As WineMatch embarked on its long-awaited Road Tour to spread the word and educate wineries about the benefits of being associated with us. What we came back with was nothing short of feeling privileged in being associated with such a great group of folks.
We rolled into Paso Robles Sunday late afternoon, always staying at the comfortable and friendly Paso Robles Inn. It’s always nice to stay there as it makes your options nearly infinite. Adjacent to the city square and park off of Spring Street, you can either go for a short stroll and enjoy great eateries like Villa Creek or Odyssey, or one could simply remain content with the Steakhouse that is part of the Paso Robles Inn. Either way, you feel taken care of and not wanting for anything, except maybe some gelato. I must recommend though, if you are longing for a Julia Childs-influenced Beef Bourguignon, this is a place like no other. Like Anton Ego on Ratatouille being brought back to his childhood days when he tasted Remy’s Ratatouille, the Beef Bourguignon did the same for me, having been raised in a French-influenced household.
As if heaven had descended on Paso, we spent more time at Powell’s Sweet Shoppe than we should have, but feel no shame here. The gelato and sorbets are second to none. In 24 hours, we were there more than once. Try the strawberry sorbet or the vanilla gelato. If that’s not enough and you need more ice cream love, the Cold Stone Creamery is only two doors down and if your timing is right, the movie theater is right next door.
We performed two presentations at Eagle Castle Winery. The folks there are nothing short of amazing. Gary, Eagle Castle Proprietor and former Paso Robles mayor, keeps the hassle out of the castle and treated us like royalty. Roxanne exuded extreme hospitality in helping us setup. Jessica with her marketing know-how, clearly understood not only our direction, but the future opportunities that lie ahead. Patrick Davies, the winemaker and recent father, has been a WineMatch supporter since the early days. He graciously took us for a more detailed tour of the operation as we shared some great humorous time.
Though our tour here was brief, we were able to take in the wines of Arroyo Robles in the tasting room, a stone’s throw from Powell’s and Villa Creek Restaurant. A stellar location and a tasting room large enough I could call it home. Even though they did not know we were in the trade, as we passed the window and peeked in, we were summoned for the occasion and the tasting fee was waived. Any one could appreciate this scenario and show of hospitality. I wish all wineries did this free tasting as it’s likely the best form of marketing ever. We found a few standouts in their field. Their 2008 Viognier was easily one of the best Viogniers I have tasted in the last year. The 2007 Tempranillo clearly led the field of reds, followed by their sold-out, but “hey we found a few more cases in the closet” 2006 Zinfandel.
Bob Shore, the proprietor of Arroyo Robles, was warm and welcoming, but the tasting room superstar was Chris “Rustle” Bedwell. This man’s personality, combined with ANY wine, is just a clear winner. Rustle is fast, efficient and witty, keeping meticulous track of who received what and what is next, and paying attention to what is being consumed as opposed to dumped. He also placated us well with Blue Cheese crumbles! Ask Rustle about the now-famous “Prius” story, but don’t have wine in your mouth while he is telling it!
If you need to “get away” anytime soon to a place less stressed and more serious about fun and levity, Paso is an excellent choice. Time did not forget Paso, but Paso is clearly not punching the clock and to us ‘city folks’, that’s a good thing. No one will even know you’re there – except Rustle 🙂