Best red Rhone-style wines and red blends in Paso Robles for the holidays
–Of all the wines we are recommending in this series, I find the Rhone-style red wines are perhaps the best suited to holiday meals. They are often smoother and more balanced in character, which makes them fantastic for a big holiday meal or Christmas turkey dinner with all the fixings. Paso Robles winemakers have been producing some of the best award-winning Rhone-style wines outside of France. This is my favorite category to taste, and they are all gems. So with that bias, here are a few good recommendations of Paso Robles Rhone-style wines and red blends.
Top local Rhone-style red wine recommendations
Austin Hope Troublemaker – $20
In Austin Hope’s younger days he was something of a troublemaker. And on those days when his schoolwork or attitude didn’t quite live up to the family’s expectations, he was sent to the vineyards for a hard day’s work meant to teach him a lesson. He remembered those days with this charming non-vintage blend of syrah, grenache, mourvedre, zinfandel, and petite sirah. Thanks to its wide distribution and reasonable prcing, this is a wine that has helped put Paso Robles on the map.
Brecon Estate 2018 Mourvedre – $64
This wine has a sweet forest fruit character and is velvety smooth. It’s a single-vineyard wine from the award-winning Glenrose Vineyard. It benefited from cold soaking to emphasize its berry notes and mouthfeel. Wine reviewer Jeb Dunnuck gave it 94 points.
Broken Earth 2017 Limited Release Grenache – $29
This is a blend of grenache with a bit of syrah and petite sirah to give the wine a well-rounded mouthfeel and finish. This is a fruit-forward wine with heavy notes of strawberries and dark fruits. It is a great value in this category.
Bushong 2018 Same Deep Water As You – $45
Not a traditional Rhone-style wine, with a base of 50-percent tempranillo, it’s peppery. The 33-percent grenache, and 17-percent syrah smooths it out, and make for the reason I added it to this category. Taste flavors of cocoa nib, red cherry, and white pepper.
Cass Rockin’ One Red – $49
A delightful Rhone-style blend of mourvedre, grenache, and syrah, with a bit of petite sirah added. On the nose, it offers smokey blueberry, plum, blackberry, and clove. It delivers flavors of plum, boysenberry, and a hint of white pepper. “The Rockin’s are perfect for holiday dinners,” says winemaker Sterling Kragten. It earned 92 points from Wine Enthusiast.
Four Sisters Ranch 2016 Estate Syrah – $28
Barrel aging in French and Hungarian oak gives this wine notes of plums, with hints of currant. It has a soft earthiness on the palate and a touch of pepper. Pairs well with spicy foods.
Halter Ranch 2018 CDP – $43.75
The 2018 CDP, Côtes de Paso, has aromas of rose petal, olallieberry, and a hint of pie crust. The entry is soft and vibrant, showcasing flavors of raspberry, dark cherry and, a touch of spice. It pairs well with lamb, pork, red meat, and savory foods.
Halter Ranch 2017 Syrah – $42
This purple wine opens with aromas of blueberries, violets, and crème brulée. It is soft and silky. The palate offers complex nuances of baking spices, dark berries and a hint of earthiness. It earned 94 points from Wine Enthusiast and a double gold medal and best of class award from the Central Coast Wine Competition.
Justin 2018 Savant – $50
This syrah and cabernet sauvignon blend is deep purple color. It’s very aromatic with black cherry, berry and blackcurrant, with hints of smoke, cracked pepper, vanilla, and oak. It’s a bold wine that combines ripe fruit with full textures and balances nicely on the palate making it a great pairing for foods like BBQ, Venison, or roasted leg of lamb.
LXV The Spell – $65
A red blend evenly split between syrah and cabernet sauvignon grapes from the Templeton Gap and Ballard Canyon in Santa Ynez. LXV lives up to its reputation, creating another luxurious wine with this one. It’s a perfect balance of red fruits, spiciness, and tannin for structure. It will put a spell on you! LXV offers gorgeous gift boxes with peacock feathers, recipes, and spice packs. The Spell comes with a savory umami spice bag.
McPrice Myers 2018 Beautiful Earth Red – $40
This is winemaker McPrice Myers’ flagship Paso Robles blend, representing the best lots from his favorite Westside vineyards. It includes 64-percent syrah, 12-percent cabernet sauvignon, 12-percent grenache, 6-percent mourvedre, 4-percent petite sirah, and 2-percent clairette blanche. It’s a deep and rich wine with aromas and flavors of marionberry, dark leather, smoked plums, violet and hoisin. It earned 93 points from Wine Enthusiast.
ONX 2017 Crux – $54
A delicious GSM cuvee with a touch of petite sirah. Its well-balanced red blend of 35-percent Mourvedre, 35-percent syrah, 27-percent grenache, and 3-percent petite sirah. It has aromas of cola and cherries. The palate boasts concentrated flavors of raspberries and cranberries that are accompanied by strong acidity and minerality.
Riverstar Vineyards 2016 Affinity – $34
A blend of 41-percent syrah, 41-percent zinfandel, and 18-percent petite sirah. It is dark violet in color, has aromas of boysenberry and licorice. It delivers flavors of blueberries and plum with a hint of vanilla. It has smooth rounded tannins.
Riverstar 2016 Eclipse – $34
A blend of syrah, zinfandel, and petite sirah. It’s dark and rich In color with aromas and flavors of black cherry, blackberries, light vanilla, plum, and a hint of leather. It will pair wonderfully with turkey and all the fixings.
Sea Shell Cellars 2017 Collection – $29
This blend of syrah and grenache is well-rounded with balanced light tannins. It has aromas and flavors of ripe cherries, dried flowers, and lavender notes. It won a gold medal from the San Francisco Chronicle wine competition.
Victor Hugo 2018 Syrah – $26
This wine starts with aromas of rose petals and ripe blueberries with subtle hints of oak. It has supple tannins with a hint of acidity followed by a rich finish. It will pair well with rack of lamb, pork loin, and an array of Mediterranean cuisine. It’s a great value in this category.
See more 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 wines for the holidays
• Best local Rhone-style red wines and red blends for the holidays
• Best cabernet, Bordeaux-style, and red wines in Paso Robles for the holidays
• Best local dessert wines for the holidays
Publisher’s note: For the seventh year in a row we thought it would be a great idea to recommend local wines for the holidays. Once again, we received an amazing amount of participation from our local wineries. Over the last two 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.