For those of you not from California, Paso Robles is the next in line of the big wine counties here. First on the map was Napa Valley; then came Sonoma County. Now Paso Robles is lifting its head and making itself known after being there and growing grapes for umpety years.
Two weekends ago, my boss let me have a half-day off and I went up to Paso with two girlfriends. We got on the road around 2pm and headed north; not a good thing on a Friday. I don’t remember how long it took us to get to Santa Barbara, but we stopped there for burritos at Freebirds, the local hangout on Isla Vista for all the UCSB kids. And yes, we were SURROUNDED by kids. I haven’t felt that old in years.
The youngling with us powered down a huge burrito while the driver and I, of a similar age and body type, split nachos – which we couldn’t finish. And then we were onward.
It was a bit of an awkward drive for me. I sat in the back seat, thinking I would write on the way (HAH!); what that did was put a sound barrier between me and the front seat gals, especially since I only hear out of one ear now. But we did okay.
We finally hit Atascadero, found our hotel room, and settled in – but just for a moment. We needed provisions. We were still full from our late lunch, but a bottle of wine and some snackies wouldn’t go amiss.
We found a Food 4 Less down the highway a bit. By the time we got a cart and made our way in, we were giggling helplessly over something or other. I don’t remember what, I only remember how delicious it was to giggle a tad uncontrollably. All through the store we were that way – and we hadn’t had a SINGLE sip of wine. Not ONE. Amazing, but true!
Finally provisioned with salami, bread, cheeses, and grapes (not to mention a bottle of Eberle Merlot and Barefoot Cellars Rose Champagne), we headed back to our hotel room, did battle with the ice machine and the ice chest, and finally were able to get into our jammies and have girl talk.
I’m going to skip the girl talk. It was fabulous, it was full of the good stuff, and you’ll just have to use your imagination.
The next day, we hit up seven wineries. SEVEN WINERIES from 10am to 5pm. SEVEN. Hubby and I usually only can manage three, four TOPS before we’re too giddy. So I am definitely proud of our prowess. Of course, it didn’t hurt that our driver preferred sweet white wines, and there weren’t a lot of those to taste.
Briefly, here are my notes from the seven wineries:
Eberle – Really enjoyed the whites, not so the reds. Bought a viognier for the hubby. Nice cave tour, but our tour guide had less personality than a grape. The picture to the left? Eberle is German for swine – hence the statue of the pig out front.
Adelaida – Became a club member. Sigh. 3 bottles, 4 times a year; must be a member for 1 year prior to canceling. Bought four bottles here – a white, a rose, and two reds.
Tablas Creek – We’re here because our youngling wanted to pick up some wine for her dad, but they’re all sold out of the wine she wanted. I bought a present here for my brother, and it’s not wine. We had a picnic out front before we went in – two wineries and we’re feeling like we forgot to eat breakfast (which, since it was free, and filling, we most assuredly DID NOT forget to do).
Jada – Pretty winery. I think we’re on the Old Vineyard Road but I’m not sure. I bought olive oil and a zinfandel vinegar here as much for the bottles as for their contents.
Dover – Great dog! A huge St. Bernard is lolling on the grass out front, and there’s a rope swing. Too, too romantic. Bought a port here for Tom but it’s a huge 750ml bottle. Not what I’m used to.
Terri Hoag! Fell in love with their tasting glasses, and bought 4. Also bought a bottle of wine. Don’t remember what it was. Tasted good though I think. Um…
Ecluse Winery We had just an hour left before tasting rooms started to close down, so we hit up Ecluse, which was just up the road from Terry Hoag. They had Blind Dog Wine – one of the owners’ sons had a guide dog because he was deaf as well as a bit autistic I think (not totally sure). The dog was with the son for so long, that it went blind with age. I not only bought 2 bottles of the Blind Dog Wine without tasting it, but I also got a hat. Because a percentage of the proceeds went to Dogs for the Deaf. I also bought a bottle of something else – not that I remember what at this point…
(Did you notice how the more I tasted wine, the less notes on the wine I actually took? Hilarious!)
Sunday We had a great dinner last night at McPhee’s Grill. I had filet mignon in a bordelaise sauce, and we had wine with dinner…I think it was an Eberle. Not sure. I do know we didn’t finish it.
It’s overcast today – we just had breakfast. Soon we’ll head out to Cypher where I’ll spend far too much, and then on to Harmony.
And so it went… We did make it to Cypher, and I did spend too much money. Then we went to Harmony, where I spent more money. All in all, I shouldn’t buy another bottle of wine for at least 3 months…but since they were all over $10 a bottle, I’ll have to, won’t I, in order to keep up the blog?
In retrospect it was the perfect trip. We laughed ourselves silly, we sipped, we ate, we talked about deep and important things. We snored and cleaned our faces with interesting products and slept in and cursed the bad hotel coffee. We drank wine, and we bonded.
When I asked my hubby if he was sure I should go (because it was just weird, thinking about going to ANY wine country without him), he said of course. I needed time with women, he said. I work with 5 men. I live with 3 men. I need the bonding time.
And he was right. Thanks, Adina and Debbie, for a weekend I’ll never forget. Hugs!