The Plan

Spend two days at the Tin City Block Party. Interview every winery. Take Nat Geo-worthy photos. Write impressive, Pulitzer-level prose in a day after returning home. Maybe two. Sit back on laurels and let the accolades roll in.

The Real Life Reality

Block Party Checkin

Went to Tin City early. Who knew that you’d have to have an appointment to interview some wineries on BLOCK PARTY WEEKEND?! Photos came out okay; let’s just say Nat Geo won’t lose any sleep. Still writing. No laurels on the horizon. And the ankle that I broke several months ago? It puffed up like someone had surgically implanted a tennis ball in it and any walking on the second day past noon was mostly impossible. And over a week later, still struggling with making sense of the weekend.


So here we go. No in-depth coverage is going to happen, but I figure an overview would work okay. Welcome to Part One!


I’d left at 0’dark thirty so that I could arrive in Paso at a decent time. Which, of course, is exactly what happened.  After checking in at my AirBnB residence, I took off to visit Tin City a day early. The actual Block Party event began on Saturday, but I figured I get a head start. Besides, Olivas de Oro was having a “day before” Kickoff.

Naturally, I stopped there and tasted the wonderful olive oils and balsamic vinegars. I ended up making a few purchases, including Ghost Pepper Salt for The Wineaux Guy™ and some coffee BBQ rub for myself.

First Stop – VotM

Vines on the Marycrest is not just a winery that I stop in, it’s a winery where I visit my friends Jenni and Victor Abascal. I will go into more detail about my visit there in Part Deux because I had to go back and spend money. Budget™ weeping ensued.

Aaron Wines

One of the Buildings at Tin City

The first place I stopped at in Tin City was Aaron Wines. I would have stopped at Desparada, but they had a scheduled private tasting going on. The two tasting rooms are across from each other on the expansive driveway.

Aaron Wines has two labels: Aequorea (the feminine version of Aequoreus, Latin for of the sea) and Aaron.

They have three wines under the Aequorea label and three under the Aaron label. Under Aequorea I tasted the 2018 Viognier (6 barrels) and the 2016 Pinot Noir (3 barrels), both from the Spanish Springs Vineyard in Pismo Beach. The other was 2016 Pinot Noir (2 barrels) from Riven Rock in Cambria. By the sea. Get it?

Tin City Vista

The upshot is that all three were delicious. The Viognier was particularly outstanding and had a bit of the Albariño from Rias Baixas/Val do Salnés character with the unexpected minerality and brininess that was a pleasant surprise. The same seaside minerality was particularly present on the Spanish Springs Vineyard Pinot Noir.

Under the Aaron label, there was the 2015 Citizen (7 barrels), a Syrah/Petite Sirah blend; 2016 Trespasser (10 barrels) a Petite Sirah/Mourvèdre/Syrah/Grenache; and the 2016 Petite Sirah (16 barrels), their 100% flagship.

The Citizen’s nose was amazingly gorgeous, as was the Trespasser, with all of the grapes dancing on the nose and the palate. And then there was the Petite.


It was heavenly, tooth-staining, and delicious. And despite my determination not to spend any money before the Block Party even started, I purchased a bottle of this fabulous Petite, along with a bottle of the Spanish Springs Viognier and Pinot Noir.

The Budget™ wept.

Asuncion Ridge

I stopped at Asuncion Ridge on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. Because after a day of driving, tasting, walking, talking, etc., I was pretty much done in and needed an actual drink of wine. I love all of their wines but am particularly partial to 3Sum and, of course, the Pinot Noir.

Coming Soon: Saturday, Sunday, and New (and old) Discoveries



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.