First Paso Trip-Need a little help

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J Bateman
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First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#1 Post by J Bateman » July 30th, 2020, 8:37 am

First I want to say a big thank you, this forum has been a wealth of information on all things wine. I stumbled upon this site when trying to learn more about Paso for an upcoming trip. This has become our back up honeymoon trip due to having to cancel Italy. We are looking at it as a wine cellar stock trip as well. I've tried to come up with a diverse list to mix some larger and some smaller stops. I want to bypass any large corporate type stops that I can get at the local grocery store. I've tried to only have a couple of the top higher end and want to focus more on the moderate to higher moderate. I feel like I might have a few too many big bold stops and need help if I should change up more toward the middle. Would like to focus more on $40-60 bottles and not too much in the $70-90 range. We are bringing a decent amount to spend on the cellar so we are not opposed to some $70+ bottles we just don't want a full case at that price point if that makes sense. Below is where i'm currently at and just need a little assistance with the last fine tuning. We are spreading out the stops over 4 days so I know it's a bit heavy but i'm hoping feasible.

Turley-currently still not open. Looking for a back up if they don't open by September that is open at 10:00. Would Tablas be a good substitute? I had my heart set on Turley for the zins but *sigh* I know it may not happen. I have Lone Madrone so wasn't sure I need to hit Tablas but not sure what else to do for a back up that opens at 10:00.
Booker-I joined their MFN club due to a price that looked good so we have free tasting here. (I now suspect its due to the recent investement but oh well)
Niner-stop to combine with lunch.
Herman Story
Lone Madrone
Denner
Jada
Brecon
Calcarous-for the view and combine with lunch.
Zenaida-I found their wine club structure interesting so joined and have enjoyed the wines so far. Leaving as a waived fee stop.

Here are the few i'm waivering on. I'm tring to get a good assortment but am worried I have too many big bold wine stops and want to hit some nice medium smooth ones too. We are strictly looking for red and aren't too discerning. I enjoy most kinds but lean toward red blends, petite sirahs, and sryahs so I think most of Paso will be up my alley. Husband likes cabs but i've been getting him to branch out and he is starting to like zins, some malbecs etc. I'm trying to cut the really top expensive stops like Daou and Clos.

*Th Estates-would I be better off with Law, Caliza, Epoch or Linne Calodo instead?
*Croad-I had this for the views and was thinking of hitting it for a glass during their Kiwi hour but due to rearranging the schedule it would be right after Calcarous and not sure I need to hit two for the views back to back. Worth the view or cut from the list?
*Austin Hope-I had for cabs for my husband. He said he really doesn't need a cab stop so now debating keep or suggestion on something to replace? Was eying Thatcher, Adelaida, Dilecta or maybe one of the ones mentioned above Epoch/Caliza etc.

Any insight or advice on the last 3 would be much appreciated. Husband wants to hit Desperada so I was thinking of hitting that with Benom on our way into town instead of the popular and expensive stop Clos.

Thanks so much!
Last edited by J Bateman on July 30th, 2020, 8:49 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: First Paso Trip

#2 Post by J. Rock » July 30th, 2020, 8:48 am

There's so much there that you can't hit everything in one trip. Personally, I think if you're going to have a couple higher-end / more expensive stops in there, they should be Torrin and Clos Solene. First, they both have really wonderful, intimate tasting experiences, with great staff and ambiance (and Clos' cheese pairing tasting is really excellent). Second, not only is their wine great, but even though a lot of them are quite big, they also show a lot of finesse (in my opinion).

I also think Epoch is a really nice tasting experience and I recall the tasting and the wines there being a bit less expensive than the aforementioned wineries.

Tablas Creek is nice because it offers a different style and more variety beyond what I consider the typical really huge Passo wines. That being said, compared to all of the other places I've been in Paso, they seem very corporate/commercial, and the tasting experience is typically much less intimate. The exception to that is if you do the collector's vertical tasting. This is a private vertical of their flagship red, and after they also let you pick a few of almost any other available wine to taste. Tablas doesn't make my favorite wine in Paso, but the vertical tasting was a really good experience.

I still haven't been to Tin City, but I'd love to go and will make a day out of that they next time I'm up there for more than just an afternoon.

