Justin Winery’s New Tasting Room and Restaurant.
It may initially seem difficult to compare the wine quality and atmosphere of Paso Robles to Europe and Napa Valley. However, Paso Robles is slowly becoming a landmark for wine, food and travel. In particular, an applause goes out to Justin Winery for their reasonably priced selection of unforgettable wines, well-prepared food and beautifully remodeled tasting room.
The 200-mile drive from Los Angeles to Paso Robles is akin to a slightly shorter and more scenic trip to Vegas. If you need accommodations, the beautiful Cheval Hotel in Paso Robles is definitely an option. Everything about the hotel is exceptional. It’s clean, classy, and dog friendly. The hospitality and friendliness of the management and staff, along with their great continental breakfast, makes for a memorable experience. You can even relax by the fire in their enclosed courtyard after you come back from wine tasting. It’s a perfect way to wind down the evening.
The drive into Justin Winery is grand. The rolling hills and beautiful vineyards that seem to extend beyond the horizon are quite impressive. The tasting room and patio are similar to some of the nicest wineries in Napa Valley. The layout of the property allows for a generous amount of freedom to explore. Whether you prefer to chat at the bar or relax outside is totally up to you.
Justin Winery is not only passionate about their wines, but they went the extra mile to create a tasting room and restaurant that matches this dedication. The food is great and elegantly prepared. If you’d choose to have dinner there, the four-course dinner is an excellent option. The chilled asparagus soup with uni, lemon, and flowers is crisp, fresh and flavorful. Another highlight is the braised short rib with turnip, peach, kimchi and watercress. The short rib is paired with the 2010 Isosceles, which is a great choice. Dessert is paired with the 2012 Sunny’s Block. If you appreciate well-made sweet wines, the taste of orange, white peach and honeysuckle is refreshing.
If you get the chance, chat with Justin Winery’s sommelier, Jim Gerakaris. He’s delightful. You’ll leave with a broader understanding of wines and the complexities involved in becoming a sommelier.
Justin Winery and Cheval Hotel are both excellent choices. While you’re in Paso Robles, you can also visit the beach, which is less than 30 minutes away. So, will Paso Robles become the Napa Valley of Southern California? I certainly think so.
- Noteworthy wines at Justin:
- 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon: black cherry, currant and coca
- 2010 Justin Isosceles: black cherry, cinnamon, vanilla
- 2012 Chardonnay: peach, apple and toasted butterscotch
- 2005 Justin Isosceles: mocha, mint, caramel, vanilla
- Don’t fill your tank before leaving. Gas prices are significantly cheaper outside the city.
- Don’t drink and drive. We took a trolley from the hotel to Justin Winery (Central Coast Trolley.com).
About the Author: Dr. John Hofmann