Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

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C. Heinsen
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Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#1 Post by C. Heinsen » December 5th, 2019, 10:15 am

Hello all!

So I will preface this with the statement that I am pretty sure I have read almost every post regarding Paso visits, specifically around Tin City. My wife and I plan to spend a Thursday afternoon at Tin City, then visit Linne Calodo, Justin, and Hermant Story on Friday.

I think I have read great things about most of the wineries in Tin City. I know I want to visit Turtle Rock and Sans Liege (I have always been a fan of these...). On the short list after that are:

Nicora (does Top still do tastings out of Tin City here?)
Levo
Field Recordings (have always loved their wines. They are fun.)
Brian Benson
Aaron
Onx

I live near Napa and Sonoma, so want to really focus on the rhone based varietals and producers that have that unique Paso style. Any suggestions or opinions would be greatly appreciated!
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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#2 Post by J. Rock » December 5th, 2019, 11:41 am

I think Torrin should not be missed. Great wines from top to bottom and really lovely tasting experience (just nice ambience and intimate).

The Clos Solene tasting with cheese pairing is really excellent all around as well.

Slightly below those two for me, but still really enjoyable, is Epoch. Very comfortable tasting and nice ambiance with great wines.

I love L'Aventures wine and the tasting was solid, though the experience itself wasn't as polished as the three mentioned above. If you go on a slower day, you might get a little cave tour thrown in.

I was personally a bit disappointed by Booker. I think the only higher/highest-end wine the poured was My Favorite Neighbor (which I admittedly love; however, they wouldn't sell us any without joining the club), but their other wines didn't wow me as much as most of the others and the tasting room was nothing to write home about. It was slow and we did get to go on a vineyard tour though which was really nice. Not a bad experience at all, but I don't think it quite stacked up to the other ones.

Herman Story is a fun/casual one for the end of the day if you're staying in downtown Paso.

I still haven't been to Tin City, but I''m hoping to go soon.

Have fun!
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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#3 Post by Jeremy D. » December 5th, 2019, 12:17 pm

These are some of my favs in Paso to visit. L’Aventure
Caliza
Booker
Torrin
Herman Story
Levo- Tim City
Benom- Tin City
Brian Benson-Tin City
Guyomar
Dilecta
Alta Colina
Clos Solène, you can probably taste Benom wines there as well, same winemaker/co owner.
Denner
Epoch
Law Estate
Zin Alley
Desperada-Tin City
Tablas Creek
Paso Underground: 4 small boutique wines there, Hubba, Lost Blues, Ranchero Cellars and Ultima Tuile
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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#4 Post by David B » December 5th, 2019, 12:34 pm

Lone Madrone is a fun place to visit. The owner is the winemaker at Tablas Creek. Lots of different wines at decent prices.
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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#5 Post by Jeff_M. » December 5th, 2019, 1:54 pm

Epoch Estate, they do require reservations now. New tasting room is really nice.

I might not like their bottle shapes, but Turley makes some killer zin's and petite syrah's and you never know when they are pouring an older library wine in that tasting room.

I haven't had much experience with their wines, however we had a really good tasting at Brecon Estate.
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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#6 Post by Mike Stoneking » December 5th, 2019, 2:09 pm

Top does taste out of the Nicora space but when we were there recently they were out of wine. Do contact them to see if that is still the current status.
Aaron is also making nice wines in Tin City.
Wild card- Giornata in Tin City. All Italian wines that are quite good and affordable. Check them out.
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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#7 Post by Anton D » December 5th, 2019, 2:19 pm

Arriving late on the scene, agree with the great advice others have given.

