Tag Archives: River Road

Paraiso Vineyards | Monterey County, CA

Paraiso Vineyards

Paraiso Vineyards

There is something magical about the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County, CA.  Whether it’s the cloudless blue skies, the cool breezes that float through the Salinas Valley or the sweeping views from the hillside vineyards, there’s something truly intoxicating about the area.

The view from Paraiso Vineyards

The view from Paraiso Vineyards

Paraiso Vineyards

Paraiso Vineyards

During my last visit, I spent an afternoon at Paraiso Vineyards.  Paraiso is one of the 13 or so tasting rooms located along the River Road Wine Trail, which is the main tasting route through the Valley.

Paraiso Vineyards is owned and operated by the Smith family – one of the first wine grape growing families in the Santa Lucia Highlands.  The Smith family settled in the area in the early 1970’s and they’ve been crafting delicious, small production wines for 40 years.

Paraiso Vineyard

Paraiso Vineyard Tasting Room

Located high above River Road, the views at Paraiso Vineyards are absolutely stunning.  We grabbed our first taste – a 2010 Chardonnay – and headed outside to sit on the deck and enjoy the gorgeous day.

Paraiso Vineyards - the perfect place for a dream wedding

Paraiso Vineyards – the perfect place for a dream wedding

Paraiso Vineyards

Paraiso Vineyards

Our tasting included 7 wines for a $5 fee.  All the wines we tried were estate grown with the exception of a juicy 2009 “Irie” Zinfandel crafted from Paso Robles grapes by third generation Smith family member, Justin Murphy.

Our dog Booker enjoying the view

Our dog Booker enjoying the view

Paraiso Vineyards

Paraiso Vineyards

Paraiso Vineyards

Paraiso Vineyards

Not only were all the wines we tasted really good, but they were also surprisingly affordable with the most expensive bottle – the 2008 “Wedding Hill” Syrah – priced at $45.  My personal favorites were the 2010 Riesling ($16) which is made of grapes selected from 35 year old vines, and the 2009 Estate Pinot Noir ($25).

We spent nearly two hours sitting outside at Paraiso and could have easily spent another two enjoying the gorgeous views.  Paraiso Vineyards is a beautiful winery with beautiful wines to match.

Click here to visit the Paraiso Vineyards website.

PARAISO VINEYARDS
38060 Paraiso Springs Road
Soledad, CA  93960
Phone:  (831) 678-0300
Tasting room hours: 11AM – 4PM Weekdays; 11AM – 5PM Weekends

Wrath Wines | Monterey County, CA

Wrath Wines

Wrath Wines

The Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County was yet-to-be-explored wine country for me until a couple of weekends ago. After spending two perfect days soaking up as much of the area as I could, I found it to be a unique and very special place.

The SLH AVA sits in the Salinas Valley between the Santa Lucia and Gabilan Mountain Ranges, and enjoys a true cool climate thanks to fog and breezes blowing in from the Monterey Bay. This makes it absolutely ideal for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah – varieties that dominate in the area. As a serious fan of Pinot Noir, I couldn’t wait to taste some new wines.

Wrath Wines

We spent most of our time on the River Road Wine Trail, which is essentially the main artery through the Valley and home to approximately 13 tasting rooms. The area is covered by over 50 vineyards, but most of them are private and solely grow grapes to sell to wine makers. We stopped at many of the tasting rooms along the wine trail, but I absolutely fell in love with Wrath Wines.

Exterior of the Wrath Wines tasting room

Exterior of the Wrath Wines tasting room

Aside from the fact that it’s surrounded by gorgeous vineyards, the Wrath Wines tasting room was not an immediate stunner. That is, until we stepped inside. Once I walked through the front door, I felt like I had entered a hidden oasis.

A view of the outdoors from inside the Wrath Wines tasting room

Wrath Wines tasting room

Wrath Wines

Inside, the tasting room was modern, simple & bright. We had our dog, Booker, with us and he was immediately welcomed to join us indoors. He quickly became friends with a winery dog named Penny and the two of them chased each other through the vines the entire time we tasted. We decided to grab our first taste and join the doggies outside.

Sip Certified Wrath Wines

Wrath Wines

Wrath tasting menu

We enjoyed an outstanding line up of Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs, and Syrahs while relaxing by the pond. We also ordered a plate of crackers with local, hand crafted Monterey Jack cheese from Schoch Family Farmstead.

The cheese is hand-made just down the road from the winery by the Schoch family who have owned and operated their small dairy since 1944. It was so yummy and paired so nicely with the wine that I hunted it down at The Cheese Shop in Carmel – right next to Wrath’s smaller Carmel tasting room.

Stunning views at Wrath Wines

Penny showing our dog Booker around the property…

Wrath Wines

Pond at the Wrath Wines tasting room

Outdoor seating at Wrath Wines

Outdoor seating at Wrath Wines

Wrath Wine & Schoch Family Farmstead Cheese

Wrath’s adorable winery dog, Penny

An incredible old building that sits next to the vineyards and can be seen on the label of every bottle of Wrath wine.

Even after spending a couple of hours at Wrath Wines, I didn’t want to leave. The stunning scenery, amazing wine, and friendly people made the whole experience unforgettable. I can’t think of a better place to lose track of an afternoon. Wrath is not to be missed.

Click here to visit the Wrath Wines website.

WRATH WINES
35801 Foothill Road
Soledad, CA 93960
Phone: (831) 678-2212
Email: info@wrathwines.com
Tasting room hours: 11AM – 5PM Friday through Monday