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¿Qué Pasa? Paso Robles

by Jon Rusciano

Ever since the first trip to Paso Robles in 2010, my wine travel buddies have held that location as a must-see, at some point in our continuing adventures.   Since we had just completed a major Bordeaux excursion, just over a year ago, the sights were lowered a bit for this year’s event.  Paso Robles was easy to access with a flight to San Jose, California, and a two plus hour drive south on Highway 101.  In tune with most of our recent outings, we decided to secure a rent house from VRBO.com (Paso Robles Vacation Rentals).  The one we found was an incredible property at 443 10th Street, with all the amenities of home, including separate bedrooms and bathrooms for everyone.  It was located walking distance from downtown’s City Park, where most of the tourist oriented upscale restaurants are facing, and an easy drive down Spring Street, ramping onto 101 South and the quick turn-off to 46 West and wine country.

We arrived around 3:30 pm. on a Wednesday afternoon, after a burger stop at Johnny Rockets in downtown San Jose and a comfortable drive south in our rented minivan.  The weather was cool and clear, offering lovely desert vistas of the mountain ranges on both sides of the highway.  An exit for 16th Street was taken, and in a few minutes we had arrived.  We toted our luggage inside, claimed our bedrooms and headed to Turley Wine Cellars, where two nice bottles of red Zinfandel (2012 Pesenti and Ueberroth vineyard labels) awaited our purchase for the pre-reserved dinner spot, Villa Creek Winery’s downtown restaurant.  Although the tasting room was opened, we opted just to acquire the wine, promising the staff our return over the next few days during our touring.

Then it was back to Paso and its new retail business district on the eastern side of the freeway, for morning supplies, snacks and a few local bottles for sipping while we hung around at the house.  By dark we were unpacking and preparing for dining that evening.  On my last visit, Villa Creek Restaurant was in existence, but I had not been able to acquire reservations in a timely enough fashion.  So, this was the only one I made in advance, opting to let the guys ask around and find places of interest for the rest of the trip.  Turned out, our server there that evening was most helpful with recommendations, especially a great breakfast spot called Joe’s Place on 3rd Street and Spring.

Dining was delightful and the two Zins went down smoothly.  Ueberroth’s namesake vintage was the most worthy expression of the two.  Pesenti was lighter in fruit, with a caramelized fig nose.  The Ueber was a bold expression on the taste buds and without doubt the best Zin that we tasted from this region the entire trip.

By the time we arrived at our Paso home, the excitement, early awakening for the morning’s flight, the two hour time-zone extension of the day and the high dose of alcohol (common to most Zins) had taken their toll.  We were “whipped puppies,” ready for bed.  Coffee was pre-prepared for the morning’s early start, then we were down and out.

The trip would prove memorable, as much for the wines experienced as the great times shared between friends. The next three days of touring and tasting will be chronicled in three forthcoming articles, posted at the discretion of “the boss,” lovely Ms. Sally.



Vacation Rentals by Owner



Paso Robles Vacation Rentals



Johnny Rockets



Turley Wine Cellars



Villa Creek Restaurant



Joe’s Place

(no website available)



Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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