welcome to WB. Please skip Sarloos as it is a joke if you really want to learn about wine. Hit Bien Nacido/Solomon Hills for some beautiful wines. Please hit Larry at Tercero for some great talk and wines. I will let others take Paso but Booker is not that great of a tasting. Ledge is the best thing going over there IMO. Try to set up a tasting at their place if you can.
Have Fun!!
Thank you!

I'm not sure if I'll be able to skip Sarloos since someone at my wife's office suggested it and well... cupcakes (so she's looking forward to it). I might have to keep that one for her, but we'll see.

When you say Booker is not that great of a tasting, are you saying that the wine isn't good (I haven't had any yet) or that the actual tasting they offer isn't anything special? Ledge looks cool (and their bottles are priced nicely). I'll be in PR for my birthday, so maybe I can try to get a birthday tasting.
J o r d a n

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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#6 Post by J. Rock » March 12th, 2019, 12:01 am

ky1em!ttskus wrote:
March 11th, 2019, 10:15 pm
Herman Story is great. Right around the corner, if you have time, check out Field Recordings. Waaaay better to do these two than Justin, IMO (bought by Fiji water — not the same).

Add Tercero to day 1 — beautiful wines, great company, and [berserker.gif].

Where you eating???
Thanks for the advice!

I just picked up (but have yet to drink) Field Recordings Pets based on a wine shop recommendation this weekend! I'm looking forward to drinking it.

For food - on Day 1, we're probably doing lunch at Industrial Eats and dinner at Pico at the Los Alamos General Store. For Day 2 (in PR), we'll probably do Thomas Hill Organics. Those menus look great to me but I'm always open to suggestions.

I've heard good things about Tercero too, so I might have to try to add that to the schedule. The good news is, I'm not too far of a drive from SYV, so I can always come back and check out places I didn't get a chance to visit the first time.
J o r d a n

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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#7 Post by Dan Sch » March 12th, 2019, 5:25 am

Piling on here to say a Tercero visit is well worth it.

We also thought that Solminer was doing very cool things, and it’s also right there in Los Olivos.
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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#8 Post by Philip G » March 12th, 2019, 5:55 am

J. Rock wrote:
March 11th, 2019, 11:51 pm
When you say Booker is not that great of a tasting, are you saying that the wine isn't good (I haven't had any yet) or that the actual tasting they offer isn't anything special? Ledge looks cool (and their bottles are priced nicely). I'll be in PR for my birthday, so maybe I can try to get a birthday tasting.
Sounds like a great trip! My wife and I love Paso but it's been a few years. Not an expert but here are my quick takes:

Booker wines are excellent and we enjoyed our tasting there a number of years ago. It was quiet but we were there in the off season. L'Av and Epoch are great. Those three all produce consistent 95+ wines.

Dauo has some excellent wines and a beautiful tasting room with one of the best views in Paso. If you can fit a stop in there at the end of the day for the sunset it's worthwhile. I wouldn't go to Paso without stopping at Turley. We liked Adelaida and Lone Madrone which are moderately priced and on the small side providing a more personal experience.

We weren't that impressed by Tablas Creek, seemed tour bus-y, although the Esprit is very good.
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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#9 Post by Roger Ouellette » March 12th, 2019, 6:34 am

Jordan,

+1 on Adelaida, almost across the road from Tablas (another +1). Yes, Tablas is fairly big and very popular but is well worth the effort even if just for the education re: all the things the Haas family had done for the area (Full disclosure, we've been members at Tablas for quite a while).

Our Booker tasting was ok but for the price I was expecting a bit more from their wine.

If you'd like to try something a bit different I'd also add a visit to:
Paix Sur Terre (new facility off of Vineyard Dr.) - Ryan and Nicole make some great Mourvedre based wines.
Anglim (in town near the train depot) - Steve Anglim makes two awesome Viogniers, one with new oak and one with neutral, have him pour them side by side.

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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#10 Post by Josh H » March 12th, 2019, 8:03 am

I can’t speak of the tasting room itself, but Booker is well worth it, as I find their entire portfolio to be excellent. I recently had a tasting with the owner/winemaker Eric Jensen here in Florida and it was really great. Note that they’re in the process of building a cave, so it may be worth waiting on a visit until that is done.
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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#11 Post by dsimmons » March 12th, 2019, 1:02 pm

Although I don't have much experience in the SYV, your list for day two and three look good. I would also suggest that Justin would not be my choice.

Finally, when we were in Paso a few weeks ago we enjoyed a visit to Kukkula which is near Tablas. Their releases have a little more age than most and the wines were quite good and fairly priced.
D o n

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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#12 Post by J. Rock » March 12th, 2019, 1:32 pm

dsimmons wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 1:02 pm
Although I don't have much experience in the SYV, your list for day two and three look good. I would also suggest that Justin would not be my choice.

