By Kat Thomas, Editor in Chief, Edible Skinny
We finished off our second night of tasting of wine tasting in Paso at the Allegretto Vineyard Resort by Ayres.
Tucked into the beautiful hills of the Paso Robles Wine Country, on 20 acres of vineyards and olive and fruit trees, this European-style retreat is the first of its kind by the Ayres family, who has run a thriving Ayres Hotel chain throughout Southern California since 1904.
The property is a world unto itself with 171 guest rooms and suites, a wine bar featuring the resort's own private wine label among many others, full-service spa, pool, manicured gardens, walking paths, medieval-style Abbey, hundreds of antiques, 12,000-square-foot courtyard. The space, a passion project of world traveler Doug Ayres, includes inspired vignettes of art that emphasize the world of sacred geometry. Antiques and artifacts from across the globe and the ages, including a five-foot stone polished to a beautiful sheen after tumbling in a river in India for 5,000 years; a towering Siddhartha statue from India; and a massive cross-section from a Sequoia tree whose rings date back to before the building of the Great Wall of China and the birth of Christ.
Allegretto was named for the Italian musical command, which is an indication to play quickly and with joy. And it is with this happiness that we sampled four Allegretto Estate Wines. One of my favorites was the Tannat, Bella Collina Vineyard, 2013 (since this is one of my personal favorite varietals). With a nose of cinnamon and anise, and a palate of cherries and earth this wine makes you feel like your drinking terra firma. Another wine we cherished was their Zinfandel, Loma Linda Vineyard 2013. A “waltzing wine” it flaunts its palate turns of White Peppers, Blackberries, and Blueberries
We continued the gastronomic festivities at Allegretto’s restaurant: Cello Ristorante & Bar, a culinary getaway that “celebrates the Allegretto culture of joy, discovery and the good life.” A farm to fork dining adventure that focuses on Northern Italian cuisine. We started our meal out with some fantastic cocktails. I dabbled in a Gold Fashioned, a modern day take on the Old Fashioned composed of Eagle Rare Bourbon, Benedictine Liqueur, Angostura Bitters, Lemon Essence, and actual Gold. Kelly had the Paso R&R concocted of Re:Find Cucumber Vodka, Rhubarb Simple, Lime Juice, Rose Bitters, and Champagne. The poet remarked, “It tastes like an acceptance letter to Harvard.”
We then perused the menu for some items from Executive Chef Eric Olson to nosh on while we were biding our time for the sun to set. Between bits of a Burrata Martini, with all the classic highlights of heirloom tomatoes, Burrata, and Balsamic Vinegar and a Butter Leaf Lettuce Salad with Thyme Seared Day Boat Scallops, Morro Bay Avocado, Mango, Pickled Sushi Ginger, topped with a Creamy Eberle Chardonnay Reduction Dressing. Trés Yummm, with 3 Ms!
After a sunset stroll of the grounds we returned to Cello our main meals. I delighted in my Foraged Mushroom including Eggplant, Shallots, Leeks, Garlic, Italian Parsley, Shaved Truffle Cheese, and a contrasting Winter Salad topping it all off. It was like eating the coziness of a winter sweater. Our dining companion dived into the Crab Spaghetti which included Snow Crab Claws, Sliced Jalapenos, and Minced Scallions, Lemon, Allegretto Viognier Butter.
Allegretto was the Pièce de résistance on a trip that allowed us to explore the expansive evolution of this burgeoning wine region. Paso has now become a wine space that people are taking note of, in 2016 Paso Robles named Best Wine Region in the West by Sunset Magazine.
So if you’re looking for an escapes only four hours away from Los Angeles (or San Francisco), hop in that car and start heading towards your getaway.