After some amazing tastings along the ridgelines of Paso Robles, we chose to experience some of the tasting rooms in the center of town. Our first stop: Herman Story Wines.
The center of Paso Robles is hard to describe as “downtown.” This charming bit of small-town America has restaurants, fun shops, and even an intriguing dune buggy rental facility that we struggled to drive past. Just a few block from the highway was the aptly named home to Herman Story Wines: Paso Robles Street. Since most buildings in Paso Robles are single story there was plenty of street parking by the tasting room. We parked directly in front of the store-front tasting room and went in to have our first experience with Herman Story Wines.
We entered the tasting room to find several happy groups of wine tasters along a beautiful live-edge wood bar. There were large plate glass windows through which we could see wine barrels stacked tall. We met wine guide Mollie who was ably handling each group. She welcomed us and got us started with our tasting with their 2016 “Tom Boy” Viognier. The nine months spent on new French oak lent a dry and gentle fruitiness that distinguished it from most Viogniers. We all agreed that this would be a great starter for a BBQ. We learned from Millie that Herman Story Wines sources their grapes from thirty vineyards Santa Barbara and Paso Robles. The right grape for every bottle!
We next tasted their 2016 “On the Road” Grenache, made with fruit from five different vineyards. It seemed that each vineyard put forward a brash cherry note that danced with the other four! A fun wine to sip while watching football on a brisk autumn Sunday. Mollie poured their 2017 “Milk & Honey” blend to instant acclaim from all of us. Our Take Home list had its leader! Smokey and mysterious with dark plum notes leading to a honeycomb finish, this blend of 34% Tempranilli, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Syrah, 14% Petit Verdot, and 6% Grenache was a wonderful demonstration of owner/winemaker Russell P. From’s skill.
Their 2017 “Nuts & Bolts” Syrah was a real explosion in the mouth, in the best possible way. We all agreed that this was a wonderful representation of the Syrah grape. Mollie then surprised us with an off-flight pour of their 2017 “Larner” blend. Combining Syrah and Grenache, this wine showed nice complexity and featured a finish that kept us coming back for more. Our final taste was their 2014 “Bien Nacido” Grenache. Featuring Ranier cherry and tobacco notes, we loved the comparison with the 2016 Grenache that we had tasted earlier.
There was just enough time for one more tasting in our day, so we quickly purchased our wine and thanked Mollie for her attention. Off to our last tasting of the day!
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?