It seems everybody who goes to Paso now has a different experience, since there are now so many wineries to choose from. This was our latest.
We try to get to Paso about twice per year, usually timed to the Turley pick-up parties. In the old days [getting redundant, huh?], we used to go to several more wineries each day we would be there. Nowadays, we try to pick a couple of old favorites and a couple of new ones to try.
We are not really fans of the bigger and/or busier tasting rooms, although we still love to visit Tobin James [disclaimer – we are in their wine club]. Always a fun experience, but a far cry from when we first discovered Toby’s wines at a small tasting room called Templeton Corners, on Main Street in Templeton [where else?]. Templeton Corners specialized in pouring wines produced by wineries that didn’t have their own tasting rooms. [I don’t think Toby even had his own winery yet, let alone a tasting room.]
Although we usually try to stop by Tobin James on the way into Paso, we got there too late Friday for this. Instead, we just made it in time for our reservations at Artisan, one of my favorite restaurants anywhere. Had a great dinner and headed over to Cambria.
The next morning, we went to the Turley party and had a terrific time. Always fun to talk to Larry Turley and winemaker Ehren Jordan, as well as a bunch of dedicated Turley lovers of all ages.
Before heading back into Cambria for lunch, we stopped at 4 Vines for a tasting of their latest releases. Very nice Zins and red Rhones [disclaimer: we’re in their club, too], although I am not sure my humor was appreciated when I said their wines would go very well with the “live venison” we saw grazing on the adjacent hill.
Sunday morning, we made an early stop at Castoro, one of the older wineries in the area. They are always pouring a plethora of nice wines and the people are very friendly.
Then we headed over to our appointment at Ecluse Winery. For this, I owe Vic at All Corked Up a debt of gratitude. They had recently paid him a visit so he could taste their wines. [I think one of his customers had mentioned ACU to the owners of Ecluse.] Knowing what we like, he suggested we go visit them.
He was absolutely right! Great Rhones and Zin! The tasting was in the barrel room and we were hosted by the owners, Steve and Pam Lock. Very much reminded me of the old days, or at least what I think I remember of them. A perfect tasting experience. My only regret was that I didn’t ask for a tour of the property. Next time for sure! Bought several bottles.
Heading down the road from Ecluse, I spied the sign for Fratelli Perata. An old time winery [for Paso] that has stayed very small and off the beaten path. [Come to think of it, I first had their wine at Templeton Corners also, and they showed me the old logo glass to prove it.] They do have a tasting room, staffed by the family. Really enjoyed the Italian varietals and bought several.
[In the same vicinity as Ecluse, we stopped by another winery that I was really looking forward to. The wines were very good. But, in comparison to the two above, it was very impersonal. I realize that not all owners want to be onsite, and that is of course their choice. But just having a pretty girl pouring wine in the tasting room isn’t the tasting experience I am looking for.]
Pretty much at our wine tasting limit for a Sunday [getting old], we visited the Pasolivo Olive Ranch, then had lunch at Panolivo in Paso, walked around downtown Paso for awhile and then headed home. Can’t wait until next time!