Tasting local wines

Trip Start May 11, 2012
Trip End Jun 08, 2012

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, May 22, 2012

5/22/12 – Well, after 10 days on the road we are getting smarter, and I wish we had know before we left what we know now, because I would have packed a lot fewer clothes. Many of the hotels we have stayed in have laundries. This morning I did two loads of wash in a couple of hours. We could have left the big suitcases at home. Live and learn. Next time we are traveling light!

So today was a day for wining. After lunch we headed out to an area in Paso Robles where there is an abundance of Mom and Pop operations. It is always fun to talk to the owners or members of the family, while tasting their wines. We drove through miles of vineyards, which are always very picturesque. The vines are all planted in neat rows, and the plants are kept trimmed neatly as they run along ties that connect the posts one to another. It is the season when the plants are just beginning to grow, and there is no flowering or fruit yet. That will come in the fall.

Many of the neighboring fields were growing gold hay and purple hay. I have no idea what purple hay is, but it is pretty to look at and provides an eclectic picture intermingled with the grape fields.

We first visited Tobin James Winery.  The building was very rustic, with a kind of southwestern theme.  They did not allow dogs inside, so Beamer and I sat out on the porch while Steve went inside. He came out with glasses of wine to taste. And of the wines we tasted, we only liked the Sangiovese. All of the others were very jammy…heavy on the palate. We purchased a bottle of the Sangiovese.

Next we went to Maloy Oneil, a lovely winery on the top of a hill. We were the only ones tasting and they welcomed Beamer with open arms. Joanne, a close friend of the owner, gave us our tasting, and we enjoyed chatting with her about the wines. We fell in love with the Sangiovese blend and the Petite Syrah and we bought a bottle of each.

We then drove to Falcon Nest Winery. The owner and his wife were in the tasting room and we chatted with them while Beamer sat patiently beside us. The owner is Italian, and has been in the country for 38 years and his wife is from Hawaii. It took us a while to get them to open up, but when we did, they talked freely about their family and immigrating to this country. We liked the Red Zinfindel and bought a bottle to take with us.

The next winery we visited was Rio Seco. This is a real family operated winery where Dad is the wine maker, daughter runs the tasting room, her sister was out back smoking olives when we were there, and Mom was cleaning the guest house for the arrival of new visitors. They have a house that is divided into several guest houses and if you buy $100-150 worth of wine, you get to stay free. It is a little more on weekends. I wish we had known, because we did buy $100 worth of wine today. We loved their Petit Syrah and bought 4 bottles. We also bought a bottle of their 2005 MVP Reserve and a bottle of a table red. Why Six bottles??? Because we were going to buy 4, but if you buy 6, you get them all for $99. Kate calls it the "Stimulus Package". It works. It stimulated us to part with our money.

Lastly, we went to Hug. Unlike the others, Hug is not located in the hills where the wineries are. Their tasting room is in an industrial park. We had some difficulty finding them, and I wish we hadn't, because their wines were not very good. Again, kind of jammie. We did buy a bottle of Syrah, but we felt the need to do that, since the tasting was free.

Shortly, we are leaving for the Tap Room. Steve loves these micro breweries. Tomorrow we head for the Pacific Coast Highway. I hear it is a beautiful drive up to Monterey.
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Jan Murray on

I was wondering what your destination held, sounds like fun touring the wineries. Your trip has taken you through some places I went in 1972 and brought back a lot of memories. Hope you continue to have wonderful days of fantastic scenery. ENJOY!

Art on

That's the kind of wining I like!

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