Column: Back on the ‘wine road’ again
Paso hospitality has never been more welcoming or exciting
– We’re back on the “wine road” again and making up for lost time. This trip to Paso Robles, which was sandwiched on either side of a trip to Napa, was simply amazing! Tasting rooms were busy, smiles were all around, and the excitement of being safely open was infectious. Spaces are nicely spread around, indoors, and out. This quick trip saw us visit six Paso venues, a few new to us, and several old friends. On your next trip to Paso Robles, be certain to mark these down if you haven’t visited them already.
As most wineries are appointment only, please call first.
Emercy: Emercy is new on the Paso Robles scene, but winemaker Orion Stang certainly is not. Divesting himself from his previous project, Dilecta, Orion has introduced his newest line-up, and it’s a home run. Emercy (his grandmother’s nickname) offers several wines from fruit sourced from some of the Central Coast’s premier vineyards. Located in the Tin City Annex, this is a new winery on the Paso radar that is already making noise. The comfortable, beautifully designed tasting room has a tasting bar and several seating areas. Be certain to check this one out—you won’t be disappointed.
Ulloa Cellars: Ulloa Cellars was another first for me! Nancy Ulloa is a new, young enthusiastic winemaker, specializing in white, single vineyard, single varietal wines. These are probably not the varietals you are accustomed to. It was a treat to taste with Nancy. Currently readying her third release, this will include grüner veltliner, verdejo, and albariño. Having no formal tasting room, all tastings are personally conducted with Nancy, and by appointment only. Email Nancy (Nancy@Ulloacellars.com) to find out how you can taste with her, and experience her wines, and exuberant personality. You’ll be glad you did.
ONX: ONX, located in Tin City, is a blend lovers’ dream. The tasting area is comprised of a spacious, covered patio, as well as an inside tasting room. ONX is known as a blend house, where winemaker Drew Nenow and his team do their magic. You will experience a variety of blends based with Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tempranillo to name a few. This is the place to go to tease your palate and entice your senses. Charcuterie boxes are available to complement your tasting. If you haven’t visited this Tin City location-do so soon, they are open and waiting to welcome you.
L’Aventure: The name says it all. The adventure. And a wine tasting at L’Aventure is just what the name suggests: An adventure, in wine! And what wines! L’Aventure conducts seated tastings on their covered patio, while your tasting host walks you through the day’s pours. With side-by-side glasses, you are able to sip, compare, re-visit and compare some more. Once you taste these wines, you’ll understand why L’Aventure recently was awarded two 100-point scores from reviewer Jeb Dunnuck. Nichole Hegge (tasting room manager) hosted us. Her knowledge of the wines, and her welcoming personality made this a perfect visit. L’Aventure deserves to be on everyone’s “must visit” bucket list!
Paix Sur Terre: Paix Sur Terre’s tasting room is located on Vineyard Drive, overlooking a soothing, pastoral vista. The outdoor tasting area beckons you to come, sit, sip, and stay awhile! The tasting room personnel will professionally serve what is on the current tasting list. And, while you are sipping, Ryan Pease (winemaker/owner) will more than likely be making the rounds to say hello, answer questions, and simply be “that guy” that makes you feel totally at home. If it’s mourvèdre you like, I unabashedly say: Ryan is the king of this grape! And (when you can get it), Ryan’s Ugni Blanc (only 30 acres planted in the entire US) is alone worth a trip. Enjoy sipping and experiencing “peace on earth” at Paix sur Terre.
Copia: First time visitor here. I had heard a lot of great reviews about Copia and its most hospitable owners, Varinder and Anita Sahi. This downtown Paso tasting room has comfortable areas, a back-room, and an elegant tasting lounge. Copia currently sources from some of the Central Coast’s most esteemed vineyards and produces wonderful blends. The tasting areas are nicely spaced and very inviting. Most of the time Varinder or Anita will be present. Also, depending on circumstances, vineyard tours may be available by advance appointment. I certainly was impressed and enjoyed the tasting, which may be accompanied by a well-paired artisanal cheese and charcuterie platter.
Paso Robles wineries and tasting room are definitely open for business and eager to welcome you back. It’s Springtime and the excitement is infectious throughout the Paso Robles wine region. Whether tasting in Tin City (or the Tin City Annex), Downtown, at one of the many exceptional wineries on hills and in valleys, or in a private home, Paso and Paso hospitality has never been more welcoming or exciting. Make your plans now to visit, meet the winemakers, taste, and enjoy Paso in Springtime.
Author Don Sonderling is a freelance writer covering California’s Wine Country lifestyle and culture, from the Central Coast up through the Napa Valley and Sonoma. He may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.