Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

Pass the glass at Pasa Robles

A combination of recommendations from Rick and from Ron-who-we-met-at-dinner and chance gave us a lovely mix of wineries.

Rick said Turley was American style; certainly very rich hefty Zinfandel all round. The Napa zin was lightest and maybe best but we picked up a local zin from the Pesenti vinyard because we're here. Ron suggested Norman and we liked this a lot, simple but tasty wines across a wide range of rose, unoaked chardonnay (I'm fed up of chewing barrel), a very Oz style drinkable Merlot, a very Muscadet style white blend, the nicest zin I've had called Zinfandel the monster, a fermented grape juice easy drinker for the summer, a zinfandel port and probably a couple more. A nice place; a wood stove, huge old live oaks, picnic tables; great views where you'd want to linger - in summer!
We didn't make it to Four Vines, which promised chocolate and decadence, or to the much recommended Tablas Creek because we had such a good time at Justin. I have no idea how we drove straight past the main entrance but we found the not for the public driveway, thought this can't be right and drove on into charming hills on a fun twisty road with no sign of a winery. We turned back and asked directions from the gentleman doing something official at the gate who turned out to be Peter the hospitality manager. He showed us the way to the main entrance then as we'd come such a long way took up to the member's only entrance anyway where we got the full tasting experience; chardonnay and reserve chardonnay (again I preferred the less oaked but the reserve is fuller and certainly something special), then the sangiovese - very balanced and reserved for a sangiovese with all of the flavour but none of the aggression compared to say Bonnydoon where the wine reaches out of the glass to shake you warmly by the throat. I liked having matched cheese to try the wines with, because you get a different flavour when you have the same wine with food; plus, nice Gouda! We tried the Isoceles cab sauv cab franc merlot blend (a meritage in all but fees paid for the name); we had the 2004 from the bottle which was inky and very smooth and again very balanced - somewhere between the usual American and the French styles without going to the heavy Australian style - then went into the cellar to try the 2005 from the barrel. They'd sold out of 2004 Latitude (cab franc merlot blend) but we tried the 2005 from the barrel. Both of those are very young and have more fruit and less smoothness than they'll end up with. And back to the bar for the Deborah's Delight alexander muscat dessert wine - this is lovely, light rather than syrupy with a fruity taste that evanesces away as you swallow. I was sure it had viognier in but the site doesn't mention it. Nice with white chocolate.

The member tasting room is delighful; a gas flame fire with the jets coming out from a very angled and stylised metal tree branch - I prefer that to something pretending to be wood. Terracotta borders and a Bacchus head in terracotta bas relief over the fire, lovely comfy squishy chairs and just a lovely place to hang out. Eventually we dragged ourselves back to the main winery for lunch; steak and mashed potatoes and crispy onions. I ordered a glass of the Petit Verdot - and then Peter showed up with a bottle of Savant and sat down for a chat. By the time we'd talked about the way Vegas had changed and how Pasa Robles is growing and a few other things, it was time to thank the nice Justin folk for a lovely afternoon and let them go home and hit the road for San Jose...

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