Best red Rhone-style wines 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. 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 2016 Mouvedre – $65
This mourvedre is one of Hope’s most sought after wines. It’s a small production wine with a deep ruby core and garnet rim. Aromas of dried cranberry and blueberry blend with herbal notes of sage, clove and green tea. On the palate, a slight splash of fresh blueberry quickly evolves to more meaty rich full-bodied flavors of smoke, stewed black fruit and hints of cocoa. The bold firm tannins are balanced by acidity that complete this wine beautifully. It’s from winegrapes grown in the Templeton Gap of the Paso Robles AVA.
Bovino 2015 Estate Grenache – $36
This wine is chock full of red fruit flavors with white pepper and a subtle spicy back end. It’s delicious with most any dish – a very versatile wine that you can take to any holiday celebration and it will be well received.
Bushong 2016 Power Corruption & Lies – $43
A deep, rich blend of 50% syrah, 33% petite sirah, and 17% grenache. The syrah was grown in the Templeton Gap AVA. It was aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 1/3 new oak. It has a nose of black cherry with cocoa and holiday spices. It’s full-bodied with smooth tannins This wine lends itself to be the sophisticated red wine at the holiday table.
Brecon Estate 2017 Forty Two – $60
This Rhone-style red blend is soft, velvety smooth, and has an intriguing mix of both forest fruit aromas and flavors as well as. “42” is the answer to the “ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything,” according to Douglas Adams’s novel, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This wine was honored in Wine Enthusiast magazine’s Best of 2019.
Brecon Estate 2017 Grenache – $47
This delightful wine starts with the classic strawberry and raspberry aromatics, but like all grenache, deep down, it has a serious side too. There is a richness in the mid-palate with a sweet fruit character even though technically dry. It’s an unexpected intensity of flavor. It earned 90 points from Wine Enthusiast magazine.
Circle B 2017 Grenache – $34
This wine offers smooth red berries with a great nose and floral first sip followed by a balance of acidity and fruit. Bacon fat and cedar notes resonate throughout the wine. It earned a bronze medal at the Central Coast Wine Competition.
Grey Wolf Winery 2017 Soul Mate Red – $50
Grenache is the soul of this union with mourvèdre and syrah. This blend has concentrated aromas of raspberries, pomegranate molasses, and white chocolate covered cherries. Elegant, well-structured and balanced by floral and herbal notes of dried rose petals and purple basil. With soft, velvety tannins this wine will get richer as it ages. Drink now or over the next 5-7 years.
Lusso Della Terra 2017 Grenache – $25
This reserve grenache is perfumed with notes of bright red fruit intertwined with subtle white pepper. The palate explodes with raspberry, blueberry, and spice. It is rich, with refined tannins and a juicy finish. It’s also a great value!
Michael Gill Cellars 2017 Counoise – $48
This fresh Rhone varietal has a bright ruby-garnet color, fruity aromas, and flavors of raspberry, huckleberry jam, honeyed fig, with a soft, dryish medium-full bodied slate finish with earthy, cottony tannins and no oak. It’s a juicy, refreshing lighter-styled red with bright flavors and acidity. This wine earned a double gold medal at the Central Coast Wine Competition, among many other honors.
Midnight Cellars 2015 Grenache ‘Moonbeam’ – $49
This grenache displays beautiful layers of toasted sweet tobacco, blackberries, and currant on the nose. Rich and luscious flavors of fresh black fruit and dark chocolate burst on the palate with hints of clove and vanilla that complement the medium tannin finish.
Opolo 2017 Maestro – $34
A well-balanced red blend of 50% syrah, 25% counoise, 17% grenache, and 8% petite syrah. This wine jumps from the glass with fresh dark wild berries, fresh-cut herbs, and a hint of maple. Layered with cinnamon, cloves, and well-integrated tannins. It was made to drink now. Pair with a roasted beet salad topped with goat cheese.
Ranchero Cellars 2018 Grenache – $36 This grapes for this wine were dry-farmed at Green Acres Vineyard in the Adelaida District AVA. This grenache from winemaker Amy Butler shows dense fruit with a deep ruby red color. Rhubarb, raspberry, and currant are bountiful on the nose, with a hint of brandied cherry. A short stint in 20% new French oak provides an elegant backdrop for the fruit and accentuates the earthy complexity. The young grenache tannins are definitely present and grippy and they add to the delightful freshness of this wine.
Sea Shell Cellars 2016 Reserve Syrah – $40
This 100% syrah is filled with the varietals classic character, displaying hints of dark fruits, fresh-ground peppercorns. and savory bacon fat. The palate is long and elegant while maintaining freshness. It earned a gold medal at the Central Coast Wine Competition.
Seven Angels Cellars 2015 Chosen One – $38
A delicious new world GSM Rhone-style blend. It has a pleasant ruby color. It delivers aromas and flavors of raspberry and softwood with a hint of vanilla and oak. This wine earned a gold medal at the Central Coast Wine Competition
Seven Angels Cellars 2015 Syrah – $36
This wine has a dark hue of inky violet with notes of blueberry and spice on the nose. It’s a big-bodied wine, as syrahs should be, with juicy fruit, smooth tannins and hints of vanilla and licorice. It will pair well with red meats and Italian food.
Tablas Creek 2016 Esprit de Tablas – $60
This is a blend of four estate-grown varietals grown from cuttings from the Château de Beaucastel estate in France. The wine is based on the dark red fruit, earth, spice and mid-palate richness of mourvèdre, with additions of grenache for forward fruit, approachability and lushness, syrah for mineral, aromatics, and back-palate tannins, and counoise for spice and acidity. It earned 94 points from Wine Spectator, among many other accolades.
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. Will pair wonderfully with turkey and all the fixinings.
Victor Hugo 2017 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.
Vina Robles 2016 Terra Bella Syrah – $58
This wine was made from grapes grown in the Terra Bella Vineyard, located in the Adelaida District AVA, with high altitude, sloping southwest-facing terrain, rocky limestone soils, and a long growing season with a marine influence from the Pacific Ocean, just 17 miles away. The fruit was hand-picked in the cool early hours and sorted before being crushed into small lots for fermentation, followed by aging in select tight grain French oak barrels. These attributes produced an age-worthy syrah that offers concentration without sacrificing balance or structure.
Look for 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 pinot noir wines for the holidays
• Best local zinfandel and Italian-style wines for the holidays
• 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 sixth 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.