I hope every thing is decently operational and safe when you go to Paso and you have fun on your honeymoon!
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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#3 Post by Adam G » July 30th, 2020, 9:03 am

I really enjoyed my visit to Tablas - although it's a larger winery and was busy, they have enough different tasting spots that were all fairly manageable. Our pourer was great as well.
If you're on the Turley mailing list, you might be able to swing a tasting there. I just got an email about Amador having that option if you're picking up wine.
If you want something a little different, although the wines were not spectacular, Red Soles also distils their own absinthe and a couple other things. Worth it for the stop to try that out if you're in to that sort of thing.
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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#4 Post by Adam Mintz » July 30th, 2020, 9:32 am

Edit: Thank you to Mark, for correcting my description of the wines that Jacob Toft and Linne Calodo make. Have modified my original post below.

Seems like you've done some great initial research so far. My wife and I got married in Paso in 2018 so we were driving down there quite a lot before our wedding and we were just down there in June to celebrate our 2 year. Based off your initial post here are my recommendations (happy to provide more detail if you want to PM me as well):

First, if you're going to go to Westside of Paso (majority of the top wineries are out there), you'll need to drive or you can do Uber Wine (unique for the Paso/SLO region). Uber Wine you can book an Uber by the hour to stay with you as cell service is horrible at some of the wineries.

Clos Solene (we're members here and just visited in June). Currently open for outdoor tasting and it's a great experience. It'll be on your more expensive side of $80-90/bottle, but I think it's worth it if you want to use this as your more "splurge" tasting. It's not "touristy" or "corporate" which fits in line with your description of what you are looking for.

Fulldraw (we just became members here this last June trip.). Based off a recommendation we went to Fulldraw and we were blown away. Connor (winemaker) used to work at Booker and they purchased Fulldraw Vineyard 6 years ago. Only have 2-3 vintages. They're down the road from Booker so if you wanted to go to Booker you could easily do both from a timing and logistical perspective. Wife and I have a rule that we won't join another wine club unless EVERYTHING at the tasting is good... well everything was great. 1 rose, 2 whites, and the rest reds. We joined instantly. I will say it's on the pricier side ($85 for reds), $40ish for whites, but another one if you want to use it as your "splurge" winery to visit.

Booker (went here in June). Solid tasting, but not blown away by it. Definitely has a loyal following and it'll be on your pricier side.

Linne Colado (went here 2 years ago). Great blends, rhone dominant one, but I only like the Sticks and Stones. Good tasting, but it'll be a little less than Booker or Clos Solene, but not by much. I think $70ish per bottle.

All of the above are on Westside of Paso so you can do them all in a day if properly spaced out.

Tin City:
This is our favorite place to go. You'll find some quality producers, while some producers aren't quite there yet. Pricing will be more in the $40-60 and you can park your car and walk to all the tasting rooms. They also have a rotating food truck outside the Brewery so you can get a quick bite for lunch. There's also Pier 46 nearby in a shopping center which has really good fish tacos.

Levo (we're members here)-- one of our favorites. Bret is a talented winemaker and great guy. Solid rhone varietals and well-priced. Definitely go here.

Jacob Toft-- great quality wines, but they were a bit too overpowering for me. However last time I tasted here was 2 years ago, so I might go back next time I go to Paso and revisit.

Turtle Rock-- good variety of rhone blends. The Willow's Cuvee was our favorite here

Benom (you mentioned this earlier)-- Winemaker from Clos Solene and his brother started this label. They mix Rhone and Bordeaux varietals. Haven't been in 3 years, but it was a good tasting when we were there.

Desperada-- Good all around.

Sans Liege-- Also good place to stop and taste.

Aaron-- I think he's got two labels now. Good place to stop. Not my style, but a lot of people go.

Nicora-- Didn't get a chance to visit last time, but hear great things.

Food

Hatch (downtown Paso)-- we eat there every time. Just delicious food and a great atmosphere. Not overly priced.

il Cortile (downtown Paso)-- Paso's high end Italian restaurant. Italian cuisine isn't my favorite, but a lot of people go there

Les Petites Canailles ("LPC") (downtown Paso)-- new restaurant. Went there for first time in June and WOW. Really good wine list and great French food. Well-priced.

Thomas Hill Organics (downtown Paso)-- farm to table. Food is great. We've just had poor service last 2 times there so we don't go back.

La Cosecha (downtown Paso)-- fun atmosphere and good food. On the lighter side which might be a good change up from some of the heavier food options listed above.

