Paso Robles addendum

I don’t have much to add to Reid Plumbo’s excellent roundup on Paso Robles. But since I was there recently ““ Reid was supposed to join us but couldn’t after switching jobs and losing vacation time ““ I’d like to share a few notes.

During our fabulous visit to Tablas Creek, we learned that the winemaker there, Neil Collins, had his own label, Lone Madrone. First stop after Tablas: the Lone Madrone tasting room, where we weren’t disappointed. The Points West white blend (yum), Points West red, Tannat and Barbera all rocked, and the tasting room was comfy-cozy.

L’Aventure also provided a swell experience, with profound wines (although sampling them certainly felt like infanticide) and some of the most fascinating posters and maps I’ve encountered at a winery.

But the (non-Tablas Creek) highlight of our trip was Denner Vineyards. The tasting room, recently named the West Coast’s most beautiful by Sunset magazine, was indeed gorgeous, very cool and very warm; it’s by appointment only, btw.

But the reason to go is the wines, which were mesmerizing, so delicious and seductive that for the first time in many a year, I joined a winery’s club, the kind where you get regular shipments of basically whatever they want to send you. We didn’t even get a shot at Denner’s highest-rated wine, the Ditch Digger, but I can’t imagine that it’s much better than the Theresa white blend, Viognier, Mourvedre and Syrah that we sampled.

The restaurant scene was, alas, not as noteworthy, save for one great discovery. The Los Robles Café (1420 Spring St., 805-239-8525) served up ridiculously tasty Mexican food for screamin’-bargain prices. We knew we probably were on to something when we noticed how few other Anglo customers were there.

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