Tag Archives: Paso Robles

Sculpterra Winery & Sculpture Garden

The Winery

Take the time to soak in the sculpture garden, the wine during a tasting and the additional art in the tasting room. Sculpterra Winery is located in Paso Robles, California. Tasting Room Hours:  Fri – Sun 10 am to 5 pm. Great picnic area out back of the tasting room.

The Art in Wine

Wine That Gladdens the Heart (this is stated on their wine tasting glasses – love it!)

I need to give KUDOS to our Wine Server Donna – she was welcoming, warm, friendly and funny – Thanks so much!

Their wines are amazing – full-bodied and fruit forward! I love when you can taste the grapes in the wine. My favorite wine varietal was the Pinot Noir with Cabernet Sauvignon in a close second.

The 2009 Pinot Noir looked beautiful in the glass and the aroma had me totally baffled – fruity, woodsy, sweet spice, floral, and herbal – all this together with the grapes works well together – palate pleasing with a great, balanced finish. The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon was also beautiful in the glass with fruity flavors.


Sculpterra’s Pinot Noir & Cabernet Sauvignon (Photo by RSheridan)

Donna stated that Dr Warren Frankel 1st planted 20 acres of pistachios (offer pistachios during wine tasting – try the garlic pistachios – really good) and then followed with planting 20 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.


Wine Tasting Bar (Photo by RSheridan)


Wine Tasting Glass, Empty (Photo by RSheridan)


More Beautiful Art Inside the Wine Tasting Room (Photo by RSheridan)

The Sculpture Garden

Donna stated that the sculptures were created by John Jagger. I loved the art outside as well as inside the tasting room – really took the time to add those special touches to their winery.


My Favorite Sculpture – “Golden Morning” (Photo by RSheridan)


“Puma” (Photo by RSheridan)


(Photo by RSheridan)


Another Favorite – “Mammoth” (Photo by RSheridan)


“Yahoo” (Photo by RSheridan)

Wine + Art What More Could You Have Asked For in a Wine Tasting!


Firestone Walker Brewing Company

Firestone

While In Paso Robles decided to take a brewery tour at Firestone Walker Brewing Company. In 2001 owners Adam Firestone and David Walker purchased the SLO Brewing Company in Paso Robles, California.

Firestone is truly Craft Beer and they ferment their ales in the Firestone Union oak barrel brewing system, which incorporates 65-gallon, medium and heavy toast American oak barrels.


Firestone Brewing Company (Photo by RSheridan)

Craft Beers

Tasting Room

Tasting Room is open 7 days a week from 12 pm to 7 pm and usually have about 14 beers on tap.


Firestone Brews Menu (Photo by RSheridan)


Firestone’s Solace (Photo by RSheridan)

I am a fan of the Solace at Firestone. The Solace is a Summertime Fusion Wheat Beer with hints of citrus – refreshing, aromatic, great tasting.


High Gravity Snifter of Parabola – Limited Release (Photo by RSheridan)

Let me tell you that you could stand a knife up in the Parabola – thick and creamy! Aromatic with bold bourbon and tobacco with flavors of dark chocolate and charred oak flavor – tasted like a chocolate liquer. We needed a chocolate souffle while tasting the Parabola.

The style of the Parabola is a Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout with 13% abv.

Brewery Tour

Tours of the brew house and cellar are complimentary and first come first serve on Saturdays and Sundays. Arrive 15 minutes before tour time to secure your spot and will need to wear flat, closed toe shoes for the tour.

Tour Hours

Saturday at 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, and 3:30pm

Sundays at 1:30pm and 3:30pm


Brew Deck (Photo by RSheridan)

In a nutshell the brewhouse converts dry malt into a fermentable liquid – a very complex process. Firestone does not pasteurized so cleaniness is important in producing quality craft beers.


Cellar (Photo by RSheridan)

The Cellar is about fermentation and refinement. The Cellar contains multiple stainless steel fermentaters in various sizes.

