2012 GMS tour of Paso Robles

Hill and Troya got us a deal on the hotels and Doc picked the wineries. All I had to do was show up. Doc decided to go tasting at wineries that made GSM’s (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) GSM blends are very popular in Paso.

First stop was Kukkula. My favorites were the Pas de deux, Aatto and Sisu. The 2010 Vaalea was lite and refreashing and at $22, a bargin. Kukkula wines range in price from $22 to $40. Their GSM blend is the Sisu. The 2007 Sisu at $30 is a good buy. On to Alta Colina. The 2010 Baja Colina Rhone Red is their GSM blend. They only made 225 case and it is reasonable priced at $28. I liked their 2010 Ann’s Block Petite Sirah but I thought it was over priced at $48. Next on the list was Villa Creek. My first impression was “expensive”. they have three GSM’s. 2010 Willow Creek Cuvee, 2010 Avenger and the 2007 High Road at $100. The High Road was my favorite but at $100???? Come on man. Next stop was Hearthstone. Their GSM is the 2008 Lodestone. It is 15% alc and I bought a bottle for $30. Hearthstone also has a 2010 Pearl that is 60% Roussanne and 40% Viognier. If you like white wines, you will enjoy the florals and butter cream texture. $26.

On a whim, we stopped at Windward. They only make Pinot Noir. We ended up leaving with two bottles of their 2008 Estate Monopole. We then headed to our last stop for the day, L”Aventure. L’Aventure’s GSM blends were the 2010 La Suite and the 2010 Cote a Cote. These are small production wines and they are priced at $75 and $85 respectively. I enjoyed all of their wines but I thought they were a little pricey. If you like Roses ,like I do, then you will like the two they make. They have a Sangiovese and a Grenache. I bought two of each.

We ended day one of our tour with dinner at Villa Creek Restaurant in downtown Paso Robles. I had the Lamb shank. Tender meat falling off of the bone and then it just melts in you mouth. Delicious.

We started day two at Kenneth Volk. One of our favorites. We picked up a bottle of the $36 2009 Tennat and the 2009 Mourvedre. One of my favorites was the 2009 Bien Nacido Pinot Noir. But at $60, I thought it was over priced.  Niner Wine Estates was next on the list.  They did not have a GSM for tasting.  They have a 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon for $32 that is very good.  Zenaida Cellars was next.  They have 13 wines on their tasting list.  Zenaida is one of the few wineries that have moved away from corked bottles.  The 2010 Wanderlust is their GSM.  I found it to be lite on the tongue with smooth texture.  We left the winery with bottles of their 2010 Wanderlust, 2009 Fire Sign (Cab Syrah Zinfandel blend), and the 2010 Zinfandel. After our enjoyable time at Zenaida, we set off for Pipestone.

Pipestone Vineyard is 100% solar and they use horses instead of tractors in their vineyard.  Their GSM is the 2008 Rhone Style Red wine.  It was fruity with hints of berries and aromas of red cherries.  At $32 I thought it was a little over priced but I did buy a bottle.  Next was Terry Hoage Vineyards.  What a find.  They had four wines on their tasting list.  2010 The Pick ( a Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, counoise blend), 2010 The 46 (50% grenache, 50% Syrah), 2010 5 Blocks (Syrah, Mourvedre, grenache, cinsault blend), and the 2010 The Hedge (Syrah).  Terry Hoage is a small producer.  They only make 200-250 case of each varietal.  We loved their wines and we left with a bottle of each at $43 a bottle.

We headed back to town to try some of the tasting room around the town square.  If you like Spanish Varietals, you will love Bodegas Paso Robles.  We stopped in at Parrish Family Vineyard and tried their 2008 GSM Rhone blend.  It was nice but a little pricey at $34.

We spent the second night in Paso Robles at Cheval.  Troya and Hill hooked us up or this would have been out of our price range.  The rooms usually rent for $250 to $325 a night.  If you are one of those that can hang in that circle, I highly suggest you stay at Cheval.  We grabbed dinner from the cheese shop next door and we sat outside by a roaring fire, next to our room, and enjoyed good company and good wines.  A perfect end to a fun and enjoyable weekend.

