Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ultimate Paso Robles Boys Weekend

Move over ladies - Paso Robles is becoming the ultimate destination for the "Wine Country Mancation." Once thought of as an exclusive weekend getaway for girlfriends and wives or just the ladies, Paso Robles offers a relaxing destination for the boys to enjoy superbly handcrafted wines, explore the region's prized vineyards and learn firsthand about the winemaking process from famed winemakers.  

Located over 3 hours from Los Angeles and San Francisco, Paso Robles is producing world-class, award-winning wines and serving up some of the finest cuisine in the Central Coast, while maintaining the quaint and charming appeal that is attracting visitors from across California and the country. From the mule deer and wild turkeys on the rural roads of the Westside to the sprawling vineyards of the Eastside, Paso Robles provides the perfect backdrop for a memorable experience of award-winning wines and farm-to-table cuisine.

With recent headlines pronouncing Paso Robles as one the premier grape growing and wine producing regions in the world, wine enthusiasts are trekking to this bucolic town to savor California's Central Coast. Whether its hitting the wine trail, teeing off at Hunter Ranch Golf Course, checking out the Paso Robles Classic Car Weekend show or enjoying a Morrocan braised lamb shank at Villa Creek, Paso Robles is offering everything for the ultimate boys weekend without the Vegas hangover.  Roll the windows down, turn the radio up, and cruise the wine country trail.

Helpful Tips:
(1) Create an itinerary in advance but don't hesitate to deviate from the beaten path
(2) Bring water and snacks; there isn't much out there on the wine trail
(3) Call or email the wineries ahead of time if you have a large group
(4) Arrange for a vineyard tour and barrel sampling
(5) It's a wine tasting - not a wine drinking contest. Use the spittoon

Bud Break, Alta Colina Vineyard, Westside Paso Robles

WHERE TO TASTE

Alta Colina Vineyard & Winery
If you want to start or end your wine tasting trip on a high note, then plan on stopping by Alta Colina Vineyard & Winery on Adelaide Road in Westside Paso Robles. The tasting room is located at Villicana Winery on the second floor above the winery.  The vineyard entrance lies yards west of the winery and offers stunning views of the surrounding hillsides and valleys. Alta Colina produces superbly crafted single-varietal and Rhône blends including Claudia Cuvee, 12 O'Clock High, GSM, Toasted Slope Syrah, Old 900 Syrah and Ann's Petite Sirah.
2725 Adelaide Road, Paso Robles.  (805) 227-4191
Open Thursday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Tasting Fee: $5

Anglim Winery
Located at the historic train depot in Downtown Paso Robles, Anglim Winery pours a range of Rhône, Burgundy and Bordeaux single-varietal and blend wines. The diverse selection of wines are sure to please even the most discriminating palate.
740 Pine Street, Paso Robles.  (805) 227-6813
Open Thursday-Monday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Tasting Fee: $10-$15

Caliza Winery
Caliza Winery is surrounded by some of the most prominent vineyards in Westside Paso Robles - Stephan Vineyards (L'Aventure Winery), Booker Vineyards and Torrin Vineyards. Winemaker Carl Bowker is making a name for himself in the Central Coast with award-winning Rhône varietal wines, including Azimuth and Kissin' Cousins.
2570 Anderson Road, Paso Robles.  (805) 237-1480
Open Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Tasting Fee: $10

Ecluse Wines
Ecluse Wines is one of two Paso Robles wineries that produced the top winning red wine from the 2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.  Located on Kiler Canyon Road close but far enough from Downtown Paso Robles, Ecluse Wines is producing some of the most well-rounded and highly acclaimed Bordeaux and Rhône varietal wines in the region, including the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Improv, Syrah and Rendition.
1520 Kiler Canyon Road, Paso Robles.  (805) 238-4998
Open Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Thacher Winery
Located on scenic Vineyard Drive in the heart of Westside Paso Robles, Thacher Winery shared the 2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Red Sweepstakes award for their 2008 Triumvirate Reserve Zinfandel. Thacher is a great place for the boys to unwind in between wineries while taking in the magnificent landscape.
8355 Vineyard Drive, Paso Robles.  (805) 237-0087
Open Friday-Monday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Tasting Fee: $7