Finally, when we were in Paso a few weeks ago we enjoyed a visit to Kukkula which is near Tablas. Their releases have a little more age than most and the wines were quite good and fairly priced.
Honestly, I'm not especially excited for Justin, especially since it's so easy to find their wine where I live, but it looks like their downtown tasting room is open until 6 while most others close at 4 and Herman Story closes at 5 (on Sunday), so we'd just go there as it seems to be the only tasting room open that late. If I find other tasting rooms we can make it to between 5 and 6, I might go there instead of Justin.
J o r d a n

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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#13 Post by Mike Stoneking » March 12th, 2019, 1:57 pm

Get out early and drive some of the backroads in these areas and take in the scenery. In Paso, go out 24th Street west towards Adelaida Road and take that drive to Adelaide Vineyards (they open at 10am!). The hills are beautiful green at this time of the year and if you look around you will likely see some wildlife. Some of the views up there are awesome. If you are driving south when returning home, go west on HWY 46 and look for Old Creek Road. Take a left there and there is another great stretch to take a slow ride through some more back country. It is a bit of a windy road but very peaceful in the morning. It drops you off in Cayucos on HWY 1 for a nice coastal drive (watch for lots of dogs on the beach) down to Morro Bay and the San Luis Obispo. Best time of the year to be in this area. Have fun!
And check out 94.9 on the FM dial. K-PIG out of Santa Cruz is piped out of Cayucos and there is an eclectic mix of tunes on that station.
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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#14 Post by Larry G0ld3n » March 12th, 2019, 3:05 pm

Herman Story w winemaker & founder Russell From is an absolute ant miss experience.

Consider Daou, if you want truly excellent wine, a luxury experience that is unequalled and a view to die for.

As for Booker - I do buy and really enjoy some of their wines, but the experience of late has been eh at best. The staff outstanding but the wines they’ve had to pour just ok which is surprising given the great wines they produce.

And Epoch, very warm, special and friendly who introduced us to several who became favs. Darned good wine as well.

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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#15 Post by R. Gaston » March 12th, 2019, 5:20 pm

To be clear, Booker makes great wines. I have done a tour with Eric and tasted through barrels and checked out his property. Was an amazing day. That experience changes very quickly if you drop in for a public tasting. Pricey and small pours on a very limited amount of wines. At least that is my experience over the past three times.
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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#16 Post by Albert R » March 12th, 2019, 5:29 pm

Tercero/Larry was a highlight of our trip in 2017.


Adelaida-excellent wine and overall experience
Epoch-excellent wine
Dauo-View, light lunch, wine ok.
Tablas-was ok for us.
Cheers,

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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#17 Post by R Davis » March 12th, 2019, 5:44 pm

I am not sure if Torrin's tasting room is still in Tin City or if they've opened up their new tasting room. When we visited last August, they were only pouring their Lagom offerings and just one of their Torrin wines so I would double check if you are interested in their GSMs. Also if they are still in Tin City, I strongly recommend walking around the corner to Turtle Rock's tasting room. Claudia and Don (Don also works for Justin Smith so there is a strong pedigree) are terrific folks and have a wide set of offerings, culminating with their exceptional G2 (from Bill Gibbs vineyard who frequents this board) and Maturin (James Berry fruit).

We also visited with Cris Cherry at Villa Creek. A bit out in the middle of nowhere, I think their winery is also worth considering, especially if Torrin's new tasting room is open as VC is just a few more miles up the road. FWIW, I've been buying their wines since the 2004 vintage and have a great amount of respect and loyalty for them.

Finally, while at Villa Creek, the winemaker from Tablas showed up. His name is Neil Collins and also has his own winery, Lone Madrone. One thing led to another at VC and we ended up taking the party to LM. If you are dissuaded by the somewhat commercial type experience at Tablas, perhaps consider going to LM. You won't find a concentration in the way of Rhone varietals here, but a smattering of esoteric but well-made whites and reds. He has a ton of well priced, low volume, dry farmed wines that were a bit of a reprieve after tasting a lot of GSMs over the preceding couple of days. And it is a low key experience. However, if your focus is on GSM's, this might not be your place.

Hope this helps...have a great time.
Bob

P.S. We also went to L'Aventure. Wines were ok, but we aren't really fans of Cab/GSM blends that they tend to do. Wanted to get to Epoch but didn't have the time. Look forward to hearing about your experience there if you can squeeze it in.

PPS. I would really find a way to get to Turtle Rock. See Jeb's tasting notes.

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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#18 Post by R. Gaston » March 12th, 2019, 9:36 pm

I think Turtle Rock is a very good call!
Ryan

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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#19 Post by ky1em!ttskus » March 13th, 2019, 8:32 am

R. Gaston wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 9:36 pm
I think Turtle Rock is a very good call!
I’ve heard very good things and it’s on my radar for our next trip.

Really, Tin City could be the whole trip.

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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#20 Post by larry schaffer » March 13th, 2019, 9:13 am

If you do go to Tin City, you might want to check out monochrome, a winery that exclusively does whites. I've heard good things about the wines there.
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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#21 Post by mmoyer » March 13th, 2019, 10:26 am

Check out Nicora and Law. Law is the more elegant of the two. Wonderful facility.
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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#22 Post by J. Rock » March 14th, 2019, 1:53 pm

Thank you SO much for all of your great suggestions! Unfortunately, I can't fit everything into this trip, so I'll have to save some places for the next time I drive up.

My one remaining question is: if you had to choose between Turtle Rock and Herman Story, which would you choose?

FYI: For our Paso days, it looks like we'll be doing:

Sunday:
- Close Solene (private wine + cheese)
- Tablas Creek (collector's vertical tasting)
- Booker
- L'Aventure
- Herman Story or Turtle Rock (from about 4:15 - 5:00, when they close)
- Justing downtown tasting room if we're still standing (because they are open until 6)

Monday (before we head home):
- Torrin
- Epoch
J o r d a n

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Re: Feedback on Itinerary for Trip to Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles

#23 Post by lleichtman » March 14th, 2019, 3:59 pm

Stay away from Sarloos, just a rip off. I always recommend Casa Dumetz in Los Almos as Sonja makes really nice wines.
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