Life is all about quality, not quantity, right? The same goes for good wine. Although I tasted just two releases from Stanger Vineyards’ luscious lineup recently, I came away feeling like I had experienced something very special. I visited the Creston Road tasting room, where the golden property is speckled with antique farm equipment and owner Roger Stanger loves to spin a good yarn. Inside, the vibe was all Old World elegance, with classical music playing on the stereo and historic documents on the wall (many harken all the way back to 1832, the year Daniel Stanger immigrated from France to America). The winery also boasts a Vineyard Drive tasting room location—which makes sense, as their grapes are sourced from the coveted Willow Creek District. Whichever tasting room you choose, do yourself a favor and sample a dash of the 2009 Master, an alluring, complex, and perfectly balanced blend of cabernet sauvignon, syrah, malbec, and tempranillo. It’s the kind of classic, timeless wine you’re almost just satisfied enough to sniff and swirl. Almost.
• Stanger’s 2009 Master Blend—$56; 5225 Highway 41 at Creston Road, Paso Robles.
When I think Le Vigne Winery, I instantly think, “Cheeeeeeeeeese!” Why, you ask? In addition to producing world-class wines, the Paso Robles hot spot is known as a go-to source for gourmet and artisan cheeses from around the world (in fact, they were one of the very first tasting rooms in the area to combine the two delicacies). Reserve your own epic wine and cheese pairing at their website, and while you’re there, bask in the glow of recipes like Parmesan and prosciutto mac and cheese. Which, I might add, would go gangbusters with this 2014 chardonnay. Swoon!
• Le Vigne Winery’s 2013 Central Coast Chardonnay—About $18; 6115 Buena Vista Drive, Paso Robles.
Hayley Thomas is always cheesy. Send divine drink suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.