This past weekend was Harvest Weekend in Paso Robles, an event celebrating the vineyards’ fruits of their labor. Unfortunately, I could not attend this year’s event in person, so I came up with an alternative to fill my Paso wine void: search out Paso wines I can find locally to enjoy at home. In this post I'll go over the wines I found at Pavilions, Total Wine and Trader Joe's, which are sure to tie you over until your next Paso trip.
Pavilions - Newport Beach
Pavilions had a wide range of Paso wines, between varietal and price point, and was the only retailer of the three that has Paso canned wine and rosé. Most of these wines can also be found at their sister stores, Vons and Albertsons. Having their Club Card will typically provide an instant savings off the shelf price, plus if you buy six bottles or more, you can save an additional 10% off your wine! Together, the savings can really add up. As much as I wanted to purchase all the bottles they had to offer, I kept it to the four pictured. I’ll save the others for future visits.
If you've never tried canned wine or are a skeptic of this new trend, Alloy Wine Works Everyday Rosé is a canned wine you must try. Alloy Wine Works is located in Tin City, an area full of small production tasting rooms. The nose was very light and refreshing and had elements of peach and strawberries. The palate had a little grapefruit and strawberries and continued with peach. I must admit that I took these tasting notes while drinking from a wine glass, so the aromatics may be different than if drank directly from the can. Regularly priced at $7.99, you get half a bottle of wine per can, which is a great deal if you want something convenient, out by the pool or simply don't want to open a whole bottle of wine for the evening.
Ancient Peaks Winery is located in Santa Margarita, which is about 20 miles south of Paso. It is the southern-most vineyard in the Paso Robles region and is the only vineyard in the Santa Margarita Ranch AVA. Their Sauvignon Blanc had a sweeter nose with elements of white peach, guava, pear and ample honeydew. The palate continues with honeydew and mild citrus, with a mouth full of honey, which carries through the finish. A great and affordable bottle of Sauv Blanc at $17.49 before club discount. I enjoyed this served chilled on my patio the other evening, it was the perfect way to end an unseasonably warm day.
On to some bolder reds, my favorite. Tobin James is located off 46 East in Paso Robles and is known for their wines being "Paso Robles in a glass!" Their 2016 Midnight Magic Petite Sirah had a nose full of blueberry, cherry, smoke, oak, chocolate and what I would best describe as “barrel smell.” The palate was heavier on the dark and red fruits like blueberry, cherry and blackberry, yet the tannins dry the mouth at the end and leave you with an earthy, smoky finish. This would be a great wine to bring to a BBQ with friends, and with a price point under $30, it will be sure to win over your friends without breaking the bank.
The last wine from my Pavilions shopping trip is the DAOU Soul of the Lion. DAOU is located in the Adelaida AVA on the west side of Paso, offering not only delicious wine and food, but stunning views sitting at an elevation of 2,200 feet. Soul of the Lion was like velvet in a glass and smelled heavenly! Plums, flowers and a little oak were found on the nose. The palate was quite complex with vanilla, spice and licorice, while also carrying some dark cherry. This wine is ready to drink now or could be aged since it has great tannin structure. As delicious as this wine is, you'll have to save your allowance for this bottle. Retailing at $178.99 per bottle, $129.99 with club card, this is definitely a wine to be enjoyed for a special occasion with loved ones.
Total Wine - Newport Beach
My next stop was to Total Wine. I visited one of their newest locations in Newport Beach. They also have locations all across the United States. They had an ample selection of Paso red wines to choose from, especially Cabernet Sauvignon, but not many whites and rosé. A perk is the eligibility to mix and match 6 or more bottles of certain wines for a discount.
Austin Hope is a part of Hope Family Wines and is located not far off Highway 46 West. Total Wine had other Hope Family Wines available for purchase but I decided to choose the one that was new to me. The Harvester Cabernet Sauvignon had a nose full of cherry and baking spices. The cherry and spices continued on the palate along with some woodiness. Each sip had a long finish which I enjoyed. I wouldn't say this was an extremely oaky Cab and was more fruit forward. At a little under $20, this wine is a great way to try out the Hope Family Wines at an affordable price.
Eberle is one of the few places in Paso that has a wine cave you can tour. They are located off Highway 46 East, and situated at the entrance to their tasting room is their iconic boar statue. Their 2017 Chardonnay had oak, vanilla and some butter on the nose. The palate had light citrus notes like lemon, followed by pineapple and oak. The finish on this wine was long and lasting. If an oaky, buttery Chardonnay is your jam, give this one a try for about $20.
Trader Joe's - Costa Mesa
Of the three stores I visited, Trader Joe’s had the least amount of Paso wine to choose from. However, after looking more closely, I found some “sneaky” bottles interspersed amongst the shelves. JUSTIN Winery was the most-stocked Paso wine producer in the store, with multiple varietals and price points offered.
Let’s talk about those “sneaky” Paso wines I previously mentioned throughout Trader Joe's. What I mean by “sneaky” is it isn't clearly listed on the front label that the wine is sourced from Paso. Most of their "Coastal" wines are sourced, vinted and bottled by central coast wineries. This particular bottle was vinted and bottled by Castoro Cellars, a winery located near the 101 and 46 West highways. They're known for making "dam fine wines" and this is yet another one! The Coastal Chardonnay had a lot of citrus on the nose along with pineapple, melon and vanilla. The palate had more peach with some pineapple. Overall a very crisp and refreshing wine. If you like your Chards not very oaky or buttery, this is one to add to your shopping cart, especially at $4.49 a bottle!
Rabble wine is served at a winery called Tooth and Nail, located off Highway 46 West. You can't miss their property as they have a beautiful castle for a tasting room. The Force of Nature Cabernet Sauvignon had a very fruity nose. Frankly, if I were to have had this wine in a blind tasting, I would have toyed with it being a Zinfandel. The palate was full of red and black fruits like cherry, raspberry and blackberry. If you prefer your reds without a lot of oaky flavor, this is the wine for you. At $16.99, it will be the perfect bottle to pop open after a long day and enjoy.
Far on the west side of Paso is JUSTIN Winery, a stunning property that has not only great wine but also food and lodging. As I mentioned above, Trader Joe's had a great selection of JUSTIN wines. The JUSTIFICATION was the most expensive of the bottles they had to offer from this producer. The 2015 blend is comprised of 52% Cabernet Franc and 48% Merlot. The nose on this wine was full of oak, tobacco, blackberry and cherry. The palate continued with the tobacco and oak and finished nicely with cherry. At $50.99 per bottle, I would recommend this as a special occasion wine or as a fun weekend treat, because sometimes we just need to treat ourselves!
In conclusion, my Paso Harvest Weekend alternate was a success. After visiting three stores, I was able to find a wide selection of price points, ranging from $4.49 to $178.99, with each location offering multiple bottles at about a $20 price point. Pavilions had the widest selection of varietals and was the only location to have Paso canned wine and a rosé. Pavilions is exclusive to California; however, they have two sister stores, Vons and Albertsons. Vons can be found in California and Southern Nevada, and Albertsons across the country. Both Trader Joe's and Total Wine can be found throughout the United States. I am unsure how well-stocked Paso wines are in the Central and East Coast states, but hopefully they are being well represented. Anyone living outside of California, I'd love to hear if Paso wine can be found locally in your grocery stores or wine shops. My hope is that you can enjoy them now at home and get inspired to plan a trip to Paso Robles! Cheers!