The Firestone Union is a unique process. Their DBA, Pale 31 & Walker’s Reserve are partially fermented in oak barrels. Basically a portion of the wort is racked to 1 of 42 American oak barrels in the Firestone Union. If I understand it correctly the Firestone Union is taken from the Burton Union sytem, staple in British beer making. Firestone may be the only brewery in the U.S. using this method. This method adds character and complexity to Firestone’s beers – handcrafted quality.

Firestone produces barrel aged limited release beers – “strong beers” due to a higher alcohol content and complexity. These beers spend a certain amount of time in oak barrels – these barrels add the flavors and complexities to the beers. This includes the Parabola as well as Barley Wine, Saucerful of Secrets, Bravo Brown, Velvet Merkin and Sticky Monkey. These beers may become part of the blend that is released each year, their Anniversary series. Our tour guide stated that some of the Paso Robles Winemarkers are invited in to help with the blending of the Anniversary series.


Keg Processing Area (Photo by RSheridan)

The brewery’s keg packaging process is pretty amazing – this baby can sanitize as well as capable of filling 70 kegs per hour – can you say Kegger man!


The Bottling Process (Photo by RSheridan)


The Bottling Process (Photo by RSheridan)


The Bottling Process (Photo by RSheridan)


The Bottling Process (Photo by RSheridan)


The Bottling Process (Photo by RSheridan)

I enjoyed learning about the bottling and packaging process. I started thinking about Laverne & Shirley while the tour guide was talking about this process. Since they do not pasteurize their beers the bottling and packaging process is important to the quality of their beers. Firestone has invested in the best equipment and procedures, especially sanitation and cleaning processes. The brewery uses a Krones bottling line – this baby can produce 300+ 12 oz. bottles per minute – do you hear beer heaven calling?


Firestone Brewery (Photo by RSheridan)

Stop for a Taste and Take in a Tour of the Brewery – A Fun Experience!


Tablas Creek Vineyard

1st Stop in the Paso Robles Wine Region

Tasting Room Hours:  Daily 10 am to 5 pm.

Wine Tours at 10:30 am and 2:00 pm.

Great First Impression

Our 1st encounter at Tablas Creek was meeting Steve and asking if we could join the 10:30 tour. Then we discovered that Steve would be our guide throughout the tour – what a great experience! Steve was a wealth of information from the vineyard to the wine making process to the wine tasting. I have not experienced a tour like this before and the tour included a grafting demonstration. I love when you can broaden your knowledge at a winery and really get to know where the wine you are tasting comes from and how it is made.

Quality Wines Made One Grape At A Time

History of Tablas Creek

  • Founded by the Perrin family (Chateau de Beaucastel) and Robert Haas (importer and founder of Vineyard Brands).
  • Vines imported from Franch (Mourvedre, Grenache Noir, Syrah, and Counoise – reds & Roussanne, Viognier, Marsanne, and Grenache Blanc – whites).
  • The imported vines must pass a 3-year USDA testing program and then are propagated and grafted in their on-site nursery. The vines are used to plant their organic estate vineyard.
  • Dry farming and harvest when the grapes are completely ripe.
  • Little Intervention when it comes to the winemaking process.
  • Esprit de Beaucastel (Mourvedre-based) & Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc (Roussanne-based). One Word – OUTSTANDING!!!

Wine Tour

Steve stated there is a good majority of limestone on the Tablas Creek property. He stated that the grapes emit some type of acid from their roots in order to stimulate growth and locate water. I really enjoyed the grafting demonstration (see photos below). Steve talked about dry farming and harvesting when the grapes are completely ripe.


Limestone, part of a Whale Bone & Rosemary (Photo by RSheridan)

Grafting


Grafting Demonstration (Photos by RSheridan)

Wine Tasting

Steve explained the winemaking process and it is such a complex, unique process. Each grape varietal is hand-harvested when the grapes are completely ripe. Then each grape varietal is fermented separately and eventually the grape varietals are blended. This process produces complex, better balanced and rich wines. Here is where it gets unique – use NATIVE yeast fermentation (no additives) and NEUTRAL French oak barrels – to me this means a more fruit-forward wine! Tablas Creek truly makes winemaking an art and quality wines made one grape at a time.


