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Wines of the Central Coast


Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.  (Thomas Aquinas)

Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.  (Aristophanes)

Men are like wine - some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age.  (Pope John XXIII )

I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food. (W. C. Fields)

First, to set the mood, you might want to watch some of the "Paso Wine Man" videos here. They are great...


                                                                                                                                         Click the photo ->


I have made some additions and changes to my “faves” wine tasting recommendations with a little additional  “practice”... and I’ll make periodic updates as the mood permits. They are in no particular order of quality, price or favorites... and cover a range of “price points
Daou Winery   ***
2777 Hidden Mountain Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446 (805.226.5460). This is a relatively new place with a new truly impressive public tasting room. The most spectacular views in the county and some nice wines made by two French -Lebanese brothers, Georges & Daniel (Daniel is the winemaker, who trained for 10 years in France). Their wines are French style, rather than “typical” California. We joined their club on our first visit. They sell most of their wine to high end restaurants around the country and to their club members. Not at all cheap but maybe worth the trip and the tasting. UPDATE [10/16] - Though they recently were awarded 90+ points on some of their wine, we have since quit their club because it has become very pretentious and pricey, not a typical Paso trait. We're told their wine shipments have escalated to over $500 and they now charge a $25 pp tasting ... even if you are a member. If they can sell their wine at their prices and if you can afford them, more power to you both.

RN Estate Vineyards  ****
7986 North River Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446. 805-610-9802. Appointment only. North of Hwy 46 east Must be 8-10 people but you often can call and join another tasting group. This is because he opens $300 of wine and typically spends 1 ½ - 2 hrs. discussing wines and wine making. The winemaker, Roger Nicholas, is a retired French chef and restauranteur, who had restaurants in Pebble Beach, Manhattan and Vermont. Just listening to him talk about his wine passion is worth the visit. He makes his boutique wines on very few acres and creates a nice variety of "French style" reds... red Rhône and Bordeaux varietals, as well as Burgundian style Pinot Noirs. Our favorite wines and wine club. If you can, try his Pinot Noir.

Gelfand Vineyards  ++++
5530 Dresser Ranch Place, Paso Robles, California 93446. South of Hwy 46 east. 805-239-5808. Jan and Len Gelfand are the owners and the tasting is casual, outside of their small wine making and wine barrel storage barn, situated below their hilltop home (see left), so this is also by appointment only ... but again you can usually join another group of tasters (if the Gelfands are not on one of their 3-4 annual cruises somewhere around the world. They make a nice variety of reds, many of which have been rated 90+ and have been awarded medals in national and international tastings. One of our favorites (we also joined their club).
Denner Winery  ****

5414 Vineyard Drive, Paso Robles, Ca. 93446. 805-239-4287 Public tasting room... oops, not any more, at least for the time being it is “members only”. BUT, you often can call ahead and get in. They really just want to keep the sometimes unruly limo crowds out I think. Their wines are "wowzer" and are often sold out early in the season. It is worth keeping in mind. West side 'wine loop’. Go for the view too. Some very good red blends in particular. Appointment only.5414 Vineyard Drive, Paso Robles, Ca. 93446. 805-239-4287 Public tasting room... oops, not any more, at least for the time being it is “members only”. BUT, you often can call ahead and get in. They really just want to keep the sometimes unruly limo crowds out I think. Their wines are "wowzer" and are often sold out early in the season. It is worth keeping in mind. West side 'wine loop’. Go for the view too. Some very good red blends in particular. Appointment only.

Opolo Vineyards
7110 Vineyard Drive, Paso Robles, CA 93446. (805) 238-9593. Public tasting room, west side 'wine loop". Try their Mountain Zin, if you like Zin. A fun tasting room with a variety of wines and usually a basketful of loyal wine tasting fans. Often has food pairings available. A good kind of party atmosphere. If you plan ahead you may be able to get a reservation for their Croatian grape stomping party or their Mediterranean wine cruise to Croatia. A favorite visit for us.

