Being in Paso Robles one cannot miss an opportunity to taste some local wine. No really, you just should not fight the inevitable. The area has a plethora of good and great wines to experience, and with so many to get through, one you miss is the one you may never get to. With that in mind, a visit to the East side and off to the north for a change of pace was the choice. Technically in San Miguel it was later discovered, the venue was Villa San-Juliette. It has a spectacular facility that is perhaps even a little intimidating. But not to worry, as it really is just wine.
Driving through the gates and up to the Villa is a transporting experience, taking you from the back roads of rural Paso Robles / San Miguel and into the lifestyles of the rich and famous. The facility is positioned on the top of a rolling hill and overlooks the surrounding vineyards in grand style. The Tuscan style tasting room was just opened this last October 2012 and it is truly beautiful.
Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick (successful TV producers), purchased the vineyard in 2005 and originally named the winery Villa San Michelle. Taking note that there was another “Michelle” in the wine industry, Ken and Nigel stood among their vines and put their creative juices to work to rename the winery. In the final draw, the winery was named for Ken’s lovely wife, Julie, and thus was born Villa San-Juliette. While rookies in the wine business, their business savvy and ability to build a successful team appears to have them on the right track. The dream was born during a trip Nigel took to Napa Valley. Ken caught the fever and the journey then began to find a vineyard to bring the dream to fruition. While a bumpy road to their dream they stuck to it and have see it start to blossom.
With two lines wine for sale, an Estate label and a more cost approachable line called Fat Monk. The boys will be going back to take a closer look at the Fat Monk label among other things as the “We call it the Tuesday-Wednesday wine” has our attention.
The tasting of the Estate line was a very pleasant experience expertly handled by Leanne. All the wines were very shareable and one in particular was not only very nice to drink but had an exceptional price point. The bottle purchase of the taste was the Signature Blend ‘Chorus”. At a 7 and **** it was too good a value not to buy. All the wines tasted were well worth trying and were very nice. You will undoubtedly find a few new favorites. Villa San-Juliette also offers a nice selection of Small Bites daily to enhance your wine tasting experience. These small bites are prepared with the wines in mind as they seek to bring out the subtleties of the wines. A nice touch particularly when it’s a ways to a restaurant.
While this was a quick stop and tasting, we would look forward to going back and talking with some of the folks behind the scenes as this has all the potential of becoming a destination winery in the area.
This winery and its wines get a ‘Recommend’ from us. Go on by and check it out and let them know we sent you.
Happy Tasting Adventures,
Kiwi & Koala
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