Paso Robles is the perfect place to take a break when you are on your way from LA to San Francisco. And really what better way to spend your break than tasting wine? Paso Robles has warm days and cool nights making it the perfect climate for grape growing . You will find 26,000 acres of vineyards producing more than 40 different varietals. The grape that Paso Robles is most known for is Zinfandel.
My guy and I have started rating wines we taste with one to four stars (*). This sometimes got a bit difficult throughout the journey when some of the wines surpassed my four stars. We also didn't always agree on the number of stars so that's where the 1/2 star comes in. Hopefully you will be able to try some of these wines for yourself and let me know how they rank for you.
Our first stop was at Meridian Vineyards which as I have mentioned is one of my favorite value (under $10) wines, their Cabernet is a great everyday wine. You don't have to drink it everyday, but "they" say red wine is good for your heart and various other parts right?
One of my favorite things about this winery is that their winemaker is a female! Go girl!
"Meridian Winemaker Lee Miyamura graduated from Sonoma State University with a BA in Biology with an emphasis in Molecular Biology and a minor in Chemistry. During her studies, she lived in Napa , which led her to a temporary Quality Assurance Lab position at Meridian’s sister winery, Beringer Vineyards in St. Helena. 20 years later, she was named as Meridian’s winemaker of white wines. As Meridian has grown over the years, so has Lee’s role. She is involved in every step of the wine making process from harvest to barreling to blending to bottling. "
Meridian has a beautiful long driveway through the vineyards. After parking you stroll through a lovely garden and picnic area and across a patio with cute tables with umbrellas perfect for lounging and enjoying your wine purchases.
Of course you will be purchasing!
The tasting room has a long bar stocked with wines by Meridian and also some of their sister wineries including Cellar 8. There is also a shop where you can buy all sorts of wine paraphernalia and trinkets.
Judith was our tasting host, and a gracious one at that. This is the order in which we tasted.
Santa Barbara County
I was surprised buy the dryness of this wine, Gewurz is not usually a favorite. I found this to be a floral wine with a hint of orange and citrus. Probably very good as a wine slushy on a hot day.
2006 Limited Release Chardonnay**1/2
Santa Barbara County
This Chardonnay is still aged in toasted oak and you get hints of it when tasting that shows up as a buttery flavor that reminded me of popcorn. There are also hints of vanilla and caramel, just writing this is making me hungry. This wine would pair well with an aged hard cheese such as Piave Vecchio; sweetly nutty with a dry, crunchy texture. Flavors of tropical fruit, almonds and a long, sweet finish this cheese is comparable to the king of Italian cheese Parmigiano-Reggiano. Ages range from six to fourteen months.
This zin was not like most Paso zins I have enjoyed in the past. This was soft and peppery but also had notes of Blackberry jam and raspberry. More mellow that I usually like my Zinfandel to be.
This syrah was more like a zin than the zin was in my opinion, with a ripe berry and cherry taste with a hint of pepper on the finish.
I love any wine that has dark chocolate in the description! This was a pretty big cab with Blackberry, dark chocolate and spice. This is an excellent wine with rib eye on the grill, I know cause that is what I had last night! This was one of our first purchases on the wine pilgrimage.
This was our second purchase, and this is were I learned that Petit Syrah is my new favorite varietal. I always thought the Petite part meant it would be a small tasting wine, I was wrong! Petite Syrah is a big and chewy red wine, with all those good notes like dark chocolate, earthy and leathery. This is one I don't want to mess up with food!
If you are in the area and can stop by Meridian do so, it is well worth it! Also if you are lucky enough to be living in a state that allows you to be a wine club member you can receive these wines at 20% off the retail prices. This makes this winery a four sister value!
Don't forget to tell them the Wino sent you!
Open daily 10 am - 5:00 pm
7000 Highway 46 East
Paso Robles CA 93446