GSM Paso Robles Tour 1/27&28,2013

Well several months ago Troya and I found some sweet deals at The Paso Inn and Hotel Cheval so Doc went to work researching wineries with Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre blends.His findings took us to some new wineries we’ve never been to along with a few that we always hit when we’re in Paso. Paso is one of my favorite places to go tasting, there are soooo many wineries and it’s beautiful. To top it off many of these wineries are smaller and more personable but even the larger wineries are very friendly and not snooty, a big plus for me.

We started the day off at Kukkula where Brax and I are members. The 2009 Sisu(GSM) was pretty amazing and I enjoyed the 2010 Aatto. This winery is sustainable, organic and only dry farms. They also offer some food to enjoy along with the lovely wine and scenery. The next on the tour was Alta Colina, a small family owned winery. For me I didn’t find anything that fit my taste but to each his own.

Villa Creek was the next on our list. I really liked two of their wines, Avenger and High Road but thought it was a bit over priced, $100 for High Road. On to Hearthstone, here I like the 2010 Pearl(Roussanne, Viognier), fruity nose, floral but not too sweet with a rich finish. They also had a Pinot, GSM, Mourvedre and Cab. Next to our last stop was Windward, purely Pinots here, the 2008 Pinot was very good. Our last stop of the day was L’Aventure, owned by a frenchie, so this was interesting to see his take on American winemaking. Two wines I liked here, Optimus2010(Syrah,Cab,Petit Verdot) and the Estate Cuvee.  Since this was our last stop we headed to the Paso Inn before dinner. Good thing we got a good deal because I wasn’t impressed. We upgraded to a king room with the natural sulfur spas. Well I’m not exactly sure what health benefits sulfur spas have but not sure it’s worth the stink. As it turned out, the water in the spa wouldn’t heat up. The rooms were spacious but very bare in decor. The bathroom was very big with nice counters but the shower was small for the amount of space in the bathroom. The grounds at the Inn are very pretty and the front desk clerks were helpful, we got our money back for the upgrade since the spa didn’t work.

For dinner we went to Villa Creek(same as the winery), great atmsophere, the food was really good, Brax’s lamb shank was fabulous and I don’t like lamb usually.

Monday we started out at Kenneth Volk where you pick 6 out of 19 wines to taste. We went home with the Tannat 2009 and the Mourvedre 2009. From there we went to Niner where Troya and Doc planned on joining. This is a beautiful tasting room! They also do cooking classes there so they have a professional kitchen with beautiful,quaint dining area. The Cab was the only wine I really like, very drinkable, not a lot of tannins. We next went to Zenaida Cellars. They had a few really nice wines, the 2010 Zin was good as well as the 2010 Wanderlust(GSM) and the 2009 Fire Sign. Pipestone Vineyards was our next stop, a bit of a drive back in the hills and looks very farmy, horses in pastures, goats, goose and a duck in pens with a very friendly large dog to greet you. This is a fully solar-powered, sustainable, and organic winery. The use draft horses to work the vineyards which I think is pretty cool. The wines were surprising decent, particularly the 2008 Rhone Style Red Wine and the 2008 Syrah was very good.

My fave of the day and the trip was Terry Hoage Vineyards. Leanne from L’Aventure had recommended we go here the day before and I am so happy we did!!! All of the wines were excellent but the 2010 The Pick(GSM) and the 2010 5 Blocks(Syrah Cuvee) were outstanding. I think we may end up joining the wine club. I definitely recommend it!

We ventured back to town to walk around and try a couple of tasting rooms in town that Doc and Troya had been to before. The first was Bodegas, they specialized in Spanish varietals. For me, I didn’t find anything that did it for me. We then went to Parrish Family Vineyards. The 2008 GSM Rhone Blend was very good.

By the time we finished tasting for the day we were starving! We’d decided to get pizza and some paninis at the cheese shop next to Hotel Cheval so we could hang out by the fireplace in the courtyard. Hotel Cheval is spectacular!!! Very quaint and elegant. The rooms are beautiful and the courtyard with several fireplaces, tables and lounges set up around them make it very inviting. So we enjoyed our Marv’s pizza, which was excellent, along with the cheese paninis and wine and played cards for several hours. A great end to a fanTASTEtic couple of days!!! Until our next adventure……