After my “absolutely can’t lose” International Contest Speech at the District 33 Toastmasters International Annual Conference actually lost, I was in less than a stellar mood. However, since I’d just permanently left The Day Job™ a few days before, I had the time after the conference was over to do what I want without the onus of vacation time used hanging over my head. My time was only limited by the day I needed to get the rental car back.
So I spent last Sunday in a small portion of the Central Coast so that I could focus on my true love! Central Coast wine, what else!
My first stop was to the Lompoc Wine Ghetto. The conference had been held in Oxnard, so the drive was less than an hour and a half.
Which, by the way, reminds me. When I was last through that area in 2015, everything was brown and dried up. This time, everything was lush, green and beautiful. I believe the devasting drought is officially over.
But I digress.
Because of my plans for Paso, I could only stop at one of the wineries. The winery I chose was Palmina, which specializes in Italian varietals. I wanted to stop there because they’d just released a new Rosé which was a Nebbiolo and Barbera blend. How could I say no?
Because I’d left the Paso Robles Inn early enough, I was there just at opening and got to sit down with the pourer while I enjoyed tasting the wines. And, yes, they were as good as I remembered.
Unfortunately, there was no Malvasia Blanca available to taste, which is easily one of my favorite whites that they make. However, I tasted through their lineup, all with the notion that I’d get a bottle or two of Rosé and then head towards Paso. One box later, I was finally on the road wondering what in the world happened to my “just two bottles” plans!
Onward to Paso!
Because walking around on my gel-splinted and booted leg while the rental auto fees were ticking didn’t seem to be something that I wanted indefinitely, the one-day visit was, as a result, necessary. I would have stayed the entire week if I could have, even with house- and cat-sitting fees. But I was on a mission!
My first stop was Bodega de Edgar (née Hug Cellars) where I would ONLY pick up my Spring shipment and then head on out. While there, I tasted through several bottles of freshly opened wine, including one that was already opened and ready to experiment, which was Nexo Mourvedre. Delish!
So one Spring shipment, two extra bottles of E² and a case of No Güey Rosé later, I was on my way to my next stop.
My next stop was at the Asuncion Ridge tasting room located at 725 12th Street in downtown Paso. This is the completion of my wines for a massive vertical I’m planning for just Asuncion Ridge Pinot Noir. I already had 2010, 2011, 2012, 2012 Barrel Select, 2013, 2014, and 2015. My plan was to purchase the 2016 Pinot ONLY and hang a while. Well, I purchased the 2016 and the 2016 Barrel Select as well as the Rosé. Once again, my wine greed took precedence over my budget sense. Like it’s the first time that ever happened.
The sleep that I got – squeaky mattress notwithstanding – was some of the best I’ve had in ages.
Theresa, the tasting room manager, apprised me of a new tasting room just down the street on the other side of Spring. I stopped at Symbiosis and met Glenna Thompson, the owner/winemaker. And, of course, I tasted the wines. The coolest thing is when you walk into the winery (you can see the barrels behind the glass!) is that you’re offered a glass of Sparkling White Barbera out of a pressurized keg. Quite tasty! Although I probably would have called it a Sparkling Barbera Gris or Rosé. Because The Budget™ had already taken a significant hit, I had already decided not to buy anything. Let’s just say that plan didn’t exactly work out. Review to follow.
Paso Robles Inn
If you’re in love with downtown Paso Robles like I am, you already know that the Paso Robles Inn is a primary landmark in the area. It has been around since the 1860s and is absolutely gorgeous. I’d only stayed there once before which was during the Wine Bloggers Conference in 2014. Most of my subsequent stays have been at VRBO rentals or Airbnb.
Since it was Sunday and there were no festivals or special events, I was able to book a room when I decided that I wanted to stay in Paso an extra night. My room was beautiful – I had a full-sized bed and a fireplace. Wonderful. In fact, my only complaint was that the mattress would not have been conducive for a romantic stay because it was so very squeaky. Think about it. Wink wink.
And then there was steak dinner at The Steakhouse, of course! I had a salad, a glass of DAOU Pessimist, and the special of the evening, Prime Roast with asparagus, horseradish, and au jus. Delish!
While my original plans included leaving before the crack of dawn, they were waylaid by the rain that started and continued all night and into the early morning. It was glorious. The fragrance of rain-washed air can’t be beaten by anything, and the sleep that I got – squeaky mattress notwithstanding – was some of the best I’ve had in ages. I felt totally relaxed, and I decided to have breakfast. The air was still damp and I walked (limped) the distance from my room to The Steakhouse and had a simple breakfast of pancakes, coffee, and orange juice.
I still needed to get the rental car turned in, so I regretfully departed Paso Robles. One day is not enough!
PS – No, I didn’t get back to Vegas in time to turn in the car. I didn’t care because the extra time spent having breakfast and sleeping like a proverbial rock for the best rest I’ve had in a long time was so worth it.