Have you heard of tiny houses? There’ve been a few television shows about them. My wife Karen occasionally watches them and I’ll sometimes lift my head up from wine-related Facebook conversations to see what’s up.
Basically, people downsize to a minimum level of possessions and space requirements in order to live in very small residences, simplifying their lives in the process. Now what that minimum level is varies from family to family depending on their own situation. The whole idea has never really appealed to me; for one thing, what to do with the wine?
But, to stay in a tiny house in a vineyard on the west side of Paso Robles?
Heck yes, that is very appealing.
The first episode of DIY Network’s “Cabin Brothers” featured the development and construction of two tiny homes on the vineyard property of Hoyt Family Vineyards. The “brothers” are twins John and Ron Daniels [formerly of the show “Redwood Kings”] and their company Daniels Wood Land is conveniently based in Tin City just south of downtown Paso Robles.
The cabins/homes have all the amenities – two bedrooms [one is a master with a queen size bed and the other is smaller with bunk beds], a shower and full kitchen. Our vineyard view cabin gave us a full frontal view of the beautiful vineyard – just be careful not to give a full frontal view to the vineyard workers; this is a working winery, after all. In case you’re wondering, you also have satellite TV and Wi-Fi.
But all this would mean nothing to me if the wines didn’t measure up.
For a little bit about how that started, we have to begin in…Malibu.
Carol and Stephen Hoyt moved to Malibu and planted their Chardonnay vineyard on their property in 2001. Carol, a self-taught winemaker, made her first wine with purchased Cabernet fruit while waiting for the first Chardonnay grapes to be ready to harvest in 2004. Since that time, Hoyt Family Vineyards became known for producing delicious Chardonnay from Malibu.
But we all know that there is more to wine than Chardonnay, yummy as it is, and in 2011 the Hoyts purchased 86 acres on the west side of Paso Robles in the very highly regarded Willow Creek District, with neighbors like Booker, Tablas Creek and most recently Clos Solene [in other words, a pretty darn good neighborhood], to expand the estate offerings of Hoyt Family Vineyards. After much work [some still ongoing] on the vineyards, which now consist of two adjacent properties totaling 140 acres with 30 acres planted, they now also produce Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Grenache and Petit Verdot.
Tastings are available by appointment at the vineyard property, which is especially convenient if you are staying there. But we wanted to check out the new tasting room in downtown Paso Robles. Located just north of the busy park square, the Hoyt Family Vineyards tasting room is a wonderful addition to the downtown tasting room scene. It is now literally possible to spend a day (or more) tasting wine strolling around without ever needing to drive into the surrounding countryside, should you so choose.
We went through the whole lineup of wines, which I am pleased share with you here, including the winery’s notes:
Hoyt2Hoyt Sparkling Wine: Our newest addition, a sophisticated Methode Champignon sourced from Sonoma County. Light, crisp and refreshing. Perfect for a celebration or a Sunday morning. Dry, with notes of pear and apple, delicately tickles your fancy.
2015 Chardonnay: Our newest release! We have taken our Malibu estate grown Chardonnay through 100% malolactic and aged it in new and used French Oak. This is the wine that put us on the map! Crisp, with hints of oak and butter this Chardonnay’s acid is well balanced on your palate and could look forward to it aging beautifully, if you can wait, but we don’t think you will want to! It is our classic “Drink it all day Chardonnay”! Case Production 325
Muscat: For those of you who expect this wine to be overly sweet, we have a surprise for you! Made with no residual sugar, this Muscat presents itself as beautifully dry with a fragrant nose of citrus, clean and crisp. This is a onetime wine from our estate with a small production, get it before it’s gone! Case Production 30
2017 Pinot Noir Rose: Sophisticated and elegant, best describes our estate Grown Pinot Noir Rose. This Rose, already turning heads and making a splash, claimed 99 points, double gold and best of class from the California State Fair. Notes of strawberry, and citrus make this perfect for the summer or for that matter anytime.
“Dylema” Our fun red blend. Originally created for the Malibu Chili cook off, this has become a house favorite. A Cab based blend with a little bit of everything else thrown in. Smooth and easy on the palate, we were hard pressed as what to call it, so we named it after our kids, Dylan and Emma. Enjoy our “Dylema”. GOLD Medal Winner
Grenache: Our first Grenache! And we are delighted with its lovely gardenia and soft smokey pepper and burnt Cherry undertones. Case Production 80
2012 Tempranillo: Fruit forward, well balanced. The velvet feel rolls in your mouth, with magical notes of black currant, blackberries, blueberry, vanilla and cooking spices. Very limited production of this hand picked estate fruit. Case Production 55
2013 Petite Sirah: Our 2013 Petite Sirah is totally amazing. Big bold fruit, beautiful legs, rounded mouth feel, we think it’s like “sex in a bottle”. Very limited production, and we feel it will be winning Gold Medals- we expect nothing less!
2012 Cabernet Sauvignon: Already winning Best of Class by the San Francisco Wine Chronicle, this is our favorite Cab yet. It’s unbelievable round mouth feel, is chewy, fruit forward, leggy and lovely. A sophisticated Cab, very limited production, this wine won’t last! Case Production 96
These are very well made wines. The awards they are getting, such as the one from the Chronicle, are about as legit as they get. The Rose really knocked us out and the Petite Sirah is aptly described as amazing. As you can see, production is tiny on many of these so blink and they might be gone. But whatever they are pouring next will be sure to please.
Thank you to Nancy Hoffman of Hoyt Family Vineyards for hosting us at the property and at the tasting room, as well as giving us a whirlwind vineyard tour and pointing out the best places to enjoy a glass of wine at sunset. She is a joy to work with – don’t believe just me; check out the reviews on Airbnb. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/23712572
So, am I ready to give it all up and move into a tiny house? Probably not. But I would definitely stay again in a tiny cabin in a beautiful vineyard, especially this vineyard and this winery: Hoyt Family Vineyards. You should too.
1322 Park Street, Paso Robles, Ca. 93446
2015 Township Rd, Paso Robles, Ca. 93446
2110 Township Rd, Paso Robles, Ca. 93446
Michael Perlis has been pursuing his passion for wine for more than 25 years. He has had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show him the way, as well as a wonderful wife who encourages him and shares his interest. After a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as he possibly could, he had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Now, as Contributing Editor for Eve’s Wine 101, he does his best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers. Michael is also Vice President of Eve Bushman Consulting (fka Eve’s Wine 101 Consulting) http://evebushmanconsulting.com/ and President of MCP Financial. Michael can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.