We particularly enjoy visiting Desparada and Herman Story, just to pile on.
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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#8 Post by JohnP » December 5th, 2019, 4:10 pm

You'll definitely want to add Torrin to the list. Their Syrah is world class! JebD thinks so too, gave their Akasha 100pts in 2015.
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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#9 Post by J. Rock » December 5th, 2019, 4:21 pm

JohnP wrote:
December 5th, 2019, 4:10 pm
You'll definitely want to add Torrin to the list. Their Syrah is world class! JebD thinks so too, gave their Akasha 100pts in 2015.
I have 5 of the 2016 Akashas (which they should be pouring now), but I feel that they are so young/tight right now. I think Torrin opens their bottles up well in advance of your tasting so they show better, which is a nice way to be introduced to the wine. I really like their Pinots (and Chardonnay) too, which I can drink while I let their big reds rest in the cellar for many years.
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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#10 Post by Albert R » December 5th, 2019, 4:55 pm

Adelaida & Epoch
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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#11 Post by Gus Siokis » December 5th, 2019, 11:33 pm

Don’t miss out on Turtle Rock - Saxum’s assistant winemaker and Benom - owner of Clos Solène and his brother. All in Tin City.
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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#12 Post by Philip G » December 6th, 2019, 5:50 am

David B wrote:
December 5th, 2019, 12:34 pm
Lone Madrone is a fun place to visit. The owner is the winemaker at Tablas Creek. Lots of different wines at decent prices.
Agree with Lone Madrone being a reasonably priced fun spot to stop in at. Very friendly and they've got goats and stuff. Adelaida I put in kind of the same bucket.

+1 L'Aventure makes some excellent wines, lots of variety. +1 Epoch is great. +1 Turley as well.

-1 Agree with Booker being kind of meh as far as the tasting room experience and I was a member when we visited.

I'm not big on Daou but they have a beautiful spot, great to finish the day there and catch the sunset.

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#13 Post by Bill Gibbs » December 7th, 2019, 2:35 pm

Lot's of good suggestions. I'd add Jacob Toft to the Tin City list.

TOP has moved their tasting to Tin County, just outside Tin City, building on corner of Ramada & Marquita Crossing, inside the Cordant/Nelle winery. They have their own upstairs room. I think they are pouring futures. I had their 2016's Thursday at a local Ruth's Cris wine dinner, drinking very nice.
I'd suggest Dilecta, if you need a stop between Linne & Justin.

(I sell grapes to a number of the wineries listed above and have to be considered biased [cheers.gif] )

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#14 Post by Jud Reis » December 7th, 2019, 6:18 pm

Go see Ryan and Nicole at Paix Sur Terre - great people and great wines.

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#15 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » December 7th, 2019, 8:36 pm

Tablas Creek --- best CA Rhone winery, imo.

--- if you searched all.past Paso threads then you already know everything else I would say.
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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#16 Post by J. Rock » December 7th, 2019, 10:07 pm

Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote:
December 7th, 2019, 8:36 pm
Tablas Creek --- best CA Rhone winery, imo.

--- if you searched all.past Paso threads then you already know everything else I would say.
If you do Tablas (which isn't my favorite, but is a good one to go to at least once and is priced better than a lot of the others), I highly recommend the collectors vertical tasting or at least a seated tasting. I'm not a fan of the GA standing at the counter tasting; if it's not an off day, it's kind of like a zoo in there.
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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#17 Post by J O S H L O N G » December 8th, 2019, 6:17 am

Cass
Denner

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#18 Post by Larry Chmel » December 8th, 2019, 6:43 am

I've always liked Thacher.

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#19 Post by P Intag » December 8th, 2019, 7:25 am

I've mostly avoided Paso wines in recent years, but I'll chime in on my impressions of a couple that I've had experience with:
L'Aventure - $100+ per bottle oak milkshakes. Haven't tried any recently, but haven't heard anything to the contrary. No thanks.
Tablas Creek - easily the best wines in the region. Most of the higher end Paso reds tend towards spoof, but TC is making balanced wines that are enjoyable and tasty.
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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#20 Post by J. Rock » December 8th, 2019, 9:40 am

P Intag wrote:
December 8th, 2019, 7:25 am
L'Aventure - $100+ per bottle oak milkshakes.
What does the term "milkshake" mean with respect to wine? Does it mean very viscous?
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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#21 Post by P Intag » December 8th, 2019, 9:49 am