Villa Creek Cellars
If you are looking for a detour from Vineyard Drive or a another route to Downtown Paso Robles, then head east on Peachy Canyon Road toward Villa Creek Cellars. Within a clearing lies the winery and tasting room, which offers a savory selection of Rhône varietal wines from the most acclaimed vineyards in Paso Robles. Favorites includes the Willow Creek Cuvée, Avenger and Mas de Maha.
5995 Peachy Canyon Road, Paso Robles.  (805) 238-7145
Open Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Tasting Fee: $10

Vines on the Marycrest
Vines on the Marycrest is the epitome of a family-owned winery. Victor and Jennifer Abascal produce food-friendly, blended wines at their winery set at the base of their steep estate vineyard. The wines are named for famous Rock and Jazz songs including Summertime, Heart of Glass, Round Midnight, Satin Doll, and My Generation.
5076 Mustard Creek Road, Paso Robles.  (805) 237-0378
Open Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Tasting Fee: $5

WHERE TO EAT

Amsterdam Coffee House
We all need a little caffeine jolt to begin another long journey on the wine trail, especially after an
evening of exquisite food and wine.
725 13th Street, Downtown Paso Robles.  (805) 239-7779
Open Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Farmstand 46
Farmstand 46 offers gourmet sandwiches-on-the-go. Since there are no other eateries on the Westside, it's a good idea to grab a sandwich for the road or drop in between wineries.
3750 Highway 46 W, Templeton (east of Vineyard Dr.)
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Thomas Hill Organics
Owners Joe and Debbie Thomas and Chef Julie Simon are serving up an amazing farm-to-table menu that is constantly evolving and offering the clearest definition of "culinary creationism."
1305 Park Street, Downtown Paso Robles. (805) 226-5888
Hours: Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m to 8 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Villa Creek Restaurant
The Paso Robles in-crowd comes to Villa Creek for great cuisine and fine wines. Locals and out-of-towners assemble at the bar for small bites and libations, while the restaurant serves up tantalizing dishes like the Ahi Tuna Ceviche and Morrocan Braised Lamb Shank. There can be a fair share of eye candy to accompany dessert too.  It is a boys weekend...
1144 Pine Street, Downtown Paso Robles.  (805) 238-3000
Open 7 days a week for dinner, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.  Bar/Tapas open daily at 4 p.m.

Artisan
Artisan is bringing new meaning to Central Coast cuisine and fine dining. It's that damn good! They've got it covered: lunch, brunch and dinner, plus winemaker dinners and Monday Night Suppers. Even the boys should clean up a bit for a nice sit down dinner to savor every dish served up by Executive Chef/Owner, Chris Kobayashi.
1401 Park Street, Downtown Paso Robles.  (805) 237-8084
Lunch, Brunch and Dinner

WHERE TO STAY

Adelaide Inn
1215 Ysabel Avenue, Paso Robles.  (800) 549-PASO (7276)

Paso Robles Inn
1103 Spring Street, Paso Robles.  (800) 676-1713

WHAT TO DO

Hunter Ranch Golf Course
"Small town charm...world class golf." The Hunter Ranch Golf Course is surrounded by oak studded hillsides and vineyards with sweeping vistas. It's going to be hard to keep your eye on the ball with this backdrop. Fore!
4041 Highway 46 East, Paso Robles.  (805) 237-7444

Villa Creek Cellars, Peachy Canyon Rd., Paso Robles
Winemaker Steve Anglim, Anglim Winery
Barrel Sampling with Winemaker Steve Lock, Ecluse Wines
Winemaker Carl Bowker, Caliza Winery
Lunch at Farmstand 46, Templeton
Vines on the Marycrest, Mustard Creek Road, Paso Robles

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