Sip and savor: a 35-hour road trip to Paso Robles Wine Country
– Situated midway between greater Los Angeles and the Bay area Paso Robles makes a great day trip, with an overnight, being about three and a half hours from either direction. So, when the spirit moves you, get a hotel, make some reservations, and Go wine tasting, that’s what my wife and I did a few weeks ago.
Day #1: Leaving Woodland Hills in mid-morning, we arrived at our 1:30 afternoon appointment ready to sip!
Epoch Estate Winery. Epoch is a must-visit historic property. You will learn some history of Central Coast Winemaking and Wineries (York Mountain Winery, established in 1895 the current tasting room), and the history of Zinfandel grape growing, pioneered by Ignacy Paderewski, Polish-born concert pianist and first prime minister of free Poland following WW1.
Visit and sip in this historic winery, mesmerized by the views, and enjoy the highly-rated wines of Epoch and Jordan Fiorentini. Our tasting included four 2018 estate blends, plus an elegant 2020 York Mountain Viognier. We were also able to try a selection of library wines…from 2012, and you can also. Coming soon Epoch will offer an Elevated Library Tasting, Friday-Sunday at 11, 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. You may also enhance your tasting by ordering an add-on cheese and charcuterie platter.
Please make reservations in advance on the website; you won’t want to miss this opportunity.
Wine, history, and incomparable vistas. Epoch Estate Winery is a “must.” Go if you’ve never been, if you have, you’ll be back.
Epoch Estate Wines, located at 7505 York Mountain Road in Templeton, can be reached at (805) 237-7575. Their website is www.epochwines.com.
Leaving, we checked into our hotel, arriving for our 6 p.m. dinner at Les Petites Canailles (LPC). This Michelin-recommended restaurant is everything you may have read or heard about. Chef (and co-owner) Julien Asseo prepares amazing food. Julien is the son of Stephan Asseo of L’Aventure Winery-and as his father before him was a winemaking trendsetter in Paso Robles, Julien is a groundbreaking culinary chef in Paso Robles. The menu is an ever-changing work of culinary art, as described: “Our menu evolves with the seasons and what surrounds us.”
Although the menu featured an assortment of dishes that instantly got our salivary glands flowing, we ordered the chef’s five-course tasting menu for the table, and what a great idea that was! Able to sample five different creations, the highlight for me was chef’s deconstructed paella and Ora salmon. Omg! If these are ever a main course-go for it! Of course, the hanger steak and pomme frites were scrumptious also. As to wine, you may bring your own, or rely on sommelier Alex Wolfe to help pair the perfect wine, by the bottle or glass, to your dinner.
Choosing from LPC’s Best of Award of Excellence Wine Spectator wine list will please the most discriminating palate. The restaurant is located at 1215 Spring Street in Paso Robles. For more information, visit www.lpcrestaurant.com, or call (805) 296-3754.
Then off to bed to get ready for day number two!
Paso Road Trip, Day #2, then home:
Following a good night’s sleep, we started day #2 of our 35-hour road trip at: Nicora Winery in Tin City. Our tasting was hosted by General Manager Glenn Mitton, but we were also fortunate enough to sit and sip awhile with winemaker Nick Elliott. Having known Nick since his first release, it’s been a wonderful journey to watch and sip with him over the past dozen years. Nick’s first love is Syrah-and maybe it’s because of him that that is my go-to varietal.
On this trip, we were treated to a special tasting of Library Syrah’s, which included his flagship Buxom-vintage 2015! Not yet 10 years old, this was pure gold in a glass and has many years left. Nick is still understated, and somewhat shy with an endearing smile that just welcomes you. Nicora Winery is another of Paso’s destination wineries-one among many.
Reservations are essential, so check the website in advance. The winery’s website is www.nicorawine.com, and it can be reached at (805) 400-0039. The winery’s physical address is 2945 Limestone Way, located in Tin City, Paso Robles.
Leaving Nicora, we arrived at our last stop at 1 p.m. Torrin Wines. We were met by David Newell as we arrived at Scott Hawley’s Torrin tasting room. Scott Hawley is another of Paso’s trendsetting winemakers, having mentored many of Paso’s current winemakers, including Nick Elliott.
Since Scott’s initial 2006 vintage, comprising The Banshee, Akasha, and Maven, Scott Hawley has continued to create magical wines through his Torrin label, and then with the addition of Lagom was able to delve into grapes that expressed a different terroir. Tasting at Torrin is always a wonderful experience in taste and education. When you have the opportunity to chat with Scott, or David, and learn Torrin’s history, you truly understand his wines, which reflect Scott’s personality. On this visit, we tasted the Lagom 2019 Chardonnay-elegant, great mouthfeel, aromatic, and bursting with flavors that remind you of a tropical summer day. The reds, always enticing, are a wonderful surprise year after year. Whether you try the Akasha (syrah), Banshee (the only wine with mourvèdre), or one of the blends-wine sipping at Torrin is always a distinctive event. And, when you have the opportunity to meet and spend a few minutes with Scott, that’s just a super bonus.
Please reserve your tasting in advance.
Torrin Wines is located at 6360 Peachy Canyon Road in Paso Robles, California 93446. The winery’s website is www.torrinwines.com and they can be reached at (805) 227-0107.
Time to head home! Driving home, we stopped for dinner in Santa Barbara before the final leg home, pulling into our driveway at 9 p.m., 35 hours after we left. A quick Paso road trip makes you feel you have been on a longer journey-well fed, well-wined, and most of all, having had a great time with new and old friends. There’s nothing quite like it. Cheers!
Donald Sonderling is a freelance writer covering California’s Wine Roads from Santa Barbara to Napa Valley. He may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.