The fourth stop on our small-scale wine tour of the Paso Robles region was Lone Madrone, tagline: a “west side winery!” Of course, one of my first questions was: what’s with the name? Well, the Madrone is a type of tree found along the west coast, and the owner found a single one somewhere…and…well, at this point, this was the third winery we visited on my day of tasting, and it was before lunch, and I don’t remember the rest of the story. I’m sure it was beautiful.
Lone Madrone was recommended to us by our friends Joe and Sarah, who previously lived in San Luis Obispo and have lots of fun memories of wine tasting in Paso. Lone Madrone doesn’t grow any of their own grapes, a practice which I commend and plan to replicate. Completely different skills are required of wine growers and wine makers, and that’s OK, though most people don’t admit this. Brewers don’t grow and process their own grains, malt, and hops, they just make beer with these raw ingredients. Wine makers don’t need to grow their own grapes. Lone Madrone also produces goat cheese, and they do have their own goats roaming about, scenting the premises…so they don’t seem to source their goats’ milk. Hmm.
The tasting is $10 for x number of wines…8 or 9, maybe? Seems to vary depending on how busy they are and how interested you are in their wines. Your tasting fee is refunded with the purchase of three bottles, which might sound unreasