This guest-post comes to us from Mira Advani Honeycutt,author of California’s Central Coast, The Ultimate Winery Guide: From Santa Barbara to Paso Robles.
Before it was destroyed by a fire in 2004, this was home to Bonny Doon’s tasting room. Some of the bricks that survived were used to rebuild and re-create the original footprint of the building, and in 2006, Neil Collins, winemaker and one of the three partners of Lone Madrone was open for business. Collins, winemaker and vineyard manager for Tablas Creek Winery, takes time out to create a small production (3000 cases annually) for Lone Madrone, a label he founded in 1996. Grapes for the first 50 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon were sourced from the nearby York Mountain appellation.
Lone Madrone’s portfolio ranges from Rhone and Spanish varietals to Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. Amongst the whites, the 2008 La Mezcla is a refreshing blend of Garnacha Blanca and Albarino and the 2008 Points West White, a blend of Roussanne, Viognier and Picpoul Blanc is aromatic with honeysuckle and melon notes. Although, Paso’s Zinfandels tend to be bold and jammy, I found Lone Madrone’s 2007 Bailey Ranch Zinfandel to be elegant with balanced fruit and spice. The Syrah and Mourvedre blend is a symphony of dark berries and vanilla and the rich Cabernet Sauvignon is well balanced with tannins and fruit.
Veteran winemaker Kenneth Volk whose base is in Santa Maria shares space with Lone Madrone, showcasing wines he makes in the Paso appellation. Here you can taste Volk’s Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon as well as Spanish varietals like Touriga Nacional, Verdelho and Anglianico.
A couple of spring festivals are coming up where you can experience Paso appellation wines – the popular Zinfandel Festival (March 18-20) and the Earth Day Food & Wine Festival (April 15-17) when the Fat Cat Farms will lead a “plant your own organic garden” workshop on April 17th.