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Kushman By The Bottle: Paso Robles

Uncalno / Flickr

Uncalno / Flickr

0409 Kushman By The Bottle

In the next installment of Kushman by the Bottle, Capital Public Radio’s resident wine expert Rick Kushman joins us to explain the best way to plan a wine country getaway.

Rick's Picks For Paso Robles:

  • Halter Ranch is maybe the best undiscovered treasure of Paso. It was a horse ranch back to the 1880s and now makes lovely, balanced wines. It has a graceful Victorian farmhouse, a state-of-the-art tasting room opening in 2015, and best of all, a covered bridge. All around nice visit.
  • Proulx is my other favorite. It’s on top of a hill, has a sunny little tasting room, the wines are complex, deep and delicious, and the winemaker, Kevin Riley is a rising star and just a good guy, and he’s in the tasting room most weekends.
  • Daou Vineyards at 2,200 feet has the best views in the region. It’s a large, Spanish Colonial style winery on top of a hill with a big, luxurious shaded patio and views that reach, I think, Spain. It looks fancy, but they’re very friendly.
  • Tablas Creek, one of the most heralded Paso wineries, and its tasting room is surprisingly laid-back. They are national class, especially for their Rhone blends (meaning, layered, tasty reds with Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre; and slightly lush whites with Viognier, Marsanne and Roussane, among others).
  • JUSTIN is another well-known name. They are known for Cabernet and have a new, polished, white and glass tasting room with huge windows that make the vineyards seem to be part of the tasting.
  • Peachy Canyon Winery for zinfandel lovers. They have seven pretty diffrent zins and the tasting room is a cheerful  yellow cottage in the trees that used to be a schoolhouse circa 1886.
  • Jada Vineyard feels like its in the Sierra, though it’s right off a main road. They pair wine and cheese on two shady decks and have a modern/cowboy feel, which is sort of the zeitgeist of Paso.
  • Eberle Winery. It was created by one of Paso’s founding forces, Gary Eberle, and he’s still in and out of the big, comfortable tasting room, usually followed by his adorable standard poodles named Zinfandel and Rousanne.
  • J. Lohr, another pioneer of Paso, is up a quiet road and you’d never know they’re one of California’s major wineries. Airport Road. They have a simple but graceful wood-framed building and free tastings.
  • Tobin James is the last winery out of town on the east and it’s usually busy, and usually there’s a party atmosphere. Their wines are solid, but this is more about just having a good time. There’s a cheeky, Old West atmosphere that borders on kitschy, and they say they have only one rule for their tasting room: have fun.
  • Pasolivo Olive Oil. It's on Vineyard Drive on the Westside. They do these very fun, slightly goofy tasting of their oils by pairing them with spice rubs and designer salts. The olive oils are both classic and unique (like tangerine), and they give you recipes for them all. It’s just a cheerful place, and also a good stop for gifts.