Spearhead Coffee-- great roaster and coffee in Downtown Paso.
Last edited by Adam Mintz on July 31st, 2020, 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#5 Post by Paul Flynn » July 30th, 2020, 9:36 am

Tablas Creek is a very good visit. Halter Ranch is right next door and it's a beautiful place to visit as well.
From you list, I like Epoch a lot.
L'Aventure is another favored winery.
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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#6 Post by Jeff_M. » July 30th, 2020, 10:11 am

I would add Turley as it is a good representation of the zinfandel in the area and also Epoch Estate. Epoch actually has a nice outdoor tasting area.
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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#7 Post by R M Kriete » July 30th, 2020, 10:33 am

Tablas is a great visit and really over-delivers in terms of quality for $$$. Also, a nice change of "taste" from many of the "Big" styled wines you often see in Paso. Also with Covid, tasting is by reservation and more personal.

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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#8 Post by Gus Siokis » July 30th, 2020, 10:42 am

Adam Mintz wrote:
July 30th, 2020, 9:32 am
Seems like you've done some great initial research so far. My wife and I got married in Paso in 2018 so we were driving down there quite a lot before our wedding and we were just down there in June to celebrate our 2 year. Based off your initial post here are my recommendations (happy to provide more detail if you want to PM me as well):

First, if you're going to go to Westside of Paso (majority of the top wineries are out there), you'll need to drive or you can do Uber Wine (unique for the Paso/SLO region). Uber Wine you can book an Uber by the hour to stay with you as cell service is horrible at some of the wineries.

Clos Solene (we're members here and just visited in June). Currently open for outdoor tasting and it's a great experience. It'll be on your more expensive side of $80-90/bottle, but I think it's worth it if you want to use this as your more "splurge" tasting. It's not "touristy" or "corporate" which fits in line with your description of what you are looking for.

Fulldraw (we just became members here this last June trip.). Based off a recommendation we went to Fulldraw and we were blown away. Connor (winemaker) used to work at Booker and they purchased Fulldraw Vineyard 6 years ago. Only have 2-3 vintages. They're down the road from Booker so if you wanted to go to Booker you could easily do both from a timing and logistical perspective. Wife and I have a rule that we won't join another wine club unless EVERYTHING at the tasting is good... well everything was great. 1 rose, 2 whites, and the rest reds. We joined instantly. I will say it's on the pricier side ($85 for reds), $40ish for whites, but another one if you want to use it as your "splurge" winery to visit.

Booker (went here in June). Solid tasting, but not blown away by it. Definitely has a loyal following and it'll be on your pricier side.

Linne Colado (went here 2 years ago). Great blends, but a lot are Zin based which isn't my favorite. I only like the Sticks and Stones. Good tasting, but it'll be a little less than Booker or Clos Solene, but not by much. I think $70ish per bottle.

All of the above are on Westside of Paso so you can do them all in a day if properly spaced out.

Tin City:
This is our favorite place to go. You'll find some quality producers, while some producers aren't quite there yet. Pricing will be more in the $40-60 and you can park your car and walk to all the tasting rooms. They also have a rotating food truck outside the Brewery so you can get a quick bite for lunch. There's also Pier 46 nearby in a shopping center which has really good fish tacos.

Levo (we're members here)-- one of our favorites. Bret is a talented winemaker and great guy. Solid rhone varietals and well-priced. Definitely go here.

Jacob Toft-- great quality wines, but majority are Zin blends. If you're into Zin blends, then definitely stop here.

Turtle Rock-- good variety of rhone blends. The Willow's Cuvee was our favorite here

Benom (you mentioned this earlier)-- Winemaker from Clos Solene and his brother started this label. They mix Rhone and Bordeaux varietals. Haven't been in 3 years, but it was a good tasting when we were there.

Desperada-- Good all around.

Sans Liege-- Also good place to stop and taste.

Aaron-- I think he's got two labels now. Good place to stop. Not my style, but a lot of people go.

Nicora-- Didn't get a chance to visit last time, but hear great things.

Food

Hatch (downtown Paso)-- we eat there every time. Just delicious food and a great atmosphere. Not overly priced.

il Cortile (downtown Paso)-- Paso's high end Italian restaurant. Italian cuisine isn't my favorite, but a lot of people go there

Les Petites Canailles ("LPC") (downtown Paso)-- new restaurant. Went there for first time in June and WOW. Really good wine list and great French food. Well-priced.

Thomas Hill Organics (downtown Paso)-- farm to table. Food is great. We've just had poor service last 2 times there so we don't go back.

La Cosecha (downtown Paso)-- fun atmosphere and good food. On the lighter side which might be a good change up from some of the heavier food options listed above.