Well, I would describe them and thick and rich, with extremely ripe fruit. Lots of oak notes of vanilla and wood. If you like this style, then it may very well be worth a visit.
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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#22 Post by R M Kriete » December 8th, 2019, 10:16 am

P Intag wrote:
December 8th, 2019, 7:25 am
I've mostly avoided Paso wines in recent years, but I'll chime in on my impressions of a couple that I've had experience with:
L'Aventure - $100+ per bottle oak milkshakes. Haven't tried any recently, but haven't heard anything to the contrary. No thanks.
Tablas Creek - easily the best wines in the region. Most of the higher end Paso reds tend towards spoof, but TC is making balanced wines that are enjoyable and tasty.
Agree about Tablas. Tablas Creek eschews the overly-extracted, overly-oaked, overly-viscous style. Provides a nice counterpoint to the BIG wines you will find at a lot of Paso wineries. Great juice at great prices. The sit down tasting, where you get to taste older vintages, is a blast. Well worth the tariff.

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#23 Post by Philip G » December 10th, 2019, 6:09 am

J. Rock wrote:
December 8th, 2019, 9:40 am
P Intag wrote:
December 8th, 2019, 7:25 am
L'Aventure - $100+ per bottle oak milkshakes.
What does the term "milkshake" mean with respect to wine? Does it mean very viscous?
It's AFWE frat code. It means you don't have to gargle it to suck the flavor out ;-)

We were underwhelmed by Tablas Creek. It felt the most corporate and touristy of all the places we stopped. Wines for the most part are more thin and mild compared to a lot of Paso, "good food wines". The Esprit de Beaucastel, which they don't make anymore, was a bigger wine.

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#24 Post by Al Osterheld » December 10th, 2019, 8:08 am

They still make the Esprit wines and the Panoplie which also previously had Esprit de Beaucastel in the name. Same wine programs, just new names.

As far as the wines, one person's balanced is another's underwhelming. Personally, I'm quite fond of their wines and their tasting room (and tasting room staff).

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#25 Post by Bill Gibbs » December 10th, 2019, 8:18 am

The bigger the winery (cases per year), the bigger the tasting room, and the less likely you are to meet an owner or winemaker in the tasting room. Or so it seems to me. I still like the small guy’s best.

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#26 Post by Philip G » December 10th, 2019, 8:20 am

Al Osterheld wrote:
December 10th, 2019, 8:08 am
They still make the Esprit wines and the Panoplie which also previously had Esprit de Beaucastel in the name. Same wine programs, just new names.

As far as the wines, one person's balanced is another's underwhelming. Personally, I'm quite fond of their wines and their tasting room (and tasting room staff).

-Al
Al

Agree! And since Paso is known for bigger, bolder wines TC could be a good option to mix things up with the palate.

Cheers

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#27 Post by S teve R edenbaugh » December 10th, 2019, 8:30 am

My L'Aventure wines are among my most cherished, BUT they require patience. Yes they have new oak, yes they exhibit high ABV, give them 10 or 15 years and they sing. Recently had an '04 Cote de Cote and it blew away some serious Rhone competition. Regarding Tablas Creek I love everything they do, but especially their white wine program. I no longer purchase Denner, Booker, Epoch or Turley. I find their wines heavy-handed and unbalanced.

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#28 Post by Andrew Dodd » December 10th, 2019, 9:33 am

So we went in Spring of 2017, a few notes below.
Typically we booked only two appts. per day, one morning one afternoon and asked for the full tour.
That was a good life decision, everyone was so enthusiastic and passionate.
Paso to me felt less "exit through the gift shop" than some large corporate Napa wineries I've visited.
My favorites were: Saxum, Booker, Epoch & TH Estates.

If you need a place to stay, this VRBO was INCREDIBLE. Views of Paderewski vineyard right down the hill, across the street from TH Estate winery. (Click for link)



Wineries (in no specific order):

Saxum - I mean, the highlight of the trip. Justin and Don lead us around doing barrel samples. No words. Just incredible. I can now die happy as this was a dream come true.

L'Aventure - A fantastic tour, loved getting to check out the caves, the tasting was very thoughtful and they pulled out some interesting samples via Coravin.

