When I was selecting wineries for my Paso Robles trip, I sought out places known for having a high QPR (quality to price ratio). While it is fun to visit high-end wineries where the wines cost $100+ a bottle, I find it more rewarding to find amazing wines for less than $20 a bottle. Those places exist, but they are much harder to find. Penman Springs is one of those places.
In addition to offering some really great wines at reasonable prices, there were two other things that made this visit special. First, the owner of the winery was pouring the wines on the day we visited. For someone like me who wants to learn about the winery, how they make the wines, and their reasons behind their wine styles and preferences, having access to the owner or winemaker is wonderful. You also are guaranteed to hear the passion behind the operation, which is not always the case with a new-to-the-team tasting room employee.
Second, and I really do not understand why more wineries do not do this, they had a wide array of cheeses, olive oil and bread available (at no charge) to enjoy with the wines. In so many cases, this option has made me love the wines more as it can give some context to how the wines will go with food. This is particularly an issue, in my opinion, in the afternoon after one has been to a few places and the palate is worn out from trying many wines.
OK – the wines. There were eight of them in the tasting which is a lot but really gave me a nice array to sample. The 2010 Rose (from Syrah, $15) was really lovely; bone dry with a fruity nose (this is common in roses). The reds we tasted were primarily from Bordeaux varietals, and were rich and full-bodied. My favorites 07 Reserve Cab ($26), the Meritage blend ($24, mostly cab and merlot) and the wonderful 08 Syrah ($18). This wine has aromas of dark berries with smooth and well-integrated tannins.
I highly recommend a visit, especially if you are looking to buy wine to drink every day or on special occasions. You won’t find many places selling wine at this quality level for these prices.
Rating: 4 out of 4 – highly recommend