A House Grows in Paso

Our quick tour of Paso Robles concludes with a visit to Clayhouse Estate’s tasting room at 849 13th Street, just a door from Pianetta, which was reviewed in my previous post.

The tasting room is modern inside and our pourer had amazing energy and knowledge, which made our experience that much better. Clayhouse owns 1,400 acres of wine grapes and 400 acres of table grapes, the Red Cedar Vineyard, which is marked by a metal sculpture of a grape cluster on Highway 46.

The tasting fee is only $5 and waived with any wine bottle purchase.

I first tasted Clayhouse Cabernet Sauvignon at Mile Wine Company in Stockton, so I was familiar with the brand and anxious to see what else it had to offer. These are the wines we tried:

Clayhouse makes some intense reds.

2012 Estate Grenache Blanc/Viognier ($23): Citrus bursts on the nose with flavors of marzipan and lemon, mango and lychee, soft texture, pairs with Indian or Southeast Asian food. My rating 87/100

2011 Estate Syrah ($35): 97 percent Syrah and 3 percent Petite Sirah, fruit forward, raspberry, medium body, soft tannins, hint of vanilla, juicy red fruit flavors. Pairs with lamb or barbecued chicken. 92/100

2011 Estate Tempranillo/Cabernet Sauvignon ($35): 76 percent Tempranillo, 20 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 3 percent Syrah and 1 percent Tannat. Definite tobacco leaf aspect to the nose, clove, leather, cedar cigar box, long finish. 90/100

2011 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($35): Hand-picked and de-stemmed by hand, berry sorted with no crush, 20 months in new French oak, final blend added 6 percent Petite Verdot to deepen the color and flavors. Ripe black cherry, cedar, vanilla bean, toasty, mellow tannins and great acidity. 88/100

2011 Estate “Show Pony” Petite Sirah ($40): New release from Clayhouse’s 43-year-old vines, some of the oldest in the county, 100 percent hand-picked and aged 20 months in new French oak. Big mouthfeel, blueberries, black pepper, vanilla, rich, full-bodied. Definitely could lay this one down, though it drinks well now. 91/100

2011 All Blacks Red Wine (yet to be released): Tannat takes center stage here as 45 percent of the blend with 41 percent Petite Sirah, 5 percent Petite Verdot, 5 percent Malbec and 4 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. Only 11 cases produced. Big, velvety, bombastic. 94/100.

Paso Robles is a great stop for wine enthusiasts and anyone looking for a quaint spot to relax.    




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      Bob Highfill

      Record Sports Editor Bob Highfill is a wine enthusiast and has earned Level 3 certification with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust of London through the Napa Valley Wine Academy. Bob will share some of his experiences from his travels to Lodi and other prime wine locales in his blog and welcomes your suggestions, reviews and wine speak.
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