Starr Ranch Winery and Crooked Road (part 3 of 3)

This is the last post in a 3 part series on drinking wine in Paso Robles.  If you missed parts 1 and 2, you may want to start there.  Part 1 is an overview of Paso Robles as a wine region.  Part 2 tells you about all the wineries we visited during our trip.  This final part showcases Starr Ranch Winery, one of the wineries we visited on our trip.

Our last stop of the day on Saturday was Starr Ranch Winery.  Before going to Paso, while we were researching where to visit and scouring every corner of the internet, this winery didn’t come up much.  We found Starr Ranch because of a conversation at Turley — the sweet woman who was pouring for us mentioned we could find her son, Ryan, making wine there.

Starr Ranch was scheduled to close at 5:00p and we pulled into the driveway at about 4:55p.  In the rush to get in the door, I only took terrible, blurry photos.  So, instead, here’s a picture of the Starr Ranch property that’s shown on their website (though, this is pretty much how it looked for us, too).

The path up the driveway and through the hills around the winery was gorgeous.  Next time we’ll try to picnic somewhere around there.

We walked into a big barn, down a corridor lined by wine barrels, and up to the tasting bar just as a group of people were finishing up.  We nervously asked the woman behind the counter, whom we later found out was owner Judy, if we were too late.  She shook her head and happily agreed to pour for us.

As we tasted we munched on the vineyard’s dried persimmons (not sure they’re the best palette cleanser?).  We ended up walking out the door with a bottle of rosé and a bag of persimmons.

As we were gearing up to leave, we ran into Ryan.  We excitedly told him his mom sent us looking for him.  He was immediately warm and friendly.  He motioned for us to join him among his barrels of wine.

Here’s a view looking out from the barrels toward the vineyard (the black lump is a doggie).

While Ryan makes his wine at Starr Ranch, he has his own personal label called Crooked Road.  (We learned while we were touring around that several labels commonly share one wine making facility.)

Ryan is insanely passionate about wine and wine making.  He is an amazing teacher.  He told us all about the grapes and blends he’s trying out.  He used a wine thief to pull samples from the different barrels and let us taste custom blends.

He also showed us around the equipment.  On the left is the grape crusher.  In the middle (under the plastic tarp) is Ryan’s vinegar project.

Here’s what fermenting vinegar looks like:

We had such an amazing time hanging out with Ryan and learning about wines.  We talked until it was dark.

We were lucky enough to try a wine he’s working on now, called Resurrection.  It was still in the tank, but it already tastes amazing!  Next time we’re in Paso we’ll definitely be back…and looking for bottles of his Odysseus and (hopefully!) Resurrection.

Thank you, Ryan, for such a special experience!



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