The next day we started with one of Paso’s pioneers, established in 1981, the enchanting Adelaida Vineyards & Winery. Peaking at an elevation of 2,320 feet, the Adelaida Estate marks the highest point in the Paso Robles AVA and is an impressive patchwork of mountain vineyards and ancient soils. The vineyard is composed of 2,000 acres, but only 168 acres are planted with grape vines with another 600 acres of organic dry farmed walnuts, the rest of the space is open for vegetation and animals.
As soon as we got there we were whisked away on a TT&T – Tour, Taste, and Tailgate. For only $50 guests see first-hand the landscape, vineyard practices, and the terroir that bring their wines to life. The tour culminates with a tailgate picnic at 2,300 feet. As Adelaida staff member Paul notes, (who has a side hustle business of owning 24 sheep that weed for local farmers), “tastings come with an outrageous view and charcuterie. Our SUV ride up to the top of a mountain (see the Drone footage on our YouTube page) was with Jeremy Weintraub, Adelaida winemaker. Though best known for its Rhône wines, Weintraub creates classic wines at Adelaida – Cabernet, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. He noted, “I’m happiest when wine is described in emotional terms. My primary motivation is to make distinctive and beautiful wines.”
We then descended to 2320 Hilltop, another SUV stop under a canopy of a 100 year old oak trees with breathtaking views of the Santa Lucia Mountains. There we explored Adelaida’s Picpoul Blanc. Picpoul is an ancient variety, native to the Languedoc of southern France, that’s the new white wine in town. Luscious, straw color, the wine is immediately brisk and refreshing. With pings of Lemon zest, grapefruit tang, flavors of juicy pineapple with deceptively rich and expansive finish reminiscent of guava nectar and cashews, the wine received 90 points in Wine Spectator for Adelaida.
After a descent to the tasting room, we sampled another one of Adelaida’s standout wines, their Cabernet Sauvignon from the Viking Estate Vineyard. The wine was firmly rich with accents of tobacco, dirt, and dark chocolate. It tasted of the warm of a velvet cloak donned before a winter ball.