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Top local Rhône-style wines for the holidays 

best rhone wines in paso robles, ca
Of all the wines we are recommending in this series, Rhône-style varieties are perhaps the best suited to holiday meals. Their often lighter, smooth, and well-balanced character is well-suited to a big Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey dinner with all the fixings. Paso Robles winemakers have recently been producing some of the best Rhône-style wines outside of France. So with that bias, I had to extend the list a bit because there are so many good Rhônes to recommend.

Best Rhône-style wines for the holidays

Austin Hope 2012 Grenache – $42
This grenache is a delightful medium-bodied wine with sweet aromas of cranberry and plum leading in to flavors of ripe cherry and berries. It has an excellent finish with touches of black pepper.

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LXV 2012 Rising Tempo

Clavo Cellars 2010 Syrah Reckless Moment – $25
This bold and delicious syrah is deeply hued with the scent of blackberries on the nose. It delivers superb fruit flavors and a smooth finish.

Ecluse 2012 Rendition – $38
This traditional GSM (grenache, syrah, mourvedre) is medium-bodied and packed with fruit flavors. It has aromas of dark berries and spice, a palate that adds plum and hints of nutmeg, and a balanced finish.

Estrella Creek 2008 Moondancer – $27
This is a rugged blend of 67-percent syrah and 33-percent grenache. It has bold black cherry flavors with a peppery nose. It will pair nicely with red meat.

LXV 2012 Rising Tempo – $42
This is winemaker Amy Butler’s spin on the traditional GSM. It’s 65-percent grenache, 23-percent syrah and 12-percent tempranillo. The three varieties blend well together for a robust, yet fruity wine with cherry and plum flavors.

McPrice Myers 2011 Atlas Viñas – $42
This wine is everything I love in a GSM. It’s full-bodied, fruit-forward with a plush mouthfeel and superb finish. It’s 36-percent mourvedre, 32-percent grenache, and 32-percent syrah. Half of the lot was fermented with whole clusters, giving it the perfect punch. It was one of the best wines we tasted for this series.

Pear Valley 2010 Grenache – $16
This vintage is 90-percent grenache and 10-percent aglianico, which gives this light wine a hint of spiciness. This is a refreshing wine with bright acidity. It has a juicy flavor of raspberry and strawberry. It will pair well with lighter dishes and appetizers.

Pipestone Vineyards 2011 Grenache Noir – $32
This varietal is usually used as a blending grape to add a darker character to wines, but the winemaker thought he’d bottle a few barrels to taste it on its own. It has an earthy quality with tart cherry and dark plum flavors.

Robert Hall 2013 Cuvée de Robles – $20
This Rhône-style blend is made from 38-percent grenache, 24-percent cinsaut, 21-percent syrah and 17-percent petit syrah. It has aromas of fresh cherries with hints of spice. It’s a bold, full-bodied, vintage that delivers berry flavors and a spicy finish.

Venteux 2010 Grenache – $34
This medium-weight grenache is a blend of westside vineyards. It has great texture, a creamy nose and flavors of strawberry and spice. It has great holiday meal appeal.

Vines on the Marycrest 2011 Heart of Glass – $34
This classic Rhône-style GSM is a blend of 60-percent grenache, 20-percent syrah, and 20-percent mourvedre. This vintage opens with bright aromas of red fruit with a hint of cedar, it delivers flavors of berries and cocoa that leads into a nice finish.

Best Paso Robles wines for the holidays


Editors note: I thought it would be a great idea to recommend local wines for upcoming holiday parties and dinners, but I had no idea how much participation we would receive from wineries. Over the last week we received about 100 entries. I was originally planning a list of 10 or so of the best wines, but after tasting and tasting and tasting, there were just too many solid, well-made wines to recommend. So we decided to break up the list of top local wines into categories. The recommended wines are in alphabetical order.

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.