Sharing. Sharing a bottle. Sharing advice. Even sharing wine making facilities and space. Sharing is a huge part of how wine gets made and why it’s so enjoyable to drink. And sharing is a huge part of why Alta Colina Vineyard & Winery exists.
Visiting Alta Colina Vineyard & Winery
Alta Colina wouldn’t even have a tasting room except for the generous and sharing nature of their neighbors at Villacana Winery. Earlier this year Villacana owners Alex and Monica offered to let first-time winemaker Bob Tillman use their equipment and rented them an unused portion of their building so they could turn it into a cozy upstairs tasting room.
This is where we met Meg after a short drive down Adelaida Road, one of the most scenic winery-laden byways in the Paso Robles area. Her family’s brand new winery just finished its first bottling (2007) from their 31 acre vineyard of Rhone varietals, some of which have been bought by Justin Vineyards & Winery–a good sign in and of itself.
No doubt these are incredibly young vines (just three years old). However, the extremely refreshing and rounded white blend of Marsanne, Rousanne and Greanche Blanc, the pleasingly light GSM, two radically different Syrahs (one from grapes blended from different blocks of vines in the vineyard and one made exclusively from grapes grown in the mysteriously superior block #9), plus a pleasantly metallic/tobacco-laced Petite Syrah don’t taste like young’ins. The winery’s Viognier is still fermenting in the barrels but we can’t wait to taste that too.
Prices are on the high end ($28-$48), which Meg explained as a conscious decision by her father who believes that the wine is and will continue to be worth the price (particularly the 2008 Claudia Cuvee and the 2007 Old 900 Syrah, if you ask us). So rather than start out with lower first-bottling prices then have to raise them, Mr. Tillman wanted to set the bar where he feels it belongs from the outset.
Tasting room hours: Thursday – Sunday 11AM – 5PM.
Free or fee: $5 (free for wine club members)
Bar snacks: Wrapped morsels of Dove dark chocolate on the tasting room bar
Soundtrack: Billy Holiday
Bottle prices: $28-$48
Wine club: Yes and accepting new members. Alta Colina’s club offers a full 20% discount to members and only members of their wine club can buy the wonderfully earthy and seductive 2007 Old 900 Syrah (from the magical vineyard #9) and the already sturdy 2007 Ann’s Block Petite Syrah.
What we walked out with: A bottle of the super-refreshing and so-drinkable 2008 Claudia Cuvee white blend (for a limited time you can get a case of this stuff for $240!) and a bottle of 2007 Old 900 Syrah.