Best red Rhone-style wines in Paso Robles for the holidays in 2021
–Of all the wines we are recommending in this series, 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 our 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.
Top local Rhone-style red wine recommendations
Austin Hope Syrah – $55
On the nose, aromas of spice and dark fruit are displayed. On the palate, it delivers flavors of ripe black cherry, cassis, and hints of smoke that are well integrated and robust. On the finish, youthful gripping tannins are perfectly balanced by the acid and an oak-driven finish.
Brecon Estate 2019 Mourvedre – $68
A delicious mourvedre with a kiss of syrah. This wine has a naturally sweet forest fruit character and is velvety smooth. It has complex smoky and earthy notes. Brecon produced 214 cases.
Castoro Cellars 2019 Grenache – $30
This wine was made in the style of Spanish Garnacha with spicy berry flavors and a soft tannin structure. It pairs well with tapas, grilled meats, and pasta dishes. It earned 91 points from Wine Enthusiast and was one of our favorites.
Circle B Vineyard and Cellars 2018 Grenache – $35
This cherry red wine was aged 26 months in neutral French oak. It is light to medium-bodied with red raspberries and cola flavors.
Dubost 2018 Jacob’s Ladder – $75
This is Dubost’s estate cuvee. It is predominately syrah with malbec, petite verdot, and a touch of grenache. It’s big and bold. Wine Enthusiast magazine gave it 93 points and named it a “Cellar Selection”. We agree.
Dubost 2018 Syrah – $55
A rich syrah with a hint of viognier. “A wine that is definitely different with huge aromatics, a little funk, and a big tasty finish,” is how the winemaker describes it.
Grey 2019 Soul Mate Red – $50
Soul Mate Red is a traditional Rhone-style blend with 45% grenache, 34% syrah, and 23% mourvedre. It has delicious olallieberry, boysenberry, and raspberry aromas and flavors, with subtle undertones of black licorice and notes of vanilla and cardamom.
Loma Seca Vineyards 2019 Mourvedre – $52
The first sip of this medium-bodied wine reveals a bounty of red fruit, with a hint of earthy mushroom and meat lingering in the background. The tannins are mild, and the wine has a nice crisp acidity. Only 45 cases were produced.
Michael Gill Cellars 2019 Counoise –$68
This bright red garnet color wine has a fresh taste with fruity aromas and flavor of raspberry, huckleberry jam, fig, and macadamia nougat with a soft, lively, medium dried cherry and slate finish. It deservedly won a gold medal at the 2021 Orange County Wine Competition.
Michael Gill Cellars 2012 Black Tie Syrah – $78
An elegant and bold red wine with intense boysenberry-driven flavors with nuances of black pepper, cardamon, vanilla cola, and black licorice. From a vineyard that yields only two bottles for every three vines, this wine won a gold medal in the 2015 Taster’s International Wine Competition and took Best of Show in the Southern California Garagiste Festival. It has aged to perfection and is ready to enjoy.
Midnight Cellars 2018 Grenache Moonbeam – $49
A lighter styled, easy drinking, fruit driven wine with flavors of strawberry, cherry, and bramble. It finishes with balanced acidity. This lovely Rhone varietal has found a new home in Paso Robles where the soil composition is primarily calcareous limestone, similar to the Rhone Valley of France. The limestone helps bring out a chalky minerality in the wine. Only 100 cases have been produced.
Nicora 2019 Bien Nacido Vineyard Syrah – $70
This delicious syrah leads with aromatics of violet flowers and fresh cut leather, with hints of blueberries, blackberries and mocha. The meaty backbone on this wine shouts cool-climate syrah with its black licorice and fresh acidity. Only 245 cases have been produced. It was one of our favorites.
Sea Shell Vineyard and Cellars 2018 Reserve Syrah – $45
This beautifully balanced, medium-bodied wine has delectable tannins, a deep purple color, and notes of blackberries, ground pepper and smoked meats. This is a wine loaded with charm and verve.
Sea Shell Vineyard and Cellars 2018 Sea Shell Collection – $29
This blend of 50% mourvèdre, 37% grenache, and 13% syrah brought home a gold medal from the 2020 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. The wine offers moderately intense notes of black cherries, holiday spices, and peppery herbs in its medium-bodied, charming style. Drink it over the coming three to four years.
Sextant Wines 2018 Passage GMS Blend – $48
This blend of 74% syrah, 21% grenache, and 5% mourvèdre has plum, blueberry, fresh honey, and caramel notes that combine with blackberry, cherry, and vanilla. A juicy mid-palate leads to a smooth tannin structure nicely balanced by bright acidity.
Shadow Run 2017 Untamed
A Rhone-style blend of 60% grenache and 40% petite sirah. It’s a rich full-bodied wine with excellent structure. It delivers aromas and flavors of blackberry and dried apricot.
Shadow Run Redheaded Stepchild – $38
A delicious and rich blend of 67% percent syrah and 33% grenache. It brings flavors of baked cherries, blackberry, and plum. A perfect accompaniment with your holiday meal.
SummerWood Winery 2018 SummerWood GSM – $55
This blend of 76% grenache, 17% syrah, 7% mourvèdre is a wonderful grenache blend filled with aromas of blackberries, pomegranate, and hints of roasted coffee beans. The French oak influence is apparent with the vanilla and toasty oak notes. Pronounced flavors of cherries, blackberries, pomegranate and cola mingle and deliver a long finish with great acidity. Only 253 cases were produced.
Vina Robles 2019 Grenache Terra Bella Vineyard – $46
Vina Robles’ first stand-alone release of grenache is medium-bodied with notes of vanilla and flavors of cherry and pomegranate and a soft juicy finish. Aged for 20 months in American and Hungarian oak barrels.
Vina Robles 2018 Terra Bella Syrah – $58
From fruit hand-picked in the early morning hours from the Terra Bella Vineyard, this opaque garnet colored wine has a dark cherry and raspberry aroma with notes of savory and mocha spice. The nose is followed by full-bodied flavors of dark fruit, a dense, layered palate with a rich, creamy finish.
See more holiday wine recommendations
• Best local sparkling wines
• Best local rosé wines
• Best local white wines
• Best local zinfandel wines
• Best local Rhone-style red wines and red blends
• Best cabernet, Bordeaux-style, and red wines
• Best local dessert wines
Publisher’s note: For the eighth 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.