Taste, Sip and Enjoy | Food, Wine and Travel

Let’s Go to the 35th Paso Wine Festival!

Let’s Go to the 35th Paso Wine Festival!

It’s May and time to make a drive north for the fabulous Paso Robles 35th Annual Wine Festival. From Thursday, May 18th, to Sunday, May 21st, if at all possible, take a three or four-day vacation and submerge yourself in over the top food and wine. If time is limited, study the events at the Paso Robles Wine Festival and decide what will fit your schedule.

I understand one dinner is still available for Thursday evening, but beginning Friday wineries and restaurants will have a wide range of tantalizing offers.  An intimate gathering of seventy-four wineries on Friday, from 4 to 6:30, is one you don’t want to miss.  At this Reserve event you will be able to stroll, under the oaks, and sip two wines from each winery which fall into the categories of “Reserve, Library, White/Rosé or Futures.”   Paso has a reputation for incredible food. For two and a half hours you will have the opportunity to discover your perfect pairings from local restaurants and caterers.


Saturday morning there is a Seminar in the Paso Robles Inn ballroom where you are able to learn about the characteristics of the wine from the Paso area.  Ancient Peaks Winery, Halter Ranch Vineyard, Onx, Turley and Vina Robles will give you tips on what to look for in the various varietals and you will discover the characteristics of the terroir from which they come.

With all this knowledge bursting your brain cells it will be time to hurry to the park, across the street, and apply your newfound wisdom. At the Grand Tasting, from 12 to 4:00, you will find 70 wineries arranged by “regions.”  Look for “Bordeaux-style, Rhône-style, Zinfandel, Burgundian-style, Italian varieties and Other Wild Wines and share your preferences with friends.   Food samples and local artisan merchants can be explored while you listen to live music or enjoy a picnic.

For many years we have attended, and written about, the Saturday activities.  Last year we were thrilled to attend the Friday, late afternoon, Reserve in absolutely perfect temperatures.


In the past we visited Cass Winery and met Steve Cass, but never his partner Ted Plemons.  It was a pleasure to not only meet Ted, but to begin the evening enjoying Cass wine.


Paso is known for many varietals, but one which we find a favorite in the area is Zinfandel.  Of course the Zin from the old vines of Turley Wines are high on our list. Most of their Zins and Petite Syrahs are single vineyard designates.


It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to taste the Austin Hope 2013 Syrah from Treana and the Hope Family Wines.  If you miss them at one of the events, I see they are having a brunch on Sunday, May 21st.  You may want to make a reservation.


After retiring from the navy in 1998, Leon Tackitt began to develop a vineyard begun by his grandfather in the 1970’s.  After tasting their Zinfandel and Petite Syrahs, we plan to find them on the Pleasant Valley Wine Trail at a later date.


Of course, the food was outstanding! One example was the smoked salmon salad with pickled cucumber and pumpernickel bread crumbs prepared by Justin Picard of Trumpet Vine Catering.


Taking advantage of a local varietal, The Pairing Knife had a smoked BBQ beef brisket on a crostini with housemade Zinfandel BBQ Sauce.


Jeffrys Catering also used the Zinfandel wine.  They prepared oak and cherrywood smoked prime tri tip beef with a Zinfandel BBQ sauce on grilled French Bread.  It was served with house made black truffle potato chips with jalapeno citrus aioli.


Thomas Hill Organics offered two creative treats.  One was breakfast radishes with cultured butter and sel gris.


The second was herb jam toast.  The herb jam was on a crostini with Fiscalini cheddar.  This cheese comes from Modesto and has three times been named the “worlds best cheddar at the World Cheese Awards in London.”


You must try pork when it is on the menu at Novo Restaurant and Lounge in San Luis Obispo.  Their pork tenderloin on puff pastry with spring onion compote and apple tamarind reduction was delicious.


We also had the opportunity to pair a Spanish dish, paella with chicken and chorizo, with our wines.  At Paso Catering Company we could watch it being prepared.


Sweets were also on the menu and fun to pair with our wine.  The Heaven Squared Brownie Company offered decadent brownies.  How about the Paso walnut………


or the cherry cabernet and rosemary olive oil.  They were all truly celestial bliss!


We can not leave out the Apple Farm and their chocolate tidbits.


As the shadows grew long we knew to the day was coming to a close at the Festival.


It had been an incredible, well organized event.  We encourage you to take in one event or the whole weekend.  You will be astonished at the wine and food.  Above all, you will be warmly welcomed by the people of Paso Robles.

We had one more stop and ended our day at Le Vigne Winery with the winemaker, Michael Barreto.


We were so in love with his Cabernet Sauvignon we drove directly to the winery to make a purchase. When we arrived he was in a small dining room checking the set-up for a wine dinner that evening.


He then took us to the barrel room and showed us the tables set for the Saturday wine dinner.  The menu looked fabulous!  I see they are having another dinner this year on Saturday. If I were going to be in Paso, I know I would be making a reservation.



Either pack your bags or gas your car and be prepared for a spectacular weekend in beautiful Paso Robles!

For further information contact:

Apple Farm; Jeffrys CateringLe Vigne WineryNovo Restaurant and Lounge; Paso Catering; Paso Wine FestivalTackitt Family Vineyards; The Pairing Knife; Thomas Hill OrganicsTreana Wines; Trumpet Vine Catering; Turley Wine Cellars




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