Monday, May 14, 2012

Pairs Well in Paso: Pizza Parties, Gourmet Burgers and Sheep Tours

Paso Robles, no bastion of organically grown wines, offers its annual Paso Robles Wine Festival this coming weekend (May 18-20).

Of the 150 participating wineries, just three have organically grown wines.

If you're going, seek out:

• Castoro Cellars

One of the earliest wineries in the region, Castoro has a certified organic estate vineyard - Whale Rock. Look for bottles made solely from grapes from Whale Rock (ask).

I've heard that the winery will be labeling their organically grown wines sometime soon (when they stop blending them with non organic grapes).

Castoro will be doing a pizza party Friday night with live music, along with wines ($37.50 per person).

Saturday and Sunday they'll be offering live music from 12-4 pm with food available for purchase. Tasting is $5.

(Note: most of their wines are not organically grown).

• Lone Madrone

Run by the winemaker from legendary Tablas Creek, Lone Madrone has a few organically grown wines. (Ask). On Sunday, Lone Madrone will be serving gourmet burgers, hosting live music, and putting local craftspeople in the spotlight with a crafts fair.

• Tablas Creek

The high point of any trip to Paso Robles is this French-founded Rhone wine powerhouse, beloved by Robert Parker (and many of the rest of us who do not necessarily share his likes/dislikes).

Friday night Tablas will be hosting a dinner at Thomas Hill Organics in town ($89 per person) - 5 courses, and 5 wines.

Tablas will be doing tastings in town at the park (festival location) Friday and Saturday as well as offering tours all weekend, showing their new sheep, alpacas and chickens in the vineyards.

Their new rose will also be on offer. (Won't last long).

With the exception of their Patelin wines (a blend of their estate grapes as well as purchased grapes from non-organic neighbors), all of their wines are organically grown.

Other Destinations

Although they're not listed as official participants, I would also seek out and visit organically grown wines made by winemakers at Ambyth Estate and Giornata/Luna Matta.

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