Spearhead Coffee-- great roaster and coffee in Downtown Paso.
Great list! I would add Top in Tin City...on the backside of Nicora, if they haven't moved. Also, L'Aventure is nice as well but at the upper end of the price point. Great food choices in Tin City as well...
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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#9 Post by lleichtman » July 30th, 2020, 11:15 am

Jeff_M. wrote:
July 30th, 2020, 10:11 am
I would add Turley as it is a good representation of the zinfandel in the area and also Epoch Estate. Epoch actually has a nice outdoor tasting area.
Turley is only open to wine club members at this time. Things may change but not so far.
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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#10 Post by J. Rock » July 30th, 2020, 11:29 am

Since it was mentioned and I feel a duty to protect innocent souls, I need to mention that the one time I ate at Thomas Hill Organics last June was likely the most pathetic dining experience I've ever had, certainly within the last 10 or so years. Without getting into all of the sad details, I'll just that we would've had a much more enjoyable dinner if we ordered Dominos to the room.
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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#11 Post by larry schaffer » July 30th, 2020, 11:46 am

A couple of quick notes:

If you want Zin and Turley is not open, head over to J Dusi. Many of the others mentioned offer zin blends which is NOT the same as straight zin.

Neil Collins, the winemaker at Tablas and the owner/winemaker at Lone Madrone, makes wines for each that are very very different so going to both is NOT repeating yourself whatsoever.

I personally would NOT miss out on going to Tablas Creek. Yep, their tasting room is larger and seems more 'commercial' than many others up there, but they are the creme de la creme if you are looking for more subtle, 'true to CdP' style Rhones, not Rhones made through the eyes of a Paso winemaker. And I would let them know it's your honeymoon and you're really looking for an educational component to your tasting - you will NOT be disappointed.

One other thing about Lone Madrone - they usually offer KILLER burgers - truly not be missed if they are offering them.

As far as others goes, TH Estates is recommended - smaller operation and Jennifer is awesome if you can taste with her. I would recommend Vines of the Marycrest - low key and Victor is awesome (let him know I sent you!). For Petite Sirah, hit up Aaron Wines - that's what he specializes in. Top in Tin City is another great choice as is Levo (thought Bret uses all Santa Barbara County fruit - ahem).

As far as meals go, hit up Buona Tavola or Il Cortile for killer Italian, Hatch for great grilled foods, and Fish Gaucho for a good time.

Cheers.
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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#12 Post by Lee Ibarra » July 30th, 2020, 11:48 am

I would definitely agree with Gus and visit TOP. They have moved to their new facility but they are the new exciting winery in Paso doing BIG things!!! Stanley is a wonderful winemaker with a huge attention to detail and Elena "Stanley's wife" is the most amazing host she will make you feel like part of the family before you're done with the end of your tasting! Visit here you wont be disappointed! I know they were sold out of their wines a few months ago but I think they have a few wines available for their visitors.

So I definitely also suggest Clos Solene, LaVenture, Law, Turtle Rock
Benom, Levo, Fulldraw, Thacher
Les Petites Canailles ("LPC") is also a must

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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#13 Post by Dmytro Marushkevych » July 30th, 2020, 3:36 pm

Recommended wineries: Daou (not all locals are their fans, but wines are good and they have the best view), Villa Creek, Desparada (do like Valia's wines better than her husband's (Herman Story)), Dilecta.

If you venture to San Luis Obispo and like Chardonnay and Pinot, would definitely recommend Talley.

Add Range (in Santa Margarita, they do not take reservations and are cash only, but really great food) to the list of the restaurants.

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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#14 Post by Roger Ouellette » July 30th, 2020, 5:08 pm

Agree also that Tablas should be on your list, I'd also put in a plug for Adelaida which is just down the road. For something a little different and definitely small and family owned/run check out Ryan and Nicole at Paix Sur Terre for their Mourvedre and mourvedre blends.

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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#15 Post by larry schaffer » July 30th, 2020, 5:08 pm

For breakfast, hit up Kitchenette in Templeton - you won't be disappointed.

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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#16 Post by C. Heinsen » July 30th, 2020, 7:04 pm

I'm a huge fan of Herman Story. Hits your price point dead on. They are big bold wines in a very unapologetic style. The staff there is amazing and totally down to earth. Even though we had better views and more intimate stops at Linne Calodo and Torrin, this one wins out on personality alone.

Also want to second Tin City. I wish we would have spent a whole day there. Turtle Rock had great wines, and Sans Liege is a staple and a cool experience. I think of Tin City as a place where you can get wines at 40-60 from producers that should be at 80+.

