When you think about California wine regions, do you instantly think about Napa and Sonoma Valleys? I love that area and enjoy spending time up there anytime I can. But, the Central Coast of California has some fabulous wineries and is a fun wine area.
The Central Coast and Paso Robles are much closer to get to and you can easily get there for a fun weekend of wine tasting, if you are in the So. California area.
We headed over after a trip to the Yosemite National Park area and spent 2 short days in Paso Robles. The area is beautiful with lots of country roads and rolling hills with wineries tucked in amongst the trees and dotting the hillsides.
With not a lot of time in the area, we concentrated on wineries that had been recommended to us by a couple of wine sommeliers. There are so many wineries in the area, so if you are traveling to the area, a suggestion for you is to map out the wineries you absolutely want to see and check to see if reservations are required. There is no way you can see and visit every winery in just a few days. Save some for the next trip.
Let me start with where to stay, there are several great bed and breakfasts in the area and other hotels to choose from. This trip we opted for the gorgeous Hotel Cheval. The boutique inn is located just off the main square in Paso Robles and makes the perfect location if you want to walk around town and enjoy the many restaurants on the square.
The inn has 16 rooms and all of them face a beautiful courtyard with lots of seating and 2 stone fireplaces. The library is a cozy spot to stop, relax and read for a bit.
The rooms are quite comfortable and large. We opted for a deluxe room, which was upstairs overlooking the courtyard with a big corner sectional sofa, king size bed and fireplace.
For a really fun evening or a cozy spot to enjoy a drink before dinner, head to the Pony Club at the Inn. There is indoor seating or a nice patio under the trees to enjoy a drink a small bite. They pour quite a few local wines, giving you a chance to try something from a local winery. The staff was great and knowledgeable. We found a wine we fell in love with and our server told us where to find the winery. Add another one to the list.
After dinner we headed back to the inn and found that they were getting ready to make S’mores for the guests out by the fireplaces in the courtyard. It doesn’t get any better. These were not your basic S’mores, we had choices Caramel and Sea Salt with Dark Chocolate, Cinnamon Swirl, Milk Chocolate with Caramel Marshmallows and you can get creative and make any combination you would like.
Several wineries we wanted to visit and taste from were closed, as we were there on a Monday, but it is okay, we found others.
First stop ~ Lone Madrone. This beautiful little winery sits atop a hill with views that are gorgeous. The winery was named for the Lone Madrone tree that stood on the property. Tastings are $10 per person and you are allowed to share if there are 2 of you. The tasting menu is extensive and we had 12, 1 oz pours, which was very generous.
The Paso wineries are known for their blends and most are quite nice. Several wines at Lone Madrone are dry farmed, giving the wines an intense sugar content. Definitely worth a visit.
The next winery stop was Chateau Margene. They create beautiful Cabs and Bordeaux style wines. The tasting room in Paso Robles will soon be closing and all tastings will be in Creston at the winery. Creston is just outside of Paso Robles and definitely worth visiting. The wines were incredible. Chateau Margene is also the winery that creates the wine we fell in love with, El Pistolero Pinot Noir. They are opening a new tasting room in Morro Bay to pour the El Pistolero wines.
Another fun find was Pasolivo Olive Oil Co. The staff is friendly and so knowledgeable about the olive oils. The tasting in their large tasting room is a real experience. They carry a variety of seasoned salts and pair these with the oils, while giving tips on how to create dry rubs for bbq recipes. With a large picnic area , this is one spot you should try.
There are so many wineries I want to try and check off my list, so we will be going back. If you have been and have any favorites, please share with all of us.