Best local red Rhone-style and wines for the holidays
Of all the wines we are recommending in this series, Rhone-style varieties are perhaps the best suited to holiday meals. They are often smoother and more well-balanced in character, which makes them well-suited to a big holiday meal or Christmas turkey dinner with all the fixings. Paso Robles winemakers have recently been producing some of the best Rhone-style wines outside of France. So with that bias, here are a few good recommendations of Paso Robles Rhone-style wines.
Top Paso Robles red Rhone-style wines
Bianchi 2013 GSM Geste – $32
This blend of grenache, syrah, and mourvèdre is a bold Rhone-style blend that leads off with a deep ruby red color. It delivers aromas and flavors of boysenberry and plums with a slight cocoa nib finish. It will pair well with turkey and roasts.
Burbank Ranch 2013 GSM – $42
This blend of 50/40/10 grenache, syrah, mouvredre, allows the varieties to compliment each other perfectly. Originating from the Rhône valley in the South of France, these three grapes are known for their bright character, extroverted aromas of ripe fruit, dried sage, and herbs with a pepper-and-herb finish that echoes the wine’s aroma.
Cass 2015 Mourvèdre – $38
This wine offers aromas of black cherry, red plum, savory spice and dusted violet are evident on the nose. The palate combines intensity and freshness while revealing nuances of blueberry and sweet tobacco. It earned a Double Gold at the 2017 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition
Cass 2014 Rockin’ One Red – $49
A harmonious blend of 42-percent grenache, 37-percent mourvèdre, 16-percent syrah and 5-percent petite sirah. It displays nuances of stewed boysenberries, dried raspberry, pipe tobacco, clove and orange zest. This wine earned 90 points from Wine Enthusiast Magazine and a Gold Medal at the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Castoro Cellars 2015 Whale Rock Vineyard Syrah – $25
This delightful syrah shows a deep ruby color and flavors of dark berries, which develop into a full mouthfeel. It has notes of bay leaf, cherry, violets, and peppercorn with balanced acidity. Extended oak aging and ample tannins make the perfect combination.
Pomar Junction 2014 Syrah – $40
This 100-percent syrah is an exciting representation of Rhone wines grown in Paso Robles. Spice, fruit, and smokiness make this wine varietally characteristic and noteworthy. This wine’s intense flavors and supple tannins pair naturally with rich meats such as rosemary garlic rack of lamb, roasted duck with grilled vegetables or a hearty beef stew.
Rockin’ R Winery 2012 Everything – $30
This Rhone-style blend of grenache, syrah and mourvedre combines delicious fruit, nice tannins and moderate weight in a balance of power and size. It was built for Rhone enthusiasts This wine pairs well with almost everything, from soups to meats, cheeses to chocolates.
Best local pinot noir wines for the holidays
Pinot noir is always a popular choice for holiday parties and dinners because it is easy to pair with so many holiday dishes. Pinot noir’s traditional characters of medium-bodied fruit, lower alcohol, velvety mouthfeel, and bright acidity make it an excellent lighter red wine for holiday meals. After tasting more than a dozen local pinot noir wines we made some recommendations below. We suggest serving these wines slightly chilled at about 55°F.
Laetitia 2015 Whole Cluster Pinot Noir – $42
Laetitia Vineyard and Winery has made a name for itself as one of the best pinot noir producers in San Luis Obispo County. This vintage shows their expertise in the varietal, even though it’s outside their typical softer style. It has bold notes of cassis, tobacco and black pepper. It will pair nicely with roasted duck and other holiday meats.
Pomar Junction 2013 Pinot Noir Reserve – $65
This pinot is aromatic with bright raspberries, eucalyptus, and a touch of minerality. It has flavors of tart berries, wild apples, and allspice with a lingering finish of chocolate and cinnamon. It recently won a gold medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Paso Robles wine recommendations
• Best local sparkling wines for the holidays
• Best local rosé wines for the holidays
• Best local white wines for the holidays
• Best local zinfandel and Italian-style wines for the holiday
• Best local cabernet sauvignon and Bordeaux-style wines for the holidays
• Best local Rhone-style red wines for the holidays
• Best local dessert wines for the holidays
Publisher’s note: For the fourth year in a row we thought it would be a great idea to recommend local wines for upcoming holiday parties and dinners. Once again, we received an amazing amount of participation from our local wineries. Over the last few weeks, we received more than 100 entries. After tasting and tasting and tasting, there were many solid, well-made wines to recommend. We have created several lists of top local wines into categories. The recommended wines above are in alphabetical order.