Have a great time! My wife and I went in January and I really don't want to go back to Napa after it. Cool town, great restaurants, and amazing wines without the cattle hearding and insane price tags you get in Napa. I love Napa but Paso beats it by far.
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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#17 Post by C. Heinsen » July 30th, 2020, 7:22 pm

I'm a huge fan of Herman Story. Hits your price point dead on. They are big bold wines in a very unapologetic style. The staff there is amazing and totally down to earth. Even though we had better views and more intimate stops at Linne Calodo and Torrin, this one wins out on personality alone.

Also want to second Tin City. I wish we would have spent a whole day there. Turtle Rock had great wines, and Sans Liege is a staple and a cool experience. I think of Tin City as a place where you can get wines at 40-60 from producers that should be at 80+.

Have a great time! My wife and I went in January and I really don't want to go back to Napa after it. Cool town, great restaurants, and amazing wines without the cattle hearding and insane price tags you get in Napa. I love Napa but Paso beats it by far.
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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#18 Post by David B » July 30th, 2020, 10:51 pm

Law has good wine if you like the big bold style, but it's pricey. They have a beautiful modern winery with a great view so it's worth a visit.

Thacher is a cool spot. They have an eclectic mix of wines that are mostly ~$30-50. They range from Zin blends, Bordeaux blends, and Pinots, to geekier stuff like Valdigue and Cinsault. It's small and they have 2 Australian Shepherds that hang out in the tasting room.

I would also recommend hitting up Tin City (especially Aaron if you like Petite Sirah), and Tablas Creek as others have mentioned.
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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#19 Post by Uli K. » July 31st, 2020, 12:02 am

larry schaffer wrote:
July 30th, 2020, 11:46 am
I personally would NOT miss out on going to Tablas Creek. Yep, their tasting room is larger and seems more 'commercial' than many others up there, but they are the creme de la creme if you are looking for more subtle, 'true to CdP' style Rhones, not Rhones made through the eyes of a Paso winemaker.
+1, we’ve been three times now and had very personal service every time. Even on a busy Saturday. It is obvious that TC values wine education, for their staff and customers. What they’ve done in terms of bringing Rhône varietals to California is unparalleled. The current safety measures limit the interaction with the staff unfortunately (I’m supportive). Still very enjoyable, and fantastic QPR.

Other favorites: Halter Ranch, Kukkula, Fratelli Perata, Windward (all for different reasons). Planning to check out Tin City next time.
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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#20 Post by Larry Chmel » July 31st, 2020, 5:55 am

David B wrote:
July 30th, 2020, 10:51 pm
Law has good wine if you like the big bold style, but it's pricey. They have a beautiful modern winery with a great view so it's worth a visit.

Thacher is a cool spot. They have an eclectic mix of wines that are mostly ~$30-50. They range from Zin blends, Bordeaux blends, and Pinots, to geekier stuff like Valdigue and Cinsault. It's small and they have 2 Australian Shepherds that hang out in the tasting room.

I would also recommend hitting up Tin City (especially Aaron if you like Petite Sirah), and Tablas Creek as others have mentioned.
+1 on Thacher. I've never regretted a purchase from them. Just very interesting (different) stuff.

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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#21 Post by Andrew Dodd » July 31st, 2020, 7:44 am

On your question:

"*Th Estates-would I be better off with Law, Caliza, Epoch or Linne Calodo instead?"

TH Estates and Epoch are the two best here, I'd ask for the full tours. Linne Calodo wasn't much of an "experience"


Here is what we did in 2018 (with my notes):

General advice: Book as early as possible to secure dates/times. I did months in advance. For every place I contacted I asked for the most involved tour they offered, and that was the best decision I ever made. Unlike Napa that is very "exit through the gift shop"...cough...Hall Wines... everywhere I went in Paso for the most part was so down to earth and engaging. I got the sense they enjoyed talking wines with fellow nerds than getting stuck with something more typical like a Bachelorette party, lol.

