The Best Wine to Drink in Paso Robles

Christian Navarro, president and principal of Wally’s, shares his top finds from his favorite wineries in Paso Robles, the burgeoning wine community just three hours north of Los Angeles.

Linne Calodo
2014 Linne Calodo “Perfectionist” Rhône Blend

Linne Calodo is a pinnacle estate in Paso Robles. Since its inception in 1999, Matt Trevisan and Justin Smith (of Saxum) have crafted a bounty of interesting, eclectic blends. These wines stand out for their textures and richness as much as their complexity and uniqueness. The 2014 Perfectionist is a classic blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre. Nuanced aromas of raspberries, wet soil, pepper, and herbs pleasantly greet your nose. Flavors of boysenberry, Moroccan spice, and cassis give way to a full-bodied, silky sensation on the palate. It’s hard to resist drinking now, but with some patience, the blend will continue to soar for a decade plus.

The tasting room at Linne Calodo.

2012 Aleksander Red Blend

A superstar Merlot-led Bordeaux blend crafted by Sasha Vujajic and his family creates aromas of blackberry, cedar, and cassis, which jump from the glass. It’s incredibly balanced on the palate and provides long, luscious flavors of cocoa, earth, and ripe fruit. Well suited for new-world drinkers due to its inviting nature, it’s equally appealing to old-world drinkers for its complexity and elegance. With seven years of age, it drinks perfectly now, but be sure to save some bottles for years to come!

The rolling hills at Aleksander vineyards.

2017 Daou Soul of a Lion Red Blend

Daou’s iconic Paso Robles red blend seriously impresses with its stellar 2017 vintage. It boasts the perfect combination of richness, elegance, and balance. Complex aromas of licorice, plum, vanilla bean, and currant delight the senses. The palate is full-bodied and layered, while velvety tannins lead to a long finish. This beautiful red blend truly showcases the majestic power of Daou Mountain.

The view from Daou’s winery.

2016 Justin Isosceles

Justin’s signature Isosceles Bordeaux blend from 2016 shines. Alluring aromas of black cherry, smoked meat, cedar, and cinnamon tantalize the senses as you bring the glass closer to your lips. Its ultra-rich, velvety texture leads to flavors of black fruit, mocha, and savory dried thyme. It has the complexity, finesse, and tannic structure to go the distance. Tuck away in the back of the cellar for a few years and you will be in for a real treat.

Justin Vineyards is one of the most popular wineries in Paso Robles.

2017 L’Aventure Estate Cuvee

This is the flagship “Paso Blend” of famed L’Aventure winery. It offers a beautiful bouquet of violets, mocha, and crushed rock. On the palate it is rich, full-bodied, polished, and about as sexy as they come. Penetrating flavors of blueberry, bright cherry, and cassis give way to a long finish of floral and spice. Balanced tannins provide structure and complexity that will keep this wine interesting for a very long time.

The exterior of the tasting room at L’Aventure.

2017 Ueberroth Vineyard Zinfandel

Paso icon Turley has produced some of the region’s most impressive Zinfandels, Cabs, and red blends for decades. This gorgeous Zin comes from the oldest vineyard Turley works with (planted in 1885!) and is elegant and layered on the nose with dark brambly fruit, exotic spice, and cassis. The mouthfeel is silky and luscious, balanced with racy acidity and polished tannins. Medium- to full-bodied, it has flavors of black cherry, pepper, and grilled meats.

The Turley estate and vineyards.

Tablas Creek
2017 Tablas Creek Esprit de Tablas Blanc

It is a given that the Perrin family of Chateau Beaucastel would pick equally incredible terroir in Paso to craft world-class Rhône blends. Their classic white Rhône blend, Esprit de Tablas Blanc, is one of my favorite wines vintage after vintage. Insanely perfumed and mineral accented, it evokes ripe citrus, peach, brioche, and floral notes. Its bright, delineated acidity and graceful minerality offer depth and complexity that only special whites can achieve. Vibrant flavors of tangerine, honeysuckle, herb, and pear set the stage for an incredibly long, pleasing finish.

The Tablas Creek vineyard.