Have you been out to the new Halter Ranch Vineyard tasting room yet? No? Well, you need to get out there, because there is no way that I am going to adequately describe its beauty. Bright, with high ceilings and warm, wooden accents, it feels totally Paso (half “wine country,” half “cowboy”). Here, the tastings are still $10—waived if you buy a bottle. Your best bet? The 2013 CDP (Cotes de Paso), a mix of grenache, mourvedre, syrah, and tannat. This Rhone style blend is sourced from sustainably farmed grapes right there at the Halter Ranch estate vineyard. I love the fact that you can actually look out to that vineyard from the tasting room. In the distance, be sure to spot the Ancestor tree, which is said to be the largest oak in the area. I told you there was no way to describe the beauty of this place! Better get up and go while the weather’s still mild.
• Halter Ranch’s 2013 CDP—$32; 8910 Adelaida Road, Paso Robles.
When you think of Paso, you don’t really think of “chardonnay” and “pinot noir.” Those cool climate grapes are the crown jewels of Edna Valley for a reason (and that’s just common knowledge around these parts). But if you’re hankering for these two refined varietals and you find yourself north of the grade, I highly suggest you swing by Deovlet, a new tasting room nestled behind Cypher Winery on Highway 46 West. Their 2013 Sta. Rita Hills Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Chardonnay is a great place to start on a tasting list chockablock with complex pinots and capped by a structured Bordeaux blend. Bright and zesty with a Granny Smith bite, it will also offer a much needed palate cleanse after a long day of tasting the big, red blends Paso is known for. Oh, and the winery may sound French, but it’s totally not. Don’t worry, your friendly tasting room attendant will be happy to clear that misconception up in a jiffy, and she’ll even tell you how to properly pronounce it!
• Deovlet’s 2013 Sta. Rita Hills Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Chardonnay—$40 a bottle; 3750 Highway 46 West Paso Robles.
Hayley Thomas is looking for a refresher! Send your hot-weather coolers her way by emailing email@example.com.