So Many Wines, So Little Time (Paso Robles)

This is my second time in Paso Robles Wine Country. We came out here to visit in 2019, and I really fell in love with the area and especially the wine. I think they produce some of the best wine in California. So of course when our friend Cheryl moved to Morro Bay and started working at a winery in Paso Robles, we were definitely coming out to visit her!

The Paso Robles wine country is about 30 minutes from Morro Bay, and the drive is really pretty, through rolling hills. We picked up lunch in Paso Robles at Red Scooter Deli. I highly recommend this place for picnic lunches at the wineries. They will deliver, but we decided to pick up.

We decided to visit Brecon Estates the first day in Paso Robles, since that is where Cheryl works. She had scheduled time off for our visit, but it really made sense for her to work on the day we planned to visit Brecon Estates. I can see why Cheryl loves working here! It is a very cute, boutique winery that makes amazing wines. We met Damian, the owner/winemaker, who is from Wales. How did a Welsh man end up in Paso Robles making great wine? Well, you should all go out there and visit with him to find out 🙂 We discovered he even spent time in St. Louis before ending up in Paso Robles.

Brecon Estates is named after the Brecon Beacons, which is a series of caves in Wales. And Wales is where Doctor Who is filmed … I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. If you did not know already, you should know that Tim is a HUGE Doctor Who fan, and loves to talk about it whenever he finds a sympathetic ear or a kindred fan 😀 Lucky for us, Damian was both – and they discussed the episodes of Doctor Who filmed at the Brecon Beacons, as well as the delicious wine made at the winery.

It was so great meeting Cheryl’s co-workers as well. Vanessa works alongside Cheryl in the tasting room, and she was super sweet. Tony, the Cellar Master at Brecon Estates, gave us a tour and talked about the winemaking process, from grape to barrel. He is such a nice guy! He even brought all of the ladies working at the winery flowers that day for International Women’s Day! As Cheryl said, his mother raised him right. Needless to say we joined their wine club.

Tim with Roy, Brecon’s Employee of the Year

Our second stop of the day was for an olive oil tasting at Pasolivo Olive Oil, just a hop, skip, and a jump from Brecon Estates. Lots of flavored olive oils and vinegars to taste and purchase – if you are tired of tasting wine this is a good stop to make.

On to the the last stop of the day, which was Dilécta Wines – another “in the neighborhood” winery to Brecon Estates. It was a beautiful day, and we sat outside on the patio and really just soaked up how lucky we were to be in Paso Robles. Oh, and the wine is really good too!

We headed back to Morro Bay and ate dinner that night at Harbor Hut. Friendly service and good food!

The next day (Wednesday), Cheryl and Ed both took the day off of work, so the four of us ventured back to Paso Robles. Since Cheryl was driving she took the “short cut”, which is really curvy! Our first stop was at Daou Vineyards. This place is just “WOW”! The tasting room is situated on top of a hill, with a magnificent view of the vineyards. The wine is really tasty too! Cheryl, being in the “industry”, got the red-carpet treatment. Our server was Austin, a chemistry major/surfer dude, and he had recently visited Cheryl at Brecon Estates. Austin was so interesting! He did a great job taking us through the Dauo line-up, and we really enjoyed our time there. It is just a beautiful setting, and you can’t beat drinking wine and eating cheese for lunch!

We were enjoying our time at Dauo so much that we didn’t realize we were going to be late for our next appointment. Never fear, Cheryl was driving! Or as Tim would say, fear for your life! 😀 Cheryl was clearly used to driving on the windy roads, and I felt very safe with her driving.

Cheryl and Tim talking about the drive from Daou to Clos Soléne

We were about 15 minutes late for our appointment with Clos Solėne, which thankfully ended up being no big deal. I found out later that Clos Solėne, along with Benom and L’Aventure Winery, are affectionately known as the “French Mafia” in Paso Robles. All three wineries are owned and operated by French people, and they are all connected to each other. It is a really interesting story, that I can relate in person (and probably embellish), so just be sure to ask me next time you see me 🙂

But why Paso Robles when you can make great wine in France? The answer is simple – control and creativity. If you are making a Bordeaux in France, there are lots of rules and regulations you must follow, and not deviate from at all. In California, you can experiment with the winemaking process and get creative with your blends.

Our tasting room host was an intern from France, who was learning all of the ins and outs of running a tasting room. She was great! We really loved the wines at Clos Solėne, and joined their wine club.

We still had time to visit one more winery before dinner, and decided to visit Venteux Vineyards. The winery had been recommended to Cheryl by some of her customers, and we can see why. It is a really fun place! They have a lot of room to spread out, and there is a stage on the property for them to host bands – if you check out their website it looks like they have music most Friday nights. Our tasting room host was awesome and a lot of fun. As a bonus we got to meet the winemaker, Toby. He was great, and had been at the winery and in the industry for many years. When he found out where we were going for dinner that night, he gifted us a bottle of wine for us to drink that night. What hospitality!

Our dinner that night was at La Cosecha Bar and Restaurant, a tapas restaurant in Paso Robles. It was so good!!

Our last full day in Morro Bay and Paso Robles was Thursday, and it started off by Tim and I finding out that poor Ed had to go to the Emergency Room the night before, and he and Cheryl got home around 6:30 a.m. Bummer! We let them rest, and Tim and I took off on our own for Booker Wines.

We have been a wine club member at Booker since 2019. They were the first winery that we visited in Paso Robles during our 2019 trip, and their wine really set the bar high for other wineries in the area. Luckily our favorite wine store carries Oublié, as well as My Favorite Neighbor and Harvey & Harriet.

The winery has expanded dramatically over the last couple of years – the tasting room we used back in 2019 is now the tasting room for My Favorite Neighbor. The main tasting room is absolutely gorgeous! It is modern, elegant, and hip – they even have a record player where the customers can play the owner’s vinyl records. Their wine is just amazing, and I highly recommend a visit to this winery when in Paso Robles.

Our next stop was in Tin City. This is another “must visit” for visitors of Paso Robles. Tin City is an industrial area that is home to wineries, breweries, and food. It is like a “one stop shop” to go for wine if you have limited time in Paso Robles. I suggest watching the documentary Tin City before you go – it is eye opening!

Cheryl met us in Tin City at Benom Wines (remember the French Mafia?). Arnaud (Benom) and Guillaume (Clos Solėne) Fabre are brothers, winemakers, farmers, and BFFs. We couldn’t wait to taste the wines here! And they were delicious! If I hadn’t already joined three wine clubs on this trip, I would have definitely joined this one. I didn’t really care, but Tim (the accountant :D) was the voice of restraint. I can’t wait to go back there!

While we were in Tin City we stopped at Etto Pastificio and picked up some lasagna and salad for dinner that night. A nice bottle of wine, a beautiful sunset, and great friends – who could ask for more?

Tim and Jack the Cat

Unfortunately we were leaving the next day. We had accumulated a good amount of wine during our travels, and luckily found a place who would ship it back for us. If you are in Morro Bay, Perry’s Parcel & Gift is the place for your wine shipping needs!

We had a fantastic trip, and can’t wait to come back and discover more wine, but most importantly see our friends Cheryl and Ed ♥️

Published by dtyrrell12014

Recently retired amateur cook, aspiring wino, and novice world traveler.

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