we started day 2 of our wine trip with a big breakfast from carolyn and roland, the owners at our B&B. carolyn served spinach and leek quiche, sausage (tomatoes for me), scones, and baked apples with a brown betty crisp. it was all delicious, but the baked apples were above and beyond. luckily, carolyn gave me her recipe. we all talked about our plans for the day and carolyn and roland gave us some suggestions for wineries and dinner. we made a reservation at paso terra, an italian seafood restaurant on the square, for dinner later. then we embarked on our day!
we started at justin, because it's the furthest away and it was also recently voted best winery of the year in 2015. after driving about 25 minutes out, we stumbled upon justin. we were pretty confused because the tasting room was closed and there was an event sign near the gate. I was already getting mad about driving so far to find justin closed for a private event, but as it turned out - the event was their annual holiday party and was open to the public!
for $20 a person, we were able to walk through the chateau (which they said is never open to the public), listen to live music, taste about 5 wines with light bites of food.
we started on the outside of the property and walked through these gorgeous gates to the back lower level patio. here we tasted a chardonnay and enjoyed the expansive views.
it was slightly chilly on the lower level, so we proceeded upstairs to the upper outdoor level for more gorgeous views and tasty wine. the live music performed under the tent, which is also where we found the passed hors d'oeuvres and wine tastings.
the design of the outdoor upper level really reminded me of france in a very subdued but rich sort of way. there were vines growing all over the walls with several large garden structures.
after tasting justin's isoceles and one other red wine outside, we moved inside to taste the reserve cabernet. there were also cheese pairings with all the wines, which honestly was the best cheese I have ever had.
we bid adieu to justin after a couple hours of wine and live music. the crowd was really picking up and we were ready to head to our next vineyard, a recommendation from our B&B owners.
kiamie was our next stop, which was basically the exact opposite of justin - but equally as unique and fun. while justin was hosting an uppity holiday party, kiamie had a laid back backyard feel. we talked with greg, the owner and he actually served us each tasting of wine at our table, instead of us having to stand at the bar the whole time. it allowed us to not be rushed and just relax at our picnic table while watching the resident goat and llama (!).
greg was roasting a tri-tip on the grill and told everyone to grab a sandwich, like we were all friends. when stephen and I didn't get up immediately, greg made us a sandwich and brought it to us! it was then that my seat got stolen....
I loved watching these animals do their thing, it's not everyday that you get to see a llama.
we bought a bottle of kiamie unlocked, and decided to head out to a winery that we had heard good things about from other guests at the B&B, called niner.
you know that I will always write the truth, and to be honest, we were quite disappointed with the next stop. it was massive and cold feeling, we found a place to stay and mentioned we may do a bottle instead of a tasting and our server said he would give us a minute. it was such a turn off to me that he didn't feel inclined to ask us what we were interested in or tell us about the wine offerings. they were also using iPads to order on, which I typically hate. we ended up leaving because I just didn't feel any sort of connection with the place and wine tasting ain't cheap y'all.
we headed back to our B&B to enjoy some wine on our patio before freshening up for dinner.
I mentioned that our B&B recommended dinner at paso terra, we made a reservation for 5:45 because we are basically old people and we were actually starving since we didn't really have lunch. if you do any of my recommendations in paso - make it dinner at paso terra. I had a horseradish salmon with mashed potatoes and stephen had a salmon linguini in limoncello sauce. we were just beyond in heaven for the rest of the evening. andre and christina, the owners at paso terra, are super sweet but make sure you do a reservation because the restaurant is quite small and fills up quickly. after dinner, we wandered over to the pony club for outdoor live music under string lights with a big glass of halter ranch cabernet sauvignon.
I didn't bring my camera to dinner for obvious reasons (date night!) but I borrowed a couple photos from the interwebs to show you guys just how awesome of a night it was.
stay tuned for our last day in paso or start here if you missed the first couple of posts.