A big New Year’s thank you to our travel reporter Kathy Chin Leong for this great article
There’s no hatchet throwing, no swim-up bar, not even a popcorn pairing in sight. But Jude Radeski, general manager at Adelaida Vineyards & Winery in Paso Robles, Calif. says they prefer to keep it old school and “let the wines speak for themselves.” While many wine establishments find themselves adding activities to their tasting menus, the folks running the Central Coast entity are focused on making their small batch of 12,000 cases of wines the best that they can be.
So enter the lineup of Adelaida chardonnay, red Rhone blend, pinot noir, and cabernet sauvignon. Collectors still care that the 2019 Signature Cabernet got 95 points form Vinous and 94 points from the Wine Advocate. Wine club members look forward to the annual pickup party where a local chef whips up a gourmet dinner on the premises that overlook the vineyards, walnut groves, and Santa Lucia Coast mountain range.
In Napa Valley, no-frill tastings can spike upwards to $100 or more. In Paso Robles, you’ll find the fees less traumatizing. At Adelaida, the base tasting fee runs $25, good for five pours. And, by the way, if you want to tackle five cherished reserve wines, that sets you back only $40. Instead of sipping from five different glasses, customers are given one each. The host pours you wine from different carafes.
Adelaida is not one of those places you happen to stumble upon. It is anchored on a hillside up five winding miles from the base of Adelaida Road. Crowning the property is a modern wood, steel, and glass two-story edifice with indoor and outdoor balconies. Those who care about ambiance as well as wine will be happy to know that the building is new, erected in 2016, and, it practically gleams.
Gone are the days, at Adelaida anyway, where you pony up to the bar and line up for a pour. No more huddling, folks. The reservations-only tasting makes you feel as if you are inside a close friend’s living room or seated in a white tablecloth restaurant.
The top level is where you enter, and groupings of couches and tables provide for ample tasting opportunities. The vibe is contemporary but cozy with original landscape oil paintings from artist Erin Hanson.
Do consider the seasonal $90 Signature Hilltop Tasting where you will be escorted via van to the pinnacle of the property to its newest outdoor patio. The 360-degree gift of mountain ranges, vineyards, and farmlands makes you feel as if you are back to the pioneer days of the 1800s. While here, you leisurely imbibe a slate of five library titles.
Today, the winery is emerging from the shadows. It has won numerous accolades, notably the 2020 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay earned 96 points from Wine Advocate magazine.
The brand spans 1800 undulating acres but only 150 is cultivated for wine. Every grape in an Adelaida bottle is 100 percent estate-grown. In fact, says Paul Sowerby, the national sales manager who has worked there for 25 years, the bragging point at Adelaida is that “it is very unusual for an estate winery to have cabernet, chardonnay, and pinot noir grapes and produce these wines at such a high level.”
According to general manager Radeski, the limestone soil, plus ocean breezes and marine layer that sends a seasonal fog creates a taste that brings out the bright flavor and juiciness of the fruit.
Foodies should opt for the $75 Food and Wine experience held in the downstairs library room at a long table. Here, you are treated to sipping from specific glassware for each wine which is paired with small bites.
The $75 Signature Experience brings you to the downstairs living room fronted by the working wine operation where you can see the tanks. Signature wines are paired with a charcuterie platter filled with cured meats, dried fruits, and local cheeses.
Why come to Adelaida among the many Paso wineries? Two reasons. Location, location, location. The wine, the wine, the wine.