A little over a 5-hour drive from us sits Allegretto Vineyard Resort — a true wine oasis. After a quick road trip through the southwest desert and Californian farmlands, you arrive into the heart of Paso Robles.
Approaching the resort, you can feel the atmosphere begin to take over. Passing by other local wineries and pulling into the resort, you experience the blending of Italian heritage and world-class wines. The common theme at the resort is the Cello; everything from the shape of the property (the north edge of the property curves much like the instrument) to the design of the courtyard, the names of the wines, and the name of their on-site restaurant.
Allegretto’s resort includes over seven acres, with one of its three local vineyards sitting directly on the property. Working with Michelle during our tasting, she guides you through the full experience - working with your palette to get the perfect taste from each varietal.
The tasting list included a 2022 Cello Chardonnay, which is finished in stainless steel barrels, and was light, crisp, and citrusy. The 2019 Heart of the Vibe, a blend of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Tannat, had hints of lily and lavender and reminded me of my days in the Oregon wine country. The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Willow Creek Vineyard was a surprise because of how clean it finished. Not being a big Cab drinker, this one was very agreeable. The 2020 Cello Red, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, and Tannat. Ending with their 2018 Tannat from their Allegretto Vineyard on property.
As someone early on in their wine journey, each tasting was truly unique and tasteful. The progression from Chardonnay to Tannat helped the palette develop and enjoy the flavors and notes of each unique bottle. To my surprise, the robust Tannat was easily the favorite. The grapes originated from southern France through Uruguay and are now grown across the globe. With notes of butterscotch, cherry, and tobacco, it was rich and smooth. Tannat is also touted as one of the “healthiest” wines due to its high level of antioxidants.
Shortly after the tasting, there was little time to explore the resort itself, from the breathtaking art pieces to the peaceful courtyard, bocce ball court, and the chapel. I think the most impressive piece may have been a cross-section of a sequoia tree that was felled in 1952, dating back to before 214 BC (before the Great Wall of China was built).
Moving on to dinner, we sat down at Cello Ristorante, the on-site restaurant and bar. Looking for the absolute best experience to share with our readers, I entrusted our server, Betsy, to pick out their top dishes and drinks. She also informed me about the fact that they have not only resort guests who eat here but also regular locals.
I started off with one of Cello’s signature cocktails, the New Fashion — an amazing twist on the regular Old Fashioned that includes Basil Hayden Bourbon, Nitro-Infused Vanilla Espresso Turbo (made in-house and infused with a cinnamon smoke directly from a fresh cinnamon stick, an orange, and Angostura bitters.
Betsy started our meal with the Shrimp & Risotto dish, made with garlic roasted shrimp, spring peas, mascarpone, baby arugula, pecorino romano, truffle, tomato confit, and Calabrian romesco. As I took my first bite, it was almost an out-of-body experience. The blends of flavors from the garlic shrimp, bitter arugula, and smooth cheeses didn't last long on the dish.
Shortly after, the 16-ounce Lamb Rack and a glass of the 2017 Tannat arrived. After admiring the truly beautiful plating (stacked upright and together), it was time to revel in the dish. Paired with fresh grilled vegetables, a buttermilk and confit garlic mash, and drizzled with a Tannat demi-glace, this dish was more impressive than the first dish, which I thought would be hard to top.
Finally, it was time for the Triple Chocolate Bomb. A chocolate soufflé cake with raspberry dark chocolate mousse, framboise scented ganache, topped with toasted almonds, chocolate chunks, fresh raspberries and blackberries, and a white chocolate sauce. The softness of the cake and mouse, with the crunch of the almonds, made this subtle, sweet, and too good to pass up and completely devour.
Next time you’re looking for an extended weekend trip, look no further than Paso Robles and Allegretto Vineyard Resort. They book fast for the weekends as they are always hosting music, art, yoga, and other events, so be sure to plan this one out soon.
Passing by other local wineries and pulling into the resort, you experience the blending of Italian heritage and world-class wines.