A wine weekend In Paso Robles California is just a few hours and a world away from Las Vegas.
The stark taupe landscape stretched in front of us with an occasional gnarled oak tree juxtaposed within the dusty earth. As the beige rolling hills stretched along the highway, we soon would enter California’s premier wine region of Paso Robles California. Once closer to the coast, miles of grapevines soon appeared on the horizon, sun glinting off the verdant leaves of the gnarled grapevines. El Paso de Robles means “the pass of the oaks “in Spanish. Several regions of the AVA are protected from the maritime influences of the Pacific Ocean, which then gives way to the sun-drenched, oak-studded landscape. The west side of Paso Robles closer to the Pacific Ocean does have slightly cooler temps influencing which varietals will do best within their present location.
Quickly settling into our apartment-like suite, we then were on our way to Daou vineyards for the first wine adventure of our short weekend visit. Today Paso Robles covers 26,000 acres and adds more wineries every year to this once sleepy area near the Central Coast of California. The most predominant grapes grown in the area are Cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel, syrah, merlot, and chardonnay. What better place to get a stellar 365-degree vantage point of the Paso Valley than Daou Mountain. Considered a “terroir of power, purity and symmetry,” of which Proprietor Georges Daou and wine-maker Daniel Daou, soon discovered that the calcareous clay soils resembled those of Bordeaux’s right bank affording the production of envy worth Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaking authority Andre Tchelistcheff concluded that the surrounding terroir was “a jewel of ecological elements”; referring to its tremendous potential in producing world-acclaimed wines. The terroir is naturally inclined to produce grapes of extraordinary staying power that once nurtured and transformed, can develop into wines of legacy and lasting tradition.
A vibrant food menu is offered along with the tasting including vegan and vegetarian options. Guests are seated in groups with the stunning views and warm breezes gazing over rolling green vineyards while marveling at the almost Birdseye view of Paso Robles. We took our seats and tasted Daou’s exceptional passion-driven wines. The reds, especially their flagship wine, Soul of a Lion, express the complexities of flavors, black currents and bramble fruits, subtle minerality along with incredible structure. The premier 2014 vintage produced what Jeb Dunnick of The Wine Advocate hailed as “Easily the greatest Bordeaux blends I’ve tasted from Paso Robles.” The Estate, Reserve, and Paso collections are highly sought after. It was indeed a refreshing and exhilarating reprieve from the dusty desert landscape and the confines of staying home for the last several months.
Now the ever-important question, where does one get a great meal after several hours in the vineyard? Outdoor dining is the mandate. Paso Robles has grown to be one of the hottest wine regions in the United States not only for producing world-class wines but for having some excellent dining choices. Here are some of our favorites while visiting the area. The Allegretto Vineyard Resort by Ayers exudes sophistication with its European-Mediterranean atmosphere. Accommodations at Allegretto are exemplary with 171 guestrooms and suites affording an ideal respite from the day with a classic European flair.
The Cello Ristorante and Bar located on the property will capture your culinary senses the outdoor patio overlooks rolling grapevines and the surrounding Paso Robles hills. Begin with handcrafted cocktails created by a trained mixologist. For the oenophiles, sample Allegretto’s private label Viognier, Zinfandel, Tannat, and Cabernet Sauvignon or one of the many fine wines on their impressive list. A set Northern Italian influenced dining menu made with locally sourced ingredients is available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Paso Robles California is doing its best to embrace and reinvent itself by adapting, adjusting, and pivoting into the new world of hospitality with safety measures. Just as the winegrower trains the vines to focus their energy on producing the best possible fruit, let us use our energy to enjoy our lives in focused compliance giving us time to reset, regroup and enjoy a good glass of wine with friends and family.
Elaine & Scott Harris of Vino Las Vegas Wine & Yacht Club
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