On Paso EastSide Wines

While hills and valleys with shaded winding roads dominate the land west of Paso Robles, the east side is more rolling, open, and warmer; thus producing different challenges for wine growers and wine makes. Day 1 of our trip took us to the east side.

Eberle
EberleCaveAs the 5th oldest winery of over 150 in Paso, Eberle is a must stop. If available, take the cave tour. Although located directly off highway 46, the patio provides a good view to the west. October ‘09’s Wine Enthusiast rated 3 Eberle wines in the 90s. Keep in mind that Gary Eberle played for Jo Pa in the 70s! We bought here.

Vina Robles
Maybe the most spectacular wine room, but these wines didn’t bowl me over on this day.

Tobin James
This winery is known for its marketing and the tasting room’s Wild West atmosphere is part of the experience. I can see why they claim to have the largest wine club in the country. We bought here and considering their wine club – besides, Toby is a native Cincinnatian.

Maloy O’Neil
Probably the most pleasant surprise of the trip as the overall quality was outstanding. Although a simple tasting room, Maloy O’Neil is a must stop. Their Lagrein grape is only grown on 50 acres in the whole state! We bought here.

EastSideVineyardPenman Springs
Another simple tasting room with a good view of the east side from the parking lot – plus a selection of many single-varietal wines.  We bought here.

East Side Wineries to Visit in the Future

Other Posts about this Trip

On Downtown Paso Robles Wines

Downtown Paso Robles has numerous winery tasting rooms and several tasting bars. Since we went downtown at the end of a tasting day, we were less inclined to attack their offerings – thus much went unexplored.

Pianetta Winery
PianettaTastingRoomAfter accidently meeting Caitlin Pianetta at a Cincinnati tasting in early 2009, I established contact with her and our trip to Paso Robles was on — so when we visited her at the Pianetta tasting room, she was pleased and treated us like family.

We probably sampled everything and the petite syrah, the one she served in Cincinnati, still shined. Paso petites are not as tannic as more northern petites, yet they maintain the unique flavor petite syrah offers. Yes, we purchased here.

I encourage visitors to stop by the Pianetta tasting room and tell Caitlin, “Frank from Cincinnati sent me.”

Anglim Wines
Like Pianetta, Anglim is a small, family-owned winery producing high-quality wines. Although they produce some blends, Anglim features various single-varietal wines. Loved the late-harvest, port-style syrah!

The Anglim tasting room is a few blocks off the square and we were in luck as Steffanie Anglim, the winemaker’s wife and business partner, served us their delightful wines. She was a pleasure and given the wines, another purchase for us.

Asuncion Ridge & Bodegas Paso Robles
These two wineries share the same tasting room. Fortunately for us, Dorothy Schuler (the Bodegas winemaker) was there and shared freshly-picked tempranillo grapes that she uses for her wines made from these Spanish-based grapes.

Asuncion Ridge features pinot noir, which isn’t widely produced in this region (because of the heat), but their vineyards are located in a pinot-suitable location. We didn’t purchase here because the shipping box was full.

Edward Sellers
A server in Los Olivos recommended Edward Sellers (which was around the corner), so we visited their downtown Paso Robles tasting room. Note: The Paso tasting room will be moving to their west-side vineyard location in the future.

Edward Sellers offers good red blends and a tasty syrah – plus have received 90+ scores from Robert Parker – but we didn’t buy because the shipping case was full.

Downtown tasting rooms to visit next time

Other Posts about this Vacation

Downtown Tasting Bars

On Paso Wines

ReadyZinGrapesThe Paso Robles (CA) wine region is known for its red wines – especially red blends. Although it’s not online (at least not yet), the October ’09 Wine Enthusiast issue has an excellent article about this region, its wines, and some ratings.

With 150+ wineries in the area, I did my share of online research to develop a trip strategy – plus I had suggestions from Caitlin Pianetta (Pianetta Winery, who we met in Cincinnati earlier this year), and from the Adelaide Inn staff (where we stayed) – so we had plenty to keep us busy during a 3-day stay. Unfortunately, I discovered the Daily Wine Dispatch after returning home.

Since Paso wineries specialize in red wines, expect to see many more reds than whites. Most wineries will have viognier, chardonnay, muscat, or white blends. Paso whites are generally unoaked andrefreshing with possibly a note of crispness, thus easy to drink.

Paso reds are allover the map with zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and petite syrah leading the way – although cabernet franc, tempranillo, sangiovese, petite verdot, and others are abound. Given the number of red varietals grown in this area, no wonder Paso winemakers excel with blends, including Meritage, Rhone, and Bordeaux styles.

As with any wine region, tasters will encounter wineries they may not know plus wines from known wineries that are only sold at the winery – thus one reason to do your pre-trip homework and be aware of what is available in your home stores.

Future posts will feature east side, west side, and downtown Paso Robles winery notes.

Others Posts about this Trip

On a Paso Vacation

EastSideVineyardAfter attending a wine tasting this past spring, my wife and I decided to vacation in the Paso Robles (CA) wine region. Besides, we’ve visited Napa and Sonoma several times.

We flew into Santa Barbara and then visited several wineries on the way to Paso. After four nights there and one in Santa Maria, we can say this was a great trip – and one that I’ll report over multiple posts.

Although we had outstanding weather (high 80s, low 50s) with a nice breeze, Paso can be quite hot in July, August, and September.

AdelaideCompOur stay at the Adelaide Inn is worthy of praise. The Adelaide Inn, a motor-lodge style motel, provided clean, spacious, renovated king rooms. The inn is only a half-mile walk from downtown for those who like to walk (like us). The Adelaide staff is friendly and helpful – but beware of Charlie, the evening clerk with a sense of humor and the guardian of the cookies. The only downside on the Adelaide is that guests may need more than the Adelaide’s simple continental breakfast – but there are options.

Many, if not most, wine tasting rooms in this region have tasting fees. Although some waive the fee with a purchase, the Adelaide staff provided numerous complimentary tasting coupons.

Downtown Paso Robles offers tasting rooms, tasting bars, restaurants, and shopping – many surrounding a centralized city park. I recommend Thai Basil and Buona Tavola for evening meals.

Here are some broad recommendations for first-time wine tasters to this area.

  • Take a collapsible cooler along for packing a lunch because food isn’t easy to find out on the tasting trails.
  • Research before you go because not all tasting rooms are open daily as some are only on weekends while others only on extended weekends.
  • Consider the Wine Wrangler as it provides a good wine tour and they drive and provide lunch. (Advance purchase through Costco saves $20 per ticket. I’ll post about our day later).
  • If flying, plan so the wine is your checked luggage on your return flight because the baggage fee will probably be less expensive than a shipping fee – but buy a shipping box with styrofoam to protect the bottles.
  • Take time to visit Hearst Castle (about a 45-minute drive).

Planning Sites

More posts to come about this trip … especially the wine!