Still Waters Vineyards  ***

2750 Old Grove Lane, Paso Robles, CA 93446. (805) 237-9231.   A small family run vineyard with public tasting room. Very nice wines at modest prices. The winemaker, Paul, and his staff are friendly and accessible and treat you like friends and guests at their home (which is just down the hill from the tasting room). Hosts free concerts all summer under a forested canopy of 100+ year old olive trees. No better way to spend a summer afternoon.

Castoro Cellars  ***
1315 North Bethel Road Templeton, CA. (805) 238-0725 A fun tasting room with a wide variety of wines and a pretty setting. A tourist’s regular stop.

Cass Winery  ****
7350 Linne Road, Paso Robles, CA. (805) 239.1730 A fun, large indoor and outdoor dining and tasting room with a wide variety of excellent wines and chef prepared lunches on the east side of Hwy 101 and Paso Robles.  In the last several years it has repeatedly earned 90+ and Wine of the Year designations for their wines and has been recognized for their dining offerings. The wines are at reasonable price points . Another must visit for your wine touring and a fun excursion.

Villa San-Juliette  ***

6385 Cross Canyon Road, San Miguel, CA 93451. (805) 467-0014. This is a remarkably beautiful California Central Coast Wine Country setting, featuring a stunning setting with unending views of the vineyards, a lovely Tuscan Estate house tasting venue and gardens. Not to mention their award-winning Bordeaux and Rhone-style winesand chef styled lunches. A worthy6 stop indeed.

Justin Vineyards & Winery ***

11680 Chimney Rock Road, Paso Robles, CA. 805.238.6932 . West side 'wine loop". They make a variety of good to great wines and are well regarded. In my opinion their wines are similar to Denner (above) but Denner is now a bit better. Justin was better in the past but has been sold to the Wonderful Co., a large corporate bottler and the last releases paled in comparison to the older releases. We used to be in the wine club but dropped it when they took over.

Hansen Vineyard
5575 El Pomar Drive Templeton, CA. (805) 239-8412 A fun wild man / standup comic while pouring wine in his small tasting room, Bruce Hansen, is the host and winemaker. Don't be fooled, however into dismissing his knowledge and skills in art and craft of winemaking. If you're lucky, he may take you back into the barrel room and do a wine-thief blending from 3-7 young wines and treat you to a terrific Q&A discussion about wine making. He makes some excellent wines, particularly his big reds.
UPDATE [10/16] - Bruce too has won some recent wine competitions... and <sigh> has also jumped his prices up significantly

Calcareous Vineyards ****
3430 Peachy Canyon Road, Paso Robles CA. (805) 239-0289. Public tasting room, west side 'wine loop. Go for the fantastic view overlooking the valley to the east, a light lunch (it's worth it) and some really nice wines.

Le Cuvier ****
333 Vine Hill Ln, Paso Robles, CA 93446. 1(800)549-4764 or (805) 238-5706 Considered by many to be one of the best groups of wines in the area, if not California, made by a wine maker (“wine herder”), who has taught the craft and art to many of the other wine makers in the area. At times, his wines are sold out to the wine club members before he even bottles... but we’re in luck because he has opened a brand new, cozy and laid back wine tasting room for all of us.

 Halter Ranch Vineyard  ****
8910 Adelaida Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446. Phone 805-226-9455
This a lovely setting with a new large modern tasting room and views of the vines. With a new winemaker, they offer a variety of very nice reds and whites at a very reasonable price bracket for the quality. Well worth a visit while driving the "West Side Loop" sampling the local vintages.

Adelaida Vineyards & Winery ****

5805 Adelaida Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446. (805) 239-8980. Certainly worth a visit and a local pioneer in Paso winemaking...  which a offers large selection of fine wines in a fine tasting room. Usually a part of everyone's wine tour experience.

Austin Hope & Treana Tasting Cellar ****

1585 Live Oak Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446. (805) 801-5122.  The family’s winery and ineyards, the Austin Hope & Treana Tasting Cellar offers excellent, award winning wines and a fun atmosphere . A favorite of the locals as well as wine afficianados. Well worthy of a visit.i

For more ideas, visit www.pasorobleswineries.net/wineries ...

There are several hundred more world class offerings here in "Wine Country"