Booker - Another wonderful tour, starting with a seating tasting, then a tour through the vineyard on a 4x4 gator. Delicious wines obviously.

Turtle Rock - a fun small tasting, really enjoyed running through their wines as I was less familiar with them.

Epoch - Quite the all encompassing tour. Went through the winery, the lab, barrel room, you name it. Extensive. Got to taste from the tank, was a great experience.

Linne Calodo - I mean, it was fine. No tour available. Just felt like kind of an average tasting. Good wines.

Herman Story - Entertaining tasting, sadly Russell wasn't there. Really love their wines.

TH Estate Wines - What an experience, one of the best tastings I did while in Paso. We got Phil (assistant winemaker) and basically just followed him around the barrel room tasting whatever we wanted. Later at the sit down tasting Terry clearly made a point come say hello, was just top notch start to finish. Awesome wines as well.

Villa Creek (Tasting only) - Was a very nice relaxing sit down tasting. Beautiful location, really enjoyed it.

LAW Estate - Great sit down tasting with amazing wines, but they didn't really do a tour of the vineyards or winery unless you're on their mailing list which is kind of regrettable (joined later).



Food:

La Cosecha Bar and Restaurant - Solid wine list, almost Tapas style plates. Enjoyable.

Kitchenette - Probably my favorite place there, casual but amazing breakfast/coffee. Croque madame is to die for. Think we went here three times lol.

Il Cortile Ristorante - Fantastic fresh pasta and good wine list.

Thomas Hill Organics - Nice casual lunch spot, farm to table.

The Hatch - The whiskey list here is incredible and reasonably priced. Food also amazing. We did happy hour/snacks here and that was a mistake, should have stayed for dinner.

Fish Gaucho - It was fine, but I liked the other places we went better.

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#29 Post by J. Rock » December 10th, 2019, 12:31 pm

I don't really like to speak badly about people or businesses, but I went to Thomas Hill Organics in June and it was one of the most sad dining experiences I've EVER had ANYWHERE; certainly the worst dining experience I've had in the last several years. I don't want to go into details, but let's just say that before we even said anything, they comped 50% of the meal, and we still would've been better off ordering a big chain pizza delivered to our room. I'll be shocked if it's open next June. Whatever you do, don't go.

I'd check out the place that was just opened by Stephan Asseo's son called Les Petites Canailles.
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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#30 Post by Bill Gibbs » December 10th, 2019, 12:47 pm

I'd check out the place that was just opened by Stephan Asseo's son called Les Petites Canailles.
It’s excellent. Make reservations well in advance. Known as LPC, their website is www.lpcrestaurant.com.
First wine list I’ve seen with a “family” producers section.

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#31 Post by Bill Gibbs » December 11th, 2019, 3:39 pm

There is another new place in town to eat. Out on 46W near Vineyard is a new tasting room, Wines of the West. 4 different labels, you can form your own opinions of the wines. What's special is the food. Heirloom Catering run's the kitchen from 11-8 every day. The chef Matteo was the first chef at the Hatch, invented their famous mushroom dish. His wife is the baker. Tables are outside and inside the tasting room. This is not a fancy restaurant, but the food is great! I went for the first time last night and asked for the chef's menu dinner, let him pick the dishes for three of us. Everything was excellent. Ceasar salad, Pig ear chicharrones, roasted carrots, hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, porchetta, beef cheeks... I look forward to trying the lunch menu.

