In celebration of my best friend’s birthday, we spent Memorial Day weekend wine tasting our way through Templeton, Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo. With seven of our other closest girlfriends in tow, we toured four different vineyards throughout the area and tasted some of the better wines I’ve had in a while (my obsession with Jack Creek is widely known but after this trip, friends and family should expect to hear new rave about Linne Colado).
We learned quite a bit about the Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre varietal. I’d never heard the term “GSM” before but it’s used to refer to a blend of the three primary varietals that are produced in France’s Southern Rhône Valley. While the grapes originated from a very specific region in France, California’s Central Coast has become known for producing many delicious GSM blends (as has Australia, Chile and South Africa … sadly, those aren’t driving distance from San Francisco) from the trio of grapes.
Here’s a list of the wineries we visited and highlights from each:
If you appreciate a good view, Daou offers one of the most gorgeous outlooks from their Paso Robles hilltop estate.
Tablas Creek Vineyard
They offered us the most extensive tasting menu of the day, with seven different wines including a GSM blend and a Côtes de Tablas, their play on a Côtes du Rhône varietal. Rarely a fan of rosé, I was pleasantly surprised by the Dianthus 2012, a blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache Noir and Counoise.
Hearthstone Vineyard & Winery
Lucky enough to have known the winemaker himself, we stopped at his home for a quick bite (and a couple bottles of wine). Just steps away from the tasting room, we headed back down to try a few more recommendations. The 2010 Pearl (60% Rousanne, 40% Viognier) was absolutley delicious.
After touring the cellar – the romance of wine making is quickly lost when you really see how much sweat goes into a great bottle – we ended the day with some of the best wines. If my wallet could afford it, I would drink the 2011 Problem Child (Zinfandel, Syrah, Mourvèdre blend) with every meal.
Already looking forward to our next girls getaway!