Nothing but blue skies, radiant sunshine, and splendid wine; another perfect day in Paso Robles wine country. Beautifully located in the central coast of California, this region is an easy and scenic drive from almost anywhere in the Golden State.
Here are two of the producers that I had the pleasure of visiting…
If I had to choose a winery to recommend for all levels of wine experience, it would be this one. This boutique winery conducts its tastings in a barrel aging room, allowing visitors to have a better insight to the wine environment than most typical tasting rooms provide. Towards the end, visitors are also given two different barrel tastings; both containing the same wine, demonstrating just how different the outcome of two different types of barrels can be.
The owner of Ecluse Wines, Steven Lock, is an utter joy to talk to. It was a pleasure to meet a winemaker who has come so far in the industry, but didn’t resist a chance to talk wine with me. Between the long list of exceptional wines and chatting with Steven, our visit to Ecluse went from minutes to a couple of hours without us even realizing it. That is the true sign of a great winery experience.
My Top Wine Choice: 2006 Ecluse “Rendition”
Not for the faint at heart, this powerful Rhone-style blend is 59% Syrah, 22% Grenache, 13% Mourvèdre. The complexity of this wine is beautifully well-rounded by its flavors of black cherry, blackberry, savory meat, tobacco, and black pepper. This outstanding wine has the finesse and length to be enjoyed for years to come.
Our visit to Penman Springs is something I will not soon forget. The very moment we walked in, we were joyfully greeted by two extremely bubbly ladies; one of which being owner Beth McCasland. With so much energy and enthusiasm in the room, it almost felt like we were at a local comedy club. In addition to some vibrant personalities, the winery also offered cupcakes, delicious homemade brownies, and bread with olive oil to treat ourselves to as we tasted.
The staff was so passionate about every wine that we tasted; it truly gave each wine its own story. I could easily sense how much pleasure the staff took with each sip of Penman Springs that we experienced. There are those who pour your tasting, walk away, and return to see if you are interested in making a purchase. At Penman, they pour your wine and then stay in front of you to join in your experience. Wineries as passionate as this are real treasures in the wine world.
Top Wine Choice: Penman Springs 2008 “Trembler Deux”
“Sugar and spice and everything nice”- this absolutely superb wine is a delightful blend of Petite Sirah, Petite Verdot, and Brandy. The palate presents a vibrant mix of blackberry and blackcurrant jam, nutmeg, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa. The sweetness of this dessert wine is perfectly matched by its impressive elegance.