We took a short drive to Carmody McKnight Estate Wines. This magnificent winery was one of the first places we stopped on our first visit to Paso nearly two years ago. We ran into Wine Maker Greg Cropper and Kathleen Carmody in the parking lot. Greg told us they had recently come across a few bottles of their ’03 Cheval Rouge and made sure a bottle got opened for us to taste alongside the ’05 vintage when we went in. We also got a chance to visit with owner Gary Conway and admired some of his new pieces of art. This winery is gorgeous, set on a piece of land with a beautiful lake near the end of Chimney Rock Road. Their tasting room/gallery is a must if you visit Paso. Gary and Greg are passioniate about and proud of the wines they make and with good reason. They’re among the best we have tasted in the region.
The last stop on Chimney Rock is Justin Vineyards and Winery. Justin has earned a reputation as one of the finest wine producers in the state. We received a warm welcome and were escorted to a table where we were guided through a tasting by four different people in their lovely tasting room. The wines were outstanding, especially the Tempranillo, Savant and Isoceles and I was fortunate enough to grab one of the two remaining 3 liter bottles of Isoceles Reserve, number 7 of 26. I love their whimsical “no parking” sign.
Judy Starr is Kate and Jake’s neighbor and we made a visit to Starr Ranch our last stop of the day. Judy not only grows some of the finest grapes in Paso, she produces outstanding wines and lends her facilities to up and coming ultra small production wine makers. Two of those were on hand when we visited. Bob Fuller is producing DeoDoro wines and Glenna Tompson is crafting Symbiosis Wines. I tasted through Bob’s and Glenna’s wines and got a chance to visit with both of them. The wines produced at Starr Ranch have yet to disappoint me. We nibbled on dried persimmons and smoked salmon, chatted with Judy and drank some of her wines and called it a day. Next up, we stop at RN Estate, Anglim Winery, Kiamie Cellars, EOS Winery, Zenaida Cellars, Gray Wolf and the Zinfandel Festival.
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