Wine Tasting (Photo by RSheridan)

Wines Tasted

  • Vermintino 2010

The 2010 Vermentino (a traditional Mediterranean varietal) – crisp & refreshing, aromatic & citrus – right balance of acidity and a palate pleaser. Fermented in stainless steel to bring out the minerality of the grapes.


(Photo by RSheridan)

  • Grenache Blanc 2009
  • Cotes de Tablas Blanc 2010
  • Patelin de Tablas Blanc 2010
  • Rose 2010
  • Grenache 2008
  • Cotes de Tablas 2009
  • Patelin de Tablas 2010

The 2010 Patelin de Tablas (red blend) – serve anytime and for any occasion. Syrah-based (dark fruit) with Grenache (acidity), Mourvedre (adds depth) and Counoise (a twist of complexity). The grapes to make this wine varietal are sourced from 7 different vineyards. You can drink now or cellar up to 10 years.


(Photo by RSheridan)

  • Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc 2009
  • Esprit de Beaucastel 2008

I loved the 2008 Esprit de Beaucastel! This wine is aromatic, rich, fruit-forward, and a hint of spice. I wanted more just after a taste it was that amazing!

  • Tannat 2008

Steve was talking about the Tannat grape varietal on our wine tour and he could tell we were interested enough in this grape varietal to add it to the tasting menu. He stated this is his wine choice with steak. The 2008 Tannat (a Basque style) is INTENSE fruit (need food with this for sure) with the right amount of spice – palate pleasing with a great finish – beautiful color in the glass (purple/black inky color). Steve stated that Tannat is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc. This varietal is moved to small barrels to age for 18 months.


Tablas Creek Cellar (Photo by RSheridan)

AMAZING Wine Tasting Experience!!!


Paso Robles

El Paso de Robles or Pass of the Oaks

Paso Robles is located in the Central Coast of California. The town’s heartbeat is centered around City Park Plaza with restaurants, wine bars/tasting rooms, lodging, and speciality shops around the park. Our visit to Paso Robles was two-fold – 1) check out the wine region & 2) attend the Olive Festival.


One Big Chicken (Photo by RSheridan)
 

Where Pastoral & Bucolic Meet Vineyards & Olive Orchards

Wine

There are more than 200 wineries in Paso Robles and continues to grow.

Favorite Wineries

  • Tablas Creek Vineyard
  • Sculpterra Winery and Sculpture Garden
  • Cass Winery
  • Kenneth Volk Vineyard
  • Halter Ranch

Point the Way! (Photo by RSheridan)

Cheese

A side trip to Vivant Fine Cheese was so worth checking this place out. Tried a Sheep’s Milk Hard Cheese called Ewephoria – loved it so much that I bought a wedge. Tried some other Cow’s Milk & Goat’s Milk Cheeses – soft and hard.

Vivant Fine-Cheese

Olive Oil

Checked out the 8th Annual Olive Festival on our trip to Paso Robles. The festival is held in the City Park Plaza from 10 am to 5 pm. The festival offers participants bread for olive oil tasting.

I tried olive oil ice cream for the 1st time made by We Olive – 1st bite you taste the olive oil and then it just gets better from there with its creaminess – YUM! We tasted olive oils for about an hour and then took a break before having palate overload – tried some balsamic vinegar, olives, dips, hummus too.

Enjoyed the olive oil from Alta Cresta Orchard and bought a bottle of their Coratina – a balanced olive oil that can be served cold or cook with it.


Olive Oil (Photo by RSheridan)

Camping

Stayed at Wine Country RV Resort – received some wine tasting/purchase coupons upon check-in. The RV Resort hosted a Friday night wine tasting by Daou Vineyards – loved their Zinfandel.


Wine Swag Upon Check-in (Photo by RSheridan)

I enjoyed the Adult Spa area with hot tub and fire pit – great way to relax on a Summer evening. The main pool area with hot tub was a great afternoon spot to cool off and escape the heat – loved the shaded seating area.

The pop-up loves to hang with the big rigs!


Welcome! (Photo by RSheridan)
 

Cannot Wait to Make a Return Visit!!!


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