There are so many incredible wineries in the Central Coast but out of all the wineries and vineyards we visited from Paso Robles this trip these three are our must go to wineries. It can be hard to narrow down which ones to go to and if you’re on a limited schedule these are the ones we believe you should visit for atmosphere, wine and experience quality – these were also some of the most picturesque wineries we visited.
This is easily one of the prettiest wineries in Paso Robles. They own the highest point in Paso Robles and the views are absolutely breathtaking. They like to say “You can only go downhill from here” and they mean that both literally and figuratively because their wines are just as outstanding as their views. We did the private hilltop tasting which is their signature wine tasting that was moved outside to accomodate for COVID-19 restrictions. They only do a few of the hilltop tastings a day so make sure you put in your reservation ahead of time because there is no other way to taste there (I mean there is but trust us, you’re not going to want to). For this tasting, you’re driven up their drive and through their walnut groves to get to the hill top and once you reach the top it is 360 degree views of Paso Robles. The hilltop tasting comes with a charcuterie board filled with cheeses, meats, olives, bread and local olive oil each of which are paired with one of their reserve wines. The board also comes with walnuts from their grove – unfortunately for us I’m highly allergic so we didn’t get to try them but we’ve heard they’re amazing!
Let me just start by saying they’re pairing their wines with vivant cheese and you guys…. the best cheese I have ever eaten. The winery paired a coffee crusted lavender cheddar cheese with their 2015 Cabernet/Syrah Blend and my only note was “holy crap”, the pairing – the wine – the cheese, just all of it together and seperate was mind blowingly good. The two wines that stood out the most to us though were their 2015 Ana’s Blend which is a GSM Blend (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre – which Paso Robles is known for this specific blend), it was served slightly chilled and was lightly fruity, super silky and had a nice lingering finish. The other wine to note was their 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, it had a fruity nose and the wine was surprisingly fruit forward for a cab with no tannins.- my note next to this was was “incredible”. We ended up buying a bottle of the Ana’s Blend and Cabernet Sauvignon and we will not be shy about doing a re-order directly from this winery.
This is top of our list – must try from Paso Robles.
Can I just start by saying we went during the fall harvest and as soon as we got out of our car we are hit with the sweet and amazing aromas of the fermentation. Honestly, if heaven were to smell like something I imagine it’s what we smelled walking to DAOU’s tasting room.
Okay so Adelaida (above) loves to boast about having the highest point in Paso Robles (which they do) but DAOU will tell you that they have the highest tasting room. These two neighbors have the best views in town, hands down – no competition. What’s even more special is how incredible the wines are. There wasn’t a single wine at DAOU that we did not love. They started us off with their Grenache Rosé, it was dry yet refreshing with notes of strawberry and one of my favorite rosé wines of the trip. After greeting us in the tasting room with that glass we were seated in one of their wine barrel chairs on the edge of the property. AND YOU GUYS. THE VIEW. It was absolutely breathtaking, 360 degree views of Paso Robles here, just beautiful – such a great way to start our trip. I also want to note that we had our own private area and it was not over crowded at the winery but still busy (they are by reservation as well as part of COVID restrictions). I wish I wrote down our servers name because he was absolutely incredible and deserves a shout out – any questions were welcomed and he gave recommendations for local restaurants and coffee shops pretty much whatever you wanted to know he could tell you. Anyway – going back to the wines. You may recognize the winery name from high end restaurant menu’s – the wine here is fantastic. We really enjoyed the Seventeen Forty Reserve (2018), it was fruit forward, dry and light tannins made up of Cab Franc and Merlot grapes – delicious. Our server went off menu for one of the pours and poured us their “Unbound” which was a spanish / french grape blend with notes of dark berry, it was smooth and silky and every bit of wine that you want.
We decided to have lunch at this winery and I will say super glad we did and that we decided to split it. We ordered the Smoked Chicken Salad and it was massive, like you need two people to eat this big. It was also one of the BEST salads I have ordered anywhere, I’m still dreaming of the fresh ingredients and tender chicken. My only regret was not ordering a glass of their delicious wine to sip on as we ate!
We definitely recommend making this one of your lunch stops while wine tasting in Paso Robles, the views, wines and the food are all to die for!
JUSTIN is one of the big guys in the valley – and for good reason, their wine is INCREDIBLE – and I’m not just saying this because the hubs knows one of the winemakers there. We left there buying an entire case of wine and I still wish we bought more. They have a few different tasting experiences but even with three weeks notice and knowing someone at the winery it was hard for us to get in and decided to do a seated lunch with tasting on a Friday afternoon. We highly recommend booking this winery in advance for your tasting – some of the issue we ran into was it being harvest weekend and it’s just generally busier in Paso Robles that weekend but their food and wine will surely get them sold out often. Again, reservations are recommended here – with COVID restrictions in place most wineries are not taking walk in’s at the moment and honestly the experiences we’ve been having we hope to see it stay that way.
I went with the chocolate pairing tasting and I’m not sure if the chocolate or the wine was the most enjoyable part (jk it’s always the wine but a HUGE shout out to their pastry chef – she is AMAZING). All of the chocolates paired so well with their wines but their strawberry basil chocolate paired with their rosé was out of this world good. Hubs favorite was their cabernet infused truffle paired with the Reserve Isosceles (not going to lie it was a close call for me too). My favorite wine from the tasting was the “Justification” and I ended up ordering a glass of to enjoy with our lunch, I was not making the same mistake I made at DAOU.
We started with their charcuterie board which was incredible – the tomato jelly and their fig jam on it… I’m drooling thinking about it and those weren’t even the best parts of the lunch. We ordered the burger and added the avocado and bacon to it – this was cooked to perfection. I could not and would not change a single thing about this burger it was perfection. We also upgraded our fries to their truffle fries and you guys!!! If we thought the lunch couldn’t get better after the wine, chocolates, cheese board and burger perfection – it did with these fries. This is my top pick for lunch in Paso Robles, I would eat here for every single lunch if we could get the reservations lol!
Okay going back to the wines – like I said they were all incredible and we ended up ordering a case of wine from here. We ordered their Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé, Reserve Cabernet, Reserve Malbec, Justification, Right Angle and Isosceles. I honestly wish we ordered one of everything on their wine menu to take home because we have never been disappointed by one of their wines, it is always a slam dunk enjoyable drink.