Paso a Paso

Last weekend, we drove up to Paso Robles to check out its burgeoning wine scene.

I knew that I would like the wines. Paso’s niche is red blends that copy the formulas established in the Southern Rhone (Grenache + Syrah + Mourvedre) and the Northern Rhone (Shiraz + a splash of Viognier) of France. I love Rhone Valley reds. A good part of my collection is wines from Chateauneuf du Pape and Gigondas.

A beautiful day at Caliza’s vineyards

I didn’t know if I would like the town or the wine-tasting experience. My hope was that it had not been Napafied yet.

The good news is that Paso Robles is a delightful little town with a gorgeous old downtown area bursting with great restaurants, bars and wine-tasting rooms.

The even better news is that the wineries generally accept walk-ins and charge around $10-15 for a tasting (refunded if you buy a few bottles). Staff were knowledgeable, friendly and fun. A couple of the more popular wineries were approaching Napa pretension and prices, but most kept things casual. Our four boys threw the football outside or played on the iPad and only once were they scolded.

One iPad, four brothers. My boys love “wine-tasting” because it means unlimited iPad time!

Paso Robles is just inland from San Luis Obisbo, and roughly equidistant from both San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Our drive from Laguna Beach took 4.5 hours.

I’ll be posting on the individual wineries over the coming days.

Conclusion: Paso Robles is great food and wine destination. We will definitely be back.

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