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#32 Post by C. Heinsen » December 12th, 2019, 4:33 am

[quote="Andrew Dodd" post_id=2863849 time=1575999186 user_id=15753]


Saxum - I mean, the highlight of the trip. Justin and Don lead us around doing barrel samples. No words. Just incredible. I can now die happy as this was a dream come true.
[/quote]

I just have to ask. Are you a member of Saxum? I have been told you have to be on their allocation to taste there, but if there is some sort of loophole I am all ears! It is a bucket list item for me. I think I have another 5 years or so before getting my allocation.
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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#33 Post by Andrew Dodd » December 12th, 2019, 7:05 am

C. Heinsen wrote:
December 12th, 2019, 4:33 am
Andrew Dodd wrote:
December 10th, 2019, 9:33 am


Saxum - I mean, the highlight of the trip. Justin and Don lead us around doing barrel samples. No words. Just incredible. I can now die happy as this was a dream come true.
I just have to ask. Are you a member of Saxum? I have been told you have to be on their allocation to taste there, but if there is some sort of loophole I am all ears! It is a bucket list item for me. I think I have another 5 years or so before getting my allocation.
Been on the list for quite a while, and they were gracious enough to put up with me for an afternoon :)
Had to make a day trip due to scheduling and drive down there from San Francisco that morning at 4AM, totally worth it, lol.
Last edited by Andrew Dodd on December 12th, 2019, 7:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#34 Post by Andrew Dodd » December 12th, 2019, 7:07 am

J. Rock wrote:
December 10th, 2019, 12:31 pm
I don't really like to speak badly about people or businesses, but I went to Thomas Hill Organics in June and it was one of the most sad dining experiences I've EVER had ANYWHERE; certainly the worst dining experience I've had in the last several years. I don't want to go into details, but let's just say that before we even said anything, they comped 50% of the meal, and we still would've been better off ordering a big chain pizza delivered to our room. I'll be shocked if it's open next June. Whatever you do, don't go.

I'd check out the place that was just opened by Stephan Asseo's son called Les Petites Canailles.
Interesting, I didn't have that bad of an experience, but I do remember the food being aggressively mediocre.

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#35 Post by Scott Butler » December 12th, 2019, 9:58 am

C. Heinsen wrote:
December 5th, 2019, 10:15 am

Levo
Brian Benson

These 2 are fantastic, I highly recommend them.
WOTY:61 Chateau Verdignan

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#36 Post by B. Blaze » December 21st, 2019, 12:17 pm

I second all the suggestions above, and must add the following:

Top Winery
Cordant Nelle
Desparada
Fulldraw
Dilecta
B r a d

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#37 Post by larry schaffer » December 21st, 2019, 2:47 pm

Levo makes some great wines - almost entirely from SB County fruit.

Cheers.
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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#38 Post by Mont Stern » December 22nd, 2019, 2:52 pm

Lone Madrone -winemaker from Tablas Creek
Denner- Owned by the Ditch Witch guy so related names like Ditch Digger and Dirt Worshipper. I subscribed during visit and have been tempted to drop like I do most wine clubs. Then I open a bottle from delivery and not drop it.
Halter Ranch- A must for orthopedic surgeons and those with joint replacements because the sale of Synthes to J&J bought this place.

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#39 Post by jnbrown » December 23rd, 2019, 9:12 pm

J O S H L O N G wrote:
December 8th, 2019, 6:17 am
Cass
Denner
Cass is nice place, it is way out East and very scenic. Wines are quite good.
There are other wineries out that way as well such as August Ridge which does some nice Italian varietals.
I discovered Aaron way back when he only did killer PS and it was $30, now its much higher but he is a great guy.
I always like Eberle for its historic place, last time finally met and talked with Gary.
Joel

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#40 Post by John Glas » December 24th, 2019, 7:54 am

Booker
Yes sir! [cheers.gif]

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#41 Post by DIANAD » January 9th, 2020, 12:51 pm

Jacob Toft in Tin City (wife Kelly worked at Linne Calodo for years)
Clos Selene
Booker
L'Aventure
D A Y

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Re: Paso Robles Trip Suggestions

#42 Post by Mstanford » January 9th, 2020, 7:49 pm

if you're out on the west side - at Law for an 11am, for instance, and you're driving over to Linne or Epoch for an afternoon tasting - i recommend stopping at Calcareous for lunch...they have light cheese boards/etc. & snacks you can buy or you can take your own & buy a bottle from them. The views are SPECTACULAR up there with tables outside their tasting room. i'm not a big Calcareous aficionado either way, but it's a great place to stop for a few minutes and relax. Highly recommend it
Mike Stanford

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