COVID specific advice, no clue, I went two years ago

Day 1
• Drive to Paso Robles from SFO
• Lunch: In-N-Out Burger (meh, over-hyped. The fries are GARBAGE with the texture of packing peanuts)
• K&L Wine Merchants (Redwood, amazing selection, check out online ahead of time)
• Stay: Thatcher Vineyard VRBO House (Amazing place to stay, direct view of Paderewski vineyard, can't recommend this place enough!: VRBO#766112)
• Dinner: La Cosecha Bar and Restaurant (Good almost tapas style plates, had some Law on the wine list)

Day 2
• L'Aventure (fun tour, but the tasting in the caves/cellar was really the highlight of the experience).
• Lunch: Kitchenette (God I loved this place, coffeehouse/brunch joint.)
• Booker (make sure to ask for the tour out and about on the ATV, was the highlight. Good tasting experience too)
• Turtle Rock (Don is the man, good wines and good people. Cool tasting room, make sure to wander around Tin City)
• Dinner: Il Cortile Ristorante (Great Italian, had them truffle everything to death)

Day 3
• Epoch (One of the better tours, they spent FOREVER showing us around, it was amazingly thorough. Tasting from the tank, you name it)
• Lunch: Red Scooter Deli (it was a sandwich, nothing more or less. Meh, fine).
• Linne Calodo (underwhelming tasting experience in the sense it's not really any different than if you bought the wines and tried at home. No vineyard tours. Wouldn't repeat, but love their wines).
• Herman Story (A really fun and lively tasting, got to trying a wide range of wines, sadly Russell wasn't there)
• Dinner: Grilling at home

Day 4
• TH Estate Wines (Also one of the best tastings in Paso, got Phil himself so that was amazing. He spent FOREVER with us tasting everything imaginable. Blown away.)
• Lunch: Grey Wolf Cellars (everything was closed, out of desperation, would NOT recommend).
• Villa Creek (Tasting only, quaint small tasting, very nice very accommodating)
• LAW Estate (No tour of the winery offered, which was dumb. I believe you have to be a member first, which we are now. The wines are amazing, but I bought them in spite of being ticked they wouldn't show us the winery itself without prior membership. Black label stuff is fantastic. Tasting was very nice.
• Happy Hour @ The Hatch (this place is amazing, what an awesome whiskey list. Service here is just top notch, had fun geeking out with the bartender over whiskey. The food was also incredible, should have eaten dinner here)
• Dinner: Fish Gaucho (Somewhat overpriced and a touch mediocre. Should have eaten at The Hatch, what a mistake)

Day 5 Napa
Day 6 Napa

Day 7
Return trip to Paso for Saxum Tasting
• Saxum - I can now die happy, it was like being in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. Thankfully I didn't fall in a chocolate river. Wines were incredible, chatting with Justin and Don was a blast. Hands down the best tasting of the trip. Honored to have done it.
• Thomas Hill Organics - Mediocre and overpriced from what I remember.

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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#22 Post by J Bateman » July 31st, 2020, 9:13 am

Wow so much great feedback. Thank you everyone!!! We've added Tablas based on the overwhelming yes's and i've given in and added Clos. We decided to say screw it and if we hit more of the higher end instead of middle so be it. Who knows when we'll get back so it will be our wine splurge trip. We have some wedding $ - what better than to spend on wine, right :)

We will hit Tin City on our way out of town, and i'll try to tackle that one here soon. I was hoping that would be a good reason to come back and spend a whole day there but my husband really wants to hit Desperada so we'll do that and another one (maybe two) before we head back towards the airport for the night. Since we are hitting Clos I'm leaning toward nixing Benom and replacing with Aaron since I am a sucker for a good Petite Sirah.

I have one last slot that i'm now debating on the Full Draw vs TH Estates if anyone has strong thoughts, otherwise I don't think we can't go wrong with either. Epoch we are going to try and hit on our way into town from the West Coast.

Good to know on the burgers, I did have Madrone booked for the burger Sunday in case my husband wanted to try--now it seems he MUST try it. And I have LPC as a must for dinner one night.

Thanks again everyone for the advice, I really appreciate it and have a great list already going for a return trip.
J e n

Adam Mintz
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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#23 Post by Adam Mintz » July 31st, 2020, 9:28 am

J Bateman wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 9:13 am
Wow so much great feedback. Thank you everyone!!! We've added Tablas based on the overwhelming yes's and i've given in and added Clos. We decided to say screw it and if we hit more of the higher end instead of middle so be it. Who knows when we'll get back so it will be our wine splurge trip. We have some wedding $ - what better than to spend on wine, right :)

We will hit Tin City on our way out of town, and i'll try to tackle that one here soon. I was hoping that would be a good reason to come back and spend a whole day there but my husband really wants to hit Desperada so we'll do that and another one (maybe two) before we head back towards the airport for the night. Since we are hitting Clos I'm leaning toward nixing Benom and replacing with Aaron since I am a sucker for a good Petite Sirah.

