Travel Tuesday: Paso Robles Uncorked

"There is no time for cut-and-dried monotony." ~ Coco Chanel

Wow, I had another fantastic weekend in Paso Robles, it feels like I was just there. Oh wait, in fact, I was just there when it was a bit more chilly than the oven-sized temps which greeted our [Mrs. Cuvee and I] arrival this last weekend. Once more, we stayed downtown at the Paso Robles Inn, had an excellent breakfast, with plenty of 'spoons' to go around this time, where we stirred up quite an enjoyable stay.

Of course one of the best parts of staying at the PRI, as I like to refer to it, is not only the hot tub mineral springs, accommodations and the wonderful attached dining-spot which is always a treat to dine in; but for me the main attraction is the close proximity to nearly everything Paso Robles has to offer. Whether fine dining is your thing, bar-hopping, shooting a few games of pool with the locals, a farmers market across the street in the park or you just want to slurp your way through the many of the down-town tasting-spots, everything is within easy reach of a stroll down the clean city streets.

One of my favorite aspects of downtown Paso Robles; is the fact there's no crass commercialization slapping you in the face, sorry no Star-Bucks, no impersonal '"fast-food" joints, just plenty of good old Mom and Pop operations, each with their own personality. In all my experiences in Paso Robles, I'd say they have made good old-fashion hospitality an art-form. The town isn't perfect, but c'mon whose town is, and by way of comparison, you'll be hard-pressed to find the rough spots. That said, do yourself a favor, especially if you live relatively close-by, love wine and good food, come to Paso and check out the vibrant food and wine scene, you'll want to come back over and over.

Part of our dining plans this past weekend found Mrs. Cuvee and I at Thomas Hill Organics. It was our first time dining with them, everyone we told about our dinner plans, gave us the "oohs and ahhs thumbs-up. We were pretty excited as well, considering all the positive things we heard. We had booked our reservation a little earlier that same day and were lucky to get a seat, as the place was packed. 

We sat out in the covered patio area, which butts up against a couple other retailers, wow, talk about a shared retail space. Fans were blowing, but not overwhelming, keeping everything chill. The tables were close, but not so close you thought you would need to introduce yourself to folks sitting next to you or fear being considered rude. There were the occasional unexpected guests [aka, bugs] who dropped in to say hello, but not enough to send even the most squeamish running to duck for cover.

Speaking of duck, that was my choice from the menu, and wow it was in a word delicious, but being the carb-a-holic that I am, I was seriously jonesing for at the very least a thinly sliced baguette. The ducked paired wonderfully with the Bodegas 2008 Vaca Negra and the flank-steak strips Mrs. Cuvee enjoyed. 

The wine is elegant, deep fruit, dark plum, leather and earth, complex food wine, easy on the eyes and the wallet, very capable of pairing with many different food types and styles. The wine is a blend of 43% Mourvèdre, 36% Tempranillo and 21% Garnacha, it sells for $30 at the tasting room and $35 to purchase it from the restaurant's wine list. I'm convinced the reason they picked this wine from their neighbor next door for the menu is this wines wonderful food-pairing qualities.

Now the pairing I thought was dead on, one I lucked into with a bit of an educated guess on my part. It was not suggested by the restaurant, but it may be one they want to recommend it more often in the future, as no suggestions were coming our way at all. But we did get one of those "oh-my" looks from our waitress. This pairing is the perfect answer to; "what do I have on a blazing hot day in the middle of summer with or without any power?”. This pairing comes dressed to impress, appropriately, with Fresh Burrata, THO quince puree, handfuls of salad greens, fresh ripe-plum, lime oil, freshly baked croutons

Rhone Zone Mashup: The wine is from DAOU, their 2010 Chemin de Fleurs or as they say in France, "the Way of the Flower." The wine is a blend of three traditional Rhone grapes 48% Grenache Blanc, 26% Roussanne, 26% Viognier, light bodied, refreshing acidity, a drop of honey, white-florals and abundant fresh summer fruit. Top to bottom this wine is a food pairing champion with summer salads of many types and styles. 

Both of these elements came together for a very memorable sensory experience. The wine, in my opinion, is a bit on the pricey side of the equation, but I'm still at least 90 points as a whole, [keeping in mind the QPR] including the wine and the pairing. As for the burrata, wow I'm at least 93 points on that, wow lights out, freshness.

An okay folk that’s all I have for you today, tomorrow its back to Rioja as I have so much more to share with you about that amazing experience. Until next time, please continue to sip long and prosper cheers! *F
ull disclosure part of our trip was sponsored by the Martin Resorts, who invited me back for another bite at the apple.


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