Wine is an important element in our lives. Both as an ingredient and for wonderful pairings.
As a chef in the San Francisco area, I've made many trips to northern California's Napa and Sonoma Valley.. Even when I was working in Mexico, we discovered the wine regions in the northern Baja region, Valle Guadalupe. Travel and wine have blended together for us.
Now we live on California's beautiful Central Coast and Paso Robles wine country.
One of the things that really strikes me about Paso is that there are so many small production wineries. It really reminds me of Napa and Sonoma about 35 years ago. Mom and Pop wineries exist. Paso Robles has uniquely different character in comparison to other regions. Paso’s east side climate make it's Bordeaux varietals more fruit forward and carry their tannins behind that fruit. During the summer in Paso the temperatures run warmer than Napa and cooler in the evenings. Paso's west side's climate is akin to the Rhone region of France and the soils are more calcareous than on the east side, making the west side an outstanding area for world class Rhone varietals and blends.
One of the wineries that just about everyone knows from Paso Robles is J. Lohr. Check out the Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon, Tower Road Petit Syrah or fantastic Cuvee series of Bordeaux style blends! Also be sure to try the Gesture Series wines, the Rhone varietals!J Lohr Winery
Dover Canyon has long been one of our favorite boutique wineries in Paso. Excellent zinfandels and Rhone blends! Be sure to try their Barbarian blend and Cujo Zinfandel!
I first met Stillman many years ago at my restaurant in San Francisco when he was making Jory wines. I loved his chardonnay and pinot noir. Stillman now has his Red Zeppelin and Stillman label Wines. Stillman’s wines syrah have been winning some major awards and his Black Zeppelin Meritage Blend won 94 points and best blended red wine, central coast. You can Stillman and his wines online.www.redzeppelinwinery.com
If you are in the area and looking for a party, go in and check out this tasting room. It is the "wild west saloon meets tasting. Great fun. Some are big and huge. Check out the James Gang Reserves.www.tobinjames.com
Another excellent boutique winery, Brochelle's zinfandel is amazing. Intense and big, this is a Zin you will remember. Brochelle also produces small lot syrah and a very nice chardonnay. Stop by and tell them Randy sent you!Brochelle Winery
Honig Winery is a small family owned winery that makes one of my all time favorite Sauvignon Blanc wines. They also make an outstanding cabernet sauvignon. In the big commercial Napa valley this small winery is as refreshing as their Sauvignon BlancHonig Winery