The best wines are the ones we drink with friends
San Luis Obispo and North Santa Barbara Counties have so many wineries that you can probably go wine tasting every Saturday for several months and never go to the same winery twice.
Fortunately, I have many friends who have selflessly pledged to join me on my wine tasting adventures. With me today is my friend Nannon, and our first winery stop is Opolo Vineyards.
Opolo is located at 7110 Vineyard Drive in Paso Robles and I must say, for a tasting room that is approximately 4 1/2 miles off of 46 West, this place has a decent sized crowd at their location. Their tasting room is quite impressive and has 3 large bars for tasting. Outside is a large covered patio, with portable heaters for the colder months, and several tables. They have a wood fire pizza oven and offer fresh homemade pizzas paired with a glass of wine for $20. Their pizzas are delicious and large enough to share. You can also bring a picnic lunch and enjoy it on their patio, which is what Nannon and I did today. (Side note: We paired our sandwiches with a chilled, freshly purchased bottle of their brand new Rose.)
Opolo has a tasting flight of 5 wines for $10. The tasting fee is waived for wine club members, if you join their wine club, or if you purchase 2 bottles. While they have a recommend flight list, they do, and often, go off book and will pour anything from their inventory if you are interested. I, personally, prefer whites so I always appreciate the wineries that will pour based on your preferences, rather than sticking strictly to the menu.
Not only are they flexible with what they pour, they are generous with their pours as well. (Make sure you plan on staying awhile or have a designated driver because the tastings can catch up with you quickly!)
This was the first full weekend that Opolo was pouring their two new releases, both a first for the winery - a Rose, which as previously mentioned we enjoyed with lunch, and a port, named Tryst. Both are very good and I ended up purchasing a bottle of both. Nannon, did not walk away empty handed either; she also bought a bottle of the Rose and the 2013 Montagna-Mare.
As the red wine drinker of the day, Nannon really enjoyed their entire selection and her favorites were the Montagna-Mare and Mountain Zinfandel. Fun Fact: Opolo's Mountain Zinfandel is so popular, they have a wine club membership where all you receive in your shipment are bottles of the Mountain Zin (4, 6 or case).
I loved Opolo so much, all of their whites plus their delicious and reasonably priced sparkling, that I ended up joining their wine club!
For more information on Opolo Vineyards, you can visit their website by clicking on the following link - www.opolo.com/
Paso Port is another winery that is off the beaten path. It is on Booker, off 46 West (approximately 5 1/2 miles from Opolo, and on the other side of 46 West). As you drive along Booker, you'll find a little unpaved road and a sign pointing to Paso Port, Pendray Distillery, and Per Caso. As you drive up the hill, just follow the "girls" and they will lead you to the winery.
Each port has a girl associated with it. There is Violeta, Ruby, Tawny, Angelica, Brandi, and during the holiday's, Noel. The girl and her personality are supposed to represent the style of the port. Plus, they are just so unique and exquisitely designed.
Normally, the tasting list consists of 5 ports for $10, but today's tasting menu was different. We stopped in during their pickup party so that may explain the different menu. Today's tasting was $15 for 6 wines - choosing from 2 whites, 4 reds, and 2 ports. Nannon and I just stuck with the port - Violeta and Ruby. Ruby was my favorite this time around.
Paso Port is fairly small and their tasting room is inside a converted barn. It is very quaint feeling inside and they have a very small patio in back with a few tables and chairs. The scenery is breathtaking as it overlooks Templeton and Paso Robles. I love the coziness of Paso Port and their staff is always friendly. If you are near the area around the holidays, you MUST stop in and try their Noel. She is their limited edition holiday port and is only available this one time a year. She is well worth the trip and the purchase!
For more information on Paso Port, you can click on this link to their website -
Nannon is a wine club member at Sextant and so she wanted to show off the members only lounge. For their club members, Sextant has a little private room with a wine dispenser where you can self pour a taste or a glass of any of their wines.
The room also has a table, chairs, couches and a fireplace. It is quite the contrast to their Edna Valley location, that's for sure!
Sextant is primarily reds; they only have two 2 whites and unfortunately I did not care for either. Looking back, this could quite possibly be because you should always end your tastings with port so I could have easily jacked up my palette having just come from Paso Port. I will need to go back to Sextant and try them again...and then go back to Paso Port aftewards, just 'cuz I can.
Jade, one of the tasting room attendants at Sextant, recommended we try their neighbor, Grey Wolf. She said they have a large selection of whites and usually will pour anything from the list.
For information on Sextant, you can click on this link - www.sextantwines.com/
Neither Nannon or I had ever visited Grey Wolf before so we were excited for a new experience. The tasting room was large with a couple of different seating options - large tables with chairs and some couches. They also have a large outdoor patio area. Their tasting room is perfect for people to hang out for an extended period of time, drinking wine and eating food. You can either bring a picnic lunch or enjoy food from their onsite deli/restaurant. We didn't eat there, but we saw someone walk by with a burger and it looked amazing!
Unfortunately, we did not end up a fan of their wines. Again, could be the jacked up palette...
Since we were only there to try their whites, Nannon did not try any of their reds. So, we may need to revisit this place.
The highlight of this stop was someone's pet pig, Fig, snuffling around the tasting room. She was adorable!!!
If interested, here is a link to Grey Wolf's website - www.bartonfamilywines.com/
Overall, I think Opolo was definitely the highlight and they and Paso Port are the two I would recommend for sure be added to your next wine tasting adventure. Don't let the fact that these two are a ways off the highway because they are well worth the visit!
I am Sandy Surprise, new to the blog scene, but anxious to share my adventures with you! Read more about me by clicking here.
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