Riverbench Pinot

While most of my travel posts in the distant past have almost always been in chronological form, I decided to be random with the latest trip. Usually, I’m at least a little structured, but I thought that random would be more fun.

In early 2018, a group of us went to Paso Robles for an extended weekend of fun and tasting, and it worked! A year later, I went alone to learn and write about areas in Paso that I had not yet explored. And I did. Mostly. However, as is usual for me, I slept more than I explored. Paso does that to me. The nights are so much cooler than in Vegas that it knocks me out every single time. Especially in the summer.

And then real life happened, and of course, 2020. And 2021. And then the f**k-it. We’re going moment.

So away we went.

Talk about a Zen escape!

Wineries in Santa Maria Valley. Click to expand in a new tab.

First, I want to point out that our first late morning/afternoon tastings were in the Santa Maria Valley AVA, which is in the greater Santa Barbara County AVA. That’s separate from the Paso Robles AVA, which is in San Luis Obispo County AVA. They are both a part of the greater Central Coast AVA (I know, I know. It’s confusing as hell). I get it. And we haven’t even talked about the northern regions yet.

But I digress.

We left Vegas at 4:30 am and arrived at the Foxen Vineyard & Winery. We sat outside on the grounds of the Pinot tasting room, as the “Shack” (Rhone varietals) isn’t open. It had been, but because of “Delta,” it was temporarily closed again. Dammit.

Our server was CeCe, and she served us the beautiful Foxen wines. Debbie chose the Rhône and Burgundian flight, and I went (unsurprisingly) with the Pinot flight.

After leaving Foxen with our credit cards whimpering a bit, we next stopped at Riverbench. Riverbench, by the way, is stunning. There’s a home on the grounds that’s circa the early 1900s with wooden floors, large, spacious windows, and quarter-sawn oak cabinets (I’m an HGTV geek). The backyard tasting area is resplendent in flowers, and the grounds are beautiful.

I wanted to stop there because even though it had been years since I visited, I always had a thing for their Pinot Noir Rosé, and they didn’t disappoint. Kacie, our pourer, shared some of the best. While I had intended to purchase the Rosé, I walked away with a few extra of other stuff. And I’ll leave it at that.

 

Our final winery stop for the day was Laetitia Vineyard & Winery. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the name of our pourer. I think that fatigue had started to seep in, and we were pretty exhausted. That meant that we had time to unwind, enjoy (and purchase) the wines, and relax in the beautiful grounds of Laetitia. They make excellent sparkling wine, and if I recall correctly, we had at least a case which we split.

Or something like that.

And we finished up in Pismo Beach (PISMO BEACH!!!!) at the Cracked Crab. I was jonesing for seafood – after all, we were by the beach! – and ended up having a beautiful meal. After dinner, we finally headed to Paso. It was dark, and we had a minor issue finding the house, but once there, we unloaded our suitcases and bags and boxes of wine. As usual for me, I hit the sack pretty quickly and slept soundly.

Next post: Let’s do Paso Robles!

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I was doing a shoot in a wine store - was I in heaven or what - and had (thanks to warpaint) cleaned up well. I love wine and my town, and I hope it shows on this website. Thanks for stopping by!

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