I have one last slot that i'm now debating on the Full Draw vs TH Estates if anyone has strong thoughts, otherwise I don't think we can't go wrong with either. Epoch we are going to try and hit on our way into town from the West Coast.

Good to know on the burgers, I did have Madrone booked for the burger Sunday in case my husband wanted to try--now it seems he MUST try it. And I have LPC as a must for dinner one night.

Thanks again everyone for the advice, I really appreciate it and have a great list already going for a return trip.
Sounds like a solid plan. I would vote Fulldraw over TH Estates (I went here a few years ago and it was good--not great). Fulldraw is very small team so it'll either be Gary (Wine Club/Online person) or Connor (Winemaker) doing your tasting which is pretty cool. Then again I would look at both websites for their wines and see what you and your husband gravitate towards in terms of style.

If you like Petite Sirah, then Bret at Levo (Tin City) makes some of the best in the central coast. He uses it in his blends as well as a 100% Petite Sirah. So you could do Desperada, Levo, then Aaron in your Tin City adventures.

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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#24 Post by Andrew Dodd » July 31st, 2020, 9:52 am

J Bateman wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 9:13 am

I have one last slot that i'm now debating on the Full Draw vs TH Estates if anyone has strong thoughts, otherwise I don't think we can't go wrong with either. Epoch we are going to try and hit on our way into town from the West Coast.
If you call TH estate, ask for the most involved tasting they have and get Phil it was probably the best tasting we did (minus Saxum).

Ask for going big or going home, I would, visit the best Paso has to offer. Why not :)

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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#25 Post by jnbrown » July 31st, 2020, 8:01 pm

Always like to visit Aaron but prices have gotten quite high. He started out just making PS which he does really well.

Have not been to Thacher but bought some of their Cinsault at a local tasting.

Tablas is always a must stop and nearby are Halter Creek with an AMAZING tasting room and Adelaida.

I like to go way out east by Creston, it is so beautiful there, Cass is a good stop out there.
Joel

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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#26 Post by Dmytro Marushkevych » August 1st, 2020, 5:11 pm

If you like Petite Sirah and do go to Tin City, check out MCV, they are just few streets outside of the core Tin City. Matt is also focused on PS and does a pretty good job with it.
Another one that came to mind (will be tasting there tomorrow, so can report) is McPrice Myers.

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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#27 Post by Adam Frisch » August 1st, 2020, 5:31 pm

Only been to Epoch there, but another vote for that. Great winemaker and a beautiful spot.
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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#28 Post by Dmytro Marushkevych » August 2nd, 2020, 4:56 pm

Dmytro Marushkevych wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 5:11 pm
If you like Petite Sirah and do go to Tin City, check out MCV, they are just few streets outside of the core Tin City. Matt is also focused on PS and does a pretty good job with it.
Another one that came to mind (will be tasting there tomorrow, so can report) is McPrice Myers.
Report on McPrice Myers. Wines are definitely very good. My favorites were 2017 Sel de Terre Grenache (was told it is from the Paper Street and Shadow Canyon vineyards -very respectable) and 2016 Les Galets Syrah (from a cool climate vineyard, owned by Laetitia). Experience was a standard+: professional, knowledgeable, couple of off the list wines.

One more thing. There is a new Paso Market Walk opened just a few blocks from downtown. Think smaller scale spanish mercados: food (burgers, ramen, etc., not really tapas) , wine, beer, olive oil, gelato. Really worth a visit.

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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#29 Post by Vince L. » August 8th, 2020, 12:04 am

HiJacking this real quick,

Are there any other Rhone based wineries in the region that are not super extracted high abv?

I've been to Tablas before and enjoyed it. Was wondering what else is in the same vein.
l 3 r t

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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#30 Post by Larry G0ld3n » August 8th, 2020, 9:01 am

Will add Daou to the list for an overall experience not to be missed.

Big fan of Herman Story, big wines, bigger experience. Kudos to Epoch both for the wine and having suggested Herman Story.

Last, Desparada Wines - related to Herman Story.

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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#31 Post by Bill Gibbs » August 8th, 2020, 9:22 am

Are there any other Rhone based wineries in the region that are not super extracted high abv?
Without actually doing research and checking numbers...
Hubba, Brecon, and Desparada may all fit. Many winemakers would not call their wines super extracted.

