Paso Robles Wine

Although we only live 3 hours from Paso Robles, it took us until 2018 to visited this wine region when we made stops at about a dozen wineries to sample mostly Rhone and Bordeaux varietals. Although our sampling of the region’s 300+ wineries was very limited, and quite selective, we loaded our car with many bottles and made a commitment to return for a more comprehensive visit.

Paso Robles Rhone-Style Blends

Although we enjoyed a number of wines of all styles, we were particularly impressed by a number of Paso Robles red Rhone-style blends from wineries including:

Le Cuvier’s 2014 L’Enfant du Pape.

We also enjoyed some single-varietal Rhone varietals, particularly:

  • Peachy Canyon’s 2016 Viognier, 2015 Bailey and 2014 Mustard Springs Vineyard wonderful Syrahs;
  • Gluntz Family 2015 Syrah; and
  • Lone Madrone’s 2016 Grenache Blanc.

And for an amazingly light, easy drinking, non-ageable Petite Syrah, try Broken Earth’s 2014 Diablo Negro.

Paso Robles Bordeaux-Style

Among our Bordeaux varietal favorites from our limited number of stops were:

  • Peachy Canyon’s 2014 Para Siempre Bordeaux-style blend;
  • Daou’s 2015 Reserve Eye of the Falcon Cabernet Sauvignon;
  • Le Cuvier’s 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2014 Malbec; and
  • Broken Earth 2013 Reserve Merlot.

Paso Robles Zinfandels

Paso Robles is also very well known for some of its especially big Zinfandels, for which the region’s soils and climate are particularly well suited. Among these, we were especially impressed by:

  • Daou’s 2014 Reserve;
  • Gluntz Family 2015 Reserve
  • Turley Wine Cellars, which is particularly known for its big, unfiltered and unfined Zins. Although we enjoyed a number of their single vineyards and Zin blends, we had particular affinities for two: the 2015 Rattlesnake Ridge and 2015 Cedarman, the latter of which consists of juice from its Rattlesnake Ridge and Dragon vineyards.

Paso Robles Other Varietals

Although Paso wineries are especially known for its Rhone, Bordeaux and Zinfandel-based grapes, it also grows grapes from a number of other regions. Lone Madrone, a small vineyard, has a particularly prolific winegrower/winemaker whose current line-up includes about two dozen different wines. While most are based on traditional Paso Rhone, Bordeaux and Zinfandel grapes, it also produces Nebbiolos and Tannats. This being said, the favorite of those non-traditional varietals we tasted were:

We also got a chance to try a few dessert and fortified wines. Particular note for:

Tobin James merits particular mention. Not due to its fine wines, but for its nice selection of very inexpensive, very quaffable wines. Although it grows very few of its own grapes, it produces 80,000-85,000 bottles per year, primarily from Paso grapes. Another distinction: 80 percent of this wine is sold through its loyal wine club members.

By the time we arrived at the tasting room at 10:30 on a Saturday morning, the large, two-bar tasting room was packed, primarily with repeat visitors. Even so, we were promptly and very responsively served. Although we wouldn’t consider them to be fine wines, we did taste a number of ready-to-drink, easy drinking wines that were quite credible—all at amazingly low prices. For example:

  • $18, 2014 Chardonnay;
  • $25 Petite Syrah;
  • $18 Lat Harvest Zin; and especially
  • $18 “Cash Flow” Bordeaux blend.

And remember, since most customers are members, they get 15-20 percent discounts. Over all, quite a business and from the appearance, many happy customers.  

Paso Robles Restaurants and Food

Le Cuvier

All this wine requires food. Le Cuvier has its own chef produce tasty dishes that are to complement specific wines. For each of its wines, we began with a taste of and discussion of the wines and then have a taste of the complementary food and another sip of wine. Although our roles on the American Institute of Wine & Food (which was created by Julia Child and Robert Mondavi specifically to foster an appreciation for the ways in which wine complements food) has long prompted us to think of food and wine as complements, the Le Cuvier experience was particularly enlightening. Wines that were extremely distinctive on their own, took on entirely different, and typically much more mellow characteristics after a taste of the food. Among the most interesting of the pairings were:

  • Spiced-Thai noodle soup with a neutrally-oaked chardonnay;
  • Chateauneuf du Pape-inspired Rhone blend with a creamy tomato soup;
  • A big Syrah with an aged gouda;
  • A young Cabernet with chili-sauced beef tenderloin; and
  • Malbec, not surprisingly, paired with an empanada with caramelized onions.

Although the Le Cuvier tastings were indeed impressive and inspiring, we needed more sustenance to carry us through a day of tasting. With all of this, however, our meals were amazingly limited.

Jeffry’s Catering

Jeffrey’s Catering is located in conjunction within Wolf Run, which is a relatively non-descript winery (at least for us) and a distillery. We shared one very nice take-out sandwich, barbequed pulled chicken with red BBQ sauce and pickled onions on a French roll with cabbage slaw and dill pickle.

La Cosecha

This popular downtown Paso restaurant is on a restaurant-lined square. We shared a nice pizza with lamb sausage, goat cheese and marjoram pizza with a bottle of Marques de Murrietta Rioja Reserva (Too bad the recently tasted Epoch Estate 2013 Tempranillo wasn’t on the restaurant’s wine list.)

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