paso robles, march 2012

rolling hills outside graveyard winery
rolling hills outside graveyard winery

2 weekends ago, i took a weekend trip to paso robles, driving up with 1 girlfriend and meeting the other at our half-way point from her new digs in san francisco. we’re all wine-lovers and we take our wine tasting semi-seriously, in that we will go the extra mile to taste whatever we can, though we’ll informally chat and joke throughout the entire thing. i’d say it’s a professional attitude, though only insomuch as we’re there at opening and closing and treat it as our job to take every advantage of being in wine country. we’re committed: a comment about our dedication and sanity.

wisteria & bees at beckmen vineyards
wisteria & bees at beckmen vineyards

kari and i started out by tasting our way through santa ynez and santa maria, including our first visit to roblar winery, a repeat visit to beckmen and a spin through los olivos for lunch and an obligatory visit to global gardens, purveyors of exquisite olive and nut oils, among other condiments and preserves. we continued up foxen canyon road to try out kohler, foxen, and cambria on our way back to the 101. it’s so nice to have the freedom to continue north rather than speculate about when to turn back towards home.

goats at kenneth volk / lone madrone
goats at kenneth volk / lone madrone

the leslie-heather-kari triumvirate started their saturday on highway 46. i can’t even remember all the places we visited, but zenaida cellars, kenneth volk, lone madrone, cypher, peachy canyon were all part of the journey. how do we taste all that wine? we often split tastings so we can taste more and drink less [we are not spitters, apologies to the real professionals]. the property of kenneth volk and lone madrone had pens with animals out front, including these cute little goats, as well as some chickens and rabbits. i love visiting all the cute animals.

graveyard winery cemetery
graveyard winery cemetery

on our departing day, kari and i made the most of our tasting possiblities and decided to explore a part of paso we’ve never been to, up estrella road to the north. we found the fantastic and hidden graveyard winery, which has an actual cemetery of a few families with fascinating and endearing headstones. their wines were delicious and alive, and the owners who did the pouring and hospitality were wonderful to talk to. we found the landscape breathtaking [the top photo is right outside their tasting room], and noticed a wood pile for the fireplace, containing chopped logs and twisty dry trimmed grape vines. i decided to take a few small pieces to see how they smoke up on the barbecue.

silver horse winery
silver horse winery

we continued up to silver horse, which is host to tasting for a few wineries. the long-predicted rain for the weekend rolled in as we watched through giant picture-windows. the other patrons of this tasting room were chatty and made it a really nice end to our weekend. eventually though, we had to get back on the road and get home. timing worked it out so we could have dinner at the madonna inn, which was a fun time adorned in pink & copper.

overall i was really impressed with all the exciting white wines i tasted. i picked up some varietals and some blends, all of them really zingy and floral. i also bought more dessert wines than usual, because the late harvests have really grown on me [or maybe i was encouraged by kari, who is a big fan]. i did get 2 red wines, despite my voracious foray into loving white wine of late, an absolutely delicious syrah from beckmen, and this really bright, floral, stainless-steel-fermented zinfandel from lone madrone called zin of steel, which led to lots of devo singing.

for now, the wine is in the wine fridge. i’m afraid to dig into it, but will soon enough. so exciting!

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