To be fair, extraction is a winemaking choice, but abv isn't, if you are considering low intervention winemaking. Most of the Paso wineries mentioned in this thread do not make wine from unripe grapes, heavily water down their ferment, or de-alc the fermented wine, which are the 3 ways to lower abv. The blessing and the curse of west side Paso grapes is high acidity from the limestone soils. When the grapes are ripe and the acidity down, the grapes have high sugar which produces higher alcohol in the wine. Which can be a well made great balanced wine without heat or alcohol taste. Simply having a high abv is not a flaw.

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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#32 Post by Dmytro Marushkevych » August 8th, 2020, 11:56 am

Vince L. wrote:
August 8th, 2020, 12:04 am
Are there any other Rhone based wineries in the region that are not super extracted high abv?
The Farm Winery tends to make lower alcohol wines and does have some Rhones (their winemaker and co-owner is Santiago Achaval, of the Achaval-Ferrer fame). They do not have a tasting room though.

Ecluse tends to be south of 15% as well.

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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#33 Post by Uli K. » August 8th, 2020, 4:33 pm

Vince L. wrote:
August 8th, 2020, 12:04 am
HiJacking this real quick,

Are there any other Rhone based wineries in the region that are not super extracted high abv?
Halter Ranch right next door? A little richer than Tablas, still with some restraint.
U. K 1 u m p p

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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#34 Post by Albert R » August 8th, 2020, 6:32 pm

Adam Frisch wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 5:31 pm
Only been to Epoch there, but another vote for that. Great winemaker and a beautiful spot.
Epoch was great when they were in a trailer/modular unit. I can only imagine now.
Cheers,

@. Re-go

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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#35 Post by Scott E. » August 8th, 2020, 7:04 pm

I like Terry Hoage and of course Saxum. I know I'm in the minority here, but I didn't care for the Tablas style. Cheers!
$.E$te$

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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#36 Post by Bill Gibbs » August 8th, 2020, 8:25 pm

I like Terry Hoage and of course Saxum. I know I'm in the minority here, but I didn't care for the Tablas style. Cheers!
Minority? Maybe, but certainly not alone.

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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#37 Post by J. Rock » August 8th, 2020, 9:54 pm

Scott E. wrote:
August 8th, 2020, 7:04 pm
I like Terry Hoage and of course Saxum. I know I'm in the minority here, but I didn't care for the Tablas style. Cheers!
I don't dislike Tablas, but it often doesn't do a ton for me, especially compared to the bigger wines (e.g., Saxum, Torrin, Clos Solene, etc.) that Paso is currently more known for. I'm sure there're a lot of people who feel this way.
Last edited by J. Rock on August 8th, 2020, 11:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#38 Post by Frank Z » August 8th, 2020, 10:22 pm

Just came back from Paso a few days ago. Really enjoyed Fulldraw Vineyard, as well as Clos Selene.
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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#39 Post by Andrew Kotowski » August 9th, 2020, 8:57 am

Yet another +1 for Tablas, but... if you enjoy beer at all, stop by Firestone Walker. Pub atmosphere for lunch with a lot of their hard to find releases on sale (Parabola, Parabajava being two I picked up).
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Re: First Paso Trip-Need a little help

#40 Post by larry schaffer » August 9th, 2020, 12:38 pm

Bill Gibbs wrote:
August 8th, 2020, 9:22 am
Are there any other Rhone based wineries in the region that are not super extracted high abv?
Without actually doing research and checking numbers...
Hubba, Brecon, and Desparada may all fit. Many winemakers would not call their wines super extracted.

To be fair, extraction is a winemaking choice, but abv isn't, if you are considering low intervention winemaking. Most of the Paso wineries mentioned in this thread do not make wine from unripe grapes, heavily water down their ferment, or de-alc the fermented wine, which are the 3 ways to lower abv. The blessing and the curse of west side Paso grapes is high acidity from the limestone soils. When the grapes are ripe and the acidity down, the grapes have high sugar which produces higher alcohol in the wine. Which can be a well made great balanced wine without heat or alcohol taste. Simply having a high abv is not a flaw.
Bill,

Interesting thoughts as usual, and you are certainly in the driver's seat up there, knowing what most of the folks are up to up there. As we both know, there are plenty of folks up there who use 'the tools' available to tweak wines - from micro-filtration to remove VA to de-alcing and all kinds of other things.

Yep, it is warm up there but as some have shown, it is possible to produce interesting wines at alcohol levels that do not lead to spontaneous combustion [wow.gif] [snort.gif] champagne.gif

Cheers.
larry schaffer
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