Nestled near the mountains, beaches, and deserts of Central California, you’ll find the small cowboy town of Paso Robles. Known for its many vineyards and hot springs, Paso Robles also sets the perfect scene for a romantic getaway catering to food and wine lovers.
Due to its location and year-round near-perfect weather, Paso Robles offers ideal conditions for growing the freshest ingredients in wine and food.
Taking full advantage of the ability to provide locally sourced farm to table offerings, Paso has a rather impressive array of restaurants and eateries whose food is rivaled only by its innovative wine blends. With this in mind, we knew from the start that our romantic weekend getaway would be centered around food and wine – and naps.
Arriving at the first and only luxury resort in the Paso Robles wine country, the rustic Mediterranean-inspired Allegretto Vineyard Resort feels like stepping into the Italian countryside with it’s villa style sanctuary set against the backdrop of sprawling vineyards and rolling hills.
Situated on 20 acres of lush grape vineyards, olive and fruit orchards, Allegretto Vineyard Resort showcases beautiful gardens for meandering, a large relaxing Tuscan-style central courtyard, and comfortable cabanas surrounding an outdoor pool.
All of these beg to be enjoyed at leisure with your favorite glass of vino on a peaceful sunshine day.
That is, if you can get yourself out of the outrageously comfortable bed each morning.
We found this difficult to do and appreciated the fact that the large rooms come equipped with a mini-fridge, coffee maker and black out curtains. What appears to be common amenities to you, is actually everything the doctor ordered for those winery tour days that perhaps lasted one stop longer than it should have.
If you do leave your inner sanctuary and happen to wander around the property, be prepared to be unexpectedly occupied for a length of time. Your curiosity will get the best of you as you take in the eclectically diverse art filled hallways, and then begin to notice the smaller details like antique door frames and hidden birds.
Mr. Ayres personally selected and placed each item, and whether you’re a connoisseur of art or not, you’ll get swept away in the beauty and sense of chaotic belonging every inch of the resort evokes.
I found myself on a hunt of sorts. For what, exactly, I was unsure. Yet when I arrived at my next discovery, I strangely felt satisfied in having completed my mystery quest. (Do I sound crazy yet?)
When your thirst for knowledge turns into grumbles in your tummy, you’ll be very happy Allegretto has an amazing in-house ristorante and bar, Cello.
Executive Chef Eric Olson uses locally sourced ingredients to create a rustic northern Italian cuisine complemented by an intriguing speciality cocktail menu and of course, Allegretto’s own artisan-crafted wine. (Our favorite was the Cabernet.)
The menu is seasonal to take advantage of the freshest ingredients to pair with its extensive wine lists and artisanal beers, so don’t get too attached to any particular dish. Luckily, it’s one of those places where you want to try everything on the menu anyway.
Don’t worry, we did manage to actually make it to the quaint downtown area and can highly recommend these stops to add to your Paso Robles food and wine experience.
San Antonio Winery
San Antonio Winery is the oldest and largest producing winery in Los Angeles, with over 99 years of winemaking and it still sits on its original location on Lamar Street, the last vestige of a once rich winemaking tradition of greater Los Angeles. Over four generations of wine making, the Riboli family has expanded to Monterey, Napa Valley and Paso Robles.
The Paso Robles location is just a hop, skip and a jump away from Allegretto and offers two wine tasting options. Their daily tasting features 3 wines from their winemaker’s weekly selection of options while the Artisan Series tasting offers 4 highly limited reserve wines from the Riboli Family’s estates. I recommend the latter.
If you like big red wines, make sure you ask to try the limited production Opaque. The newly opened bistro onsite is run by Chef Dustin, a local Italian chef, and serves up hot artisan pizzas and pastas to accompany choices like the perfectly chilled sangria or the light, sweet flavor of a Stella Rosa moscato.
Parrish Family Vineyard
With over 200 winemakers in the Paso Robles area, its difficult to choose which ones to visit. If you like family history and small family run businesses that are just bursting with charm and pride, then definitely visit the Parrish Family Vineyard tasting room. Their wine tour serves seven wines during its tasting experience including their Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (our favorite) and Silken Blend.
To make the tasting experience even more enjoyable to the palate, the wines are paired with artisan cheese and/or locally made chocolates. (Go with the cheese – I’ve never been so delighted in a random smattering of cheeses I’ve never tasted before!)
The Fromage Flight pairing experience features delicious, imported cheeses from Fromagerie Sophie in San Luis Obispo, and 3 of their most popular red wines on the menu – the Petite Sirah, Reserve Silken, and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. (yes, yes and yes)
What makes this experience different is that they pair more than one cheese per wine, giving guests the opportunity to have more than one experience with the wine and cheese and a chance to learn the various ways wine and cheese can work together.
Thomas Hill Organics
Led by Owner Debby Thomas and Chef Tim Veatch, Thomas Hill Organics Bistro & Wine Lounge is known for creating wine country inspired dishes starring organic, regionally-produced food. With it’s emphasis on fresh ingredients, the menu at Thomas Hill changes seasonally allowing guests to revel in what seems to be a never ending variety of dishes.
Currently, the menu features appetizers like Fried Green Tomatoes or Black Lentil Tacos as precursors to star dishes like Liberty Farms Duck or Niman Ranch Pork with the most amazing roasted tomatillos ever. Ever.
Our stay, wine tours and meals were hosted, my opinions remain my own.