This time of year the hills in California’s Central Coast are extraordinarily beautiful. It’s the vibrant greens before the browns of summer that make it so spectacular to witness.
We started off the morning at Thacher Winery and Vineyard. It has a massive 100 year old barn, stable, gardens and orchards. When Sherman Thacher and his wife purchased the property in 2004 the ranch had no vineyards.
It is a gorgeous site. Guests are encouraged to walk around while tasting, visit the different historic farm buildings, and engage with the animals. Thanks to bumping into Sherman Thacher we got to see the large owl perched in the rafters of the old barn.
The farm animals have dwindled down to a handful of chickens, a horse, one old goat and a very cool cattle dog named Blue.
Thacher is known for producing Rhone varietals with the use of Tuscan amphorae. They make over 19 varietals yet their production is only around 3000 cases and they like it that way.
We were hosted by Drew Mulkern who offered us great notes on each of the wines poured beginning with a foot-stomped rosé. Seems many of Paso Robles artisan wineries have taken up this “foots on” step of production.
Aside from the wines on the tasting menu we tried a 100% Chenin Blanc created from 50 year old ungrafted vines. Quite amazing as was the 2018 Normal Deviation blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Alicante Bouschet.
We would have loved to stay at such a relaxing winery but our schedule pushed us on! Many thanks to Drew!
Calcareous Vineyard is 442 acres that sits on a calcareous rock plateau high above Paso Robles. The views are pretty darn fantastic and the outdoor space to taste is grand.
We combined lunch with a tasting at Calcareous……….
When you’re tasting in the hills outside Paso Robles and want lunch, returning to town is an option but it’s a big detour so picnicking or locating a winery that offers lunch is best. A few wineries have added lunch options. Calcareous is one with a good variety of excellent fare.
Christian Steele poured for us. Of the four on the tasting menu, the 2020 Kate’s Vineyard Zinfandel stood out although I wouldn’t turn down a glass of the 2019 Moose Cabernet Sauvignon!
Sustainable practices are a priority on the site. They are zeroing on controlling water use, solar for electrical power, and even using an all electric Rivian truck for hauling the grapes!
This is definitely a good choice for tasting and lunch with a grand view! Thank you Christian for hosting us.
Law Estate Wines was our final stop for the day. They have 80 acres of vineyards with more than 15 varieties of grapes – Grenache and Syrah being in the majority. This is yet another winery that began with the land and planted the grapes to match the terroir of the site.
The wines were poured in advance to gain some air and to give us the chance for a comparative tasting. We’ve grown to really enjoy a tasting that offers this. The 2019 Audacious, a blend with Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon may have been my favorite.
Our host Savanah Reber, who is from Sandestin Florida where her family owns the restaurant Vintj, was engaging and tremendously knowledgeable of the wines. We totally enjoyed her company.
The wines are delicious and, honestly, tasting in such beautiful architectural surroundings seems to make them even more enjoyable. Here too, you are encouraged to walk around and view the structure and its site while enjoying the wine.
Thank you Savanah!
We headed back into Paso Robles to relax and head out for dinner.
Dinner was at The Hatch just off the square in Paso Robles. The locals love their craft cocktails and fried chicken.