1st Paso trip of 2014 for the 4

This was a weekend I was really looking forward to, it’s been awhile since the four of us have been together. We spent 2 days in Paso, the first day we decided to hit our usual favorites and the 2nd day was all new wineries. We started off Saturday at one of my most favorites, Terry Hoage where we got to catch up with Evan, our fav tasting room pourer. I pretty much like everything here, nothing disappoints…oh wait I was disappointed because they were out of their Grenache, The Skins..boohoo!!! It was heaven!!!

Niner was our next stop where Doc and Troya are members. The tasting room and vineyards here are beautiful. The tasting had a cheese pairing option for $5 which we did. Over all for me I’m not a big fan of their wine, I did like the Twisted Spur which is a blend.

Next we went to Hearthstone. We’ve been here once before and liked their wines and the people working in the tasting room, Bob was great! Very friendly and inviting. They have a lovely white blend called The Pearl. They also have two Rose`s that we bought the previous visit that were very good. They were out of the Rose` this visit. They have a Pinot Noir along with several different red blends that are all good, very drinkable with decent price points.

Whalebone was a new one for us. They poured one white blend that was decent and several Cab and Cab blends. Since I am not a big Cab fan this wasn’t floatin’ my boat. I did like the Boneyard, a Mourvedre,Syrah,Petite Sirah, Granache,Merlot and Cab. They have a $30 price range.

Next was my other favorite that NEVER disappoints, Kukkula. We had just missed the bottling which would have been cool to see. A huge self-contained trailer that does everything is brought in to bottle the wine…a bottle a second!!! Kevin, owner/winemaker, showed us some video of the day, really an amazing process. So pretty much everything here is delish. My fav is the Pas de Deux and the Sisu, oh and Noir and Lagniappe and Lothario. Kevin’s making a Rose` for the first time this year, I am really looking forward to it.

Last of the day was Dubost. This was one of the places we came with Doc and Troya the first time we came to Paso. They had been members at the time but because of a tragic accident that took the life of the winemaker, the wine had since changed and they dropped their membership. So it had been a couple years and we wanted to try it again. For me I didn’t find anything that I liked.

We decided to do cheese/bread and pizza for dinner at the Sundance Bed and Breakfast that Doc and Troya stayed. It was a bit out in the sticks on the east side but it was beautiful! Marv’s pizza was delish! Doc and Troya got ripped off on the 3 cheeses, boar sausage and loaf of bread(see Troya’s blog, I’m SURE she commented on it).

Sunday we hired Andrew from A Safe Way Limos to drive our wino butts around, the best way to wine taste! Andrew was awesome!! We had not done any tasting on the east side of 46 so we started at Robert Hall. A large production winery with good price points.They offer a few whites and several reds. The Viognier was good as was the Meritage. Christina who helped us in the tasting room was very sweet and helpful. She offered to take us on a tour which was pretty cool.

Directly behind Robert Hall is Mitchella, a small family owned winery. Here they paired cheese with the wine tasting. They had a Grenache Blanc and Viognier as well as a Rose`. As for reds they had a Syrah, Cab, Zin and two different blends both of which I thought were decent. Prices ranged from $15-$45.

Vina Robles was next, this too is also a larger production winery. The tasting room was very impressive. They offered two tasting options, the Estate tasting and Reserve tasting which is smaller production wines. We did the Reserve tasting. There was one white wine on the list, a Vermentino, an Italian varietal which I have never tried before. It was good, crisp with hints of cantaloupe. The reds were a Cab/Petit Verdot, Syrah and two vintages of Syrah and Petite Sirah that they’ve named the Syree. Of the reds I liked the Ryan’s Road Syrah and 09 Syree. They also had a sparkling wine, a little on the sweet side for me. Price ranges from $18-$49.

We had an appointment at Denner next. Denner is on the west side and is by appointment only. The winery and tasting room was very nice and staff was friendly enough. They offered a Viognier and The Theresa(Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Picpoul and Marsanne blend). I preferred the Viognier. They have 2 red blends and a Syrah. I liked the Ditch Digger and Mother of Exiles. Here they do some of the aging and fermenting in concrete. Apparently this is actually an old process but not widely used today though is starting to be put into practice again at some wineries. The wines here were decent but a bit on the pricey side, $63 for the reds and $38 for the whites. Denner also has a bed and breakfast, pictures of the rooms are impressive.

On a whim we stopped at Jada and what a pleasant surprise! They offered two tasting choices, we choose the Signature tasting which was paired with cheese. Ari, our pouring professional, was great! The XCV, a white Rhone blend, was really good!! The reds they pour are primarily blends with the exception of the Syrah. All of the reds were very good, my favorite being the Strayts and Malstria. Price points are decent, maybe a smidge on the pricey side but overall I’d say worth it.

Last was Arroyo Robles, they are located in town at their own tasting room. They have a few whites, an Albarino, Chardonnay and Viognier. Their reds are Tempranillo, Petit Sirah, a blend and a Cab. There was nothing here I cared for, the nose on all of them gave the impression of having been opened too long.

Buena Tavola was the dinner spot. Each time we come to Paso we try a new restaurant. Well…. Brax and I had dinner here the last time we came, so much for being a first, I forgot we had already eaten here….oopsie! We even had the same waitress who remembered us. I remember liking it the first time and wasn’t disappointed this time either.

I really like that several of the wineries offered cheese pairings along with the tasting either included in the tasting fee or for a small additional fee. It really gives you an idea of how the wine may taste with food.

Paso is truly one of my favorite places to explore food and wine. The tasting rooms range from rustic to very modern and people are generally very easy-going, welcoming and very willing to share knowledge and suggestions. The tasting fees are reasonable and most wineries apply your tasting fee to a purchase of a bottle.

Until our next adventure……