May 21, 2018

A Down Week with Paso Robles Wine Tasting

View of Justin Winery from the balcony of our room
E's parents came into town for a few days and I gladly traded miles for time with family.  They spent 2 nights in town, where we squeezed in dinners and lunches between work.  Then, on Thursday, we drove down to Paso Robles to spend two nights in wine country before they continued south to LA and we returned home.
Look closely, the flower buds are just starting for the grape bunches.  So cute!
Mileage for the week was 18.43, but I feel great about it, nonetheless.  I'd been pushing myself for a few weeks and the down week felt right.  Plus, I did manage to squeeze in the best track workout I've done this year (have I mentioned how much I love having the track 0.5 miles from my house!):

4X800/3minRest; 2X400/90sR (9:00; 8:51; 9:01; 9:06; 8:33; 8:53)

E and I are not as hardcore as some folks when it comes to wine-tasting.  It turns out, we're on roughly the same speed as his folks, which was a pleasant surprise.  We've done trips with people who want to hit 15 wineries -- it's just so exhausting and, honestly, not fun for us after the first few.  This trip was gloriously mellow and perfect.

Thursday we toured Justin and did a seated tasting in their special members' only lounge (that you get access to with the tour, even if you aren't a member).  1 winery, dinner out in town, and some post-dinner wine was perfect for us.

Friday, we had a leisurely morning (okay, some were more leisurely than others, I had some client commitments, so I worked while E and his dad hiked), and then we headed out for an olive oil farm tasting.

Kiler Ridge Olive Oil Tasting -- Highly Recommended.
If you've never done olive oil tasting, I highly recommend it.  Extra Virgin Olive Oil doesn't have a legal meaning in the US.  But the folks that take it seriously observe the European rules, and boy can you tell the difference between the Bertolli they start you with and all of the other artisanal options.

From there we quickly snacked on nuts and cheese to fortify ourselves and then toured and tasted at Tablas Creek (also highly recommended) before closing out the day at Brecon Estate (where there are picnic tables and the tasting servers will come to you with your next pour instead of requiring you to stand at the tasting bar).  For dinner we did the 5+ course meal at Justin and all of us agreed that it was amazing.  There are only 6 tables in the restaurant.  The night that we ate there, they only served 3 tables, each seated 30 minutes apart.  There was one server.  One head chef. One sous chef.  It was by far the most intimate meal out I'd ever experienced.

View of the Paso Robles hills from Kiler Ridge.
Overall, it was such a peaceful, lovely experience.  Low-key with lots of time to enjoy conversation with E's folks.  Very different than the last few times we'd gone winetasting.  We were definitely ensconced in the westside of Paso, a good thirty minutes from the town (cell service was very spotty, but the property had wifi), but that meant that the mornings were absolutely nothing but bucolic silence (until the hardcore folks showed up to start their tasting days at 10 AM).

Saturday AM, I took advantage of our location to run 2.25 miles in the vineyards under the fog from the Pacific, fitting in hill repeats on the tractor trails and paved sections wherever I found a good hill on the property (which I had to myself).  I did this workout without any music or phone, just me, the early morning vineyard noise and the fog.  I only had 30 minutes, but I made the most of it, enjoying one of the more satisfying workouts I've done in a long time.

Venus next to the moon on our drive back from town on Thursday after dinner.

Overall, I'd say my biggest emotion about last week was gratitude.  I was so grateful to be healthy and run when I could but not feel any pressure to do more than made sense.  I was even more grateful that E's parents came to us to spend time with us.  And, of course, I was grateful, as always, at just how gorgeous California is, and how lucky I am to be able to live here (and to visit the part of the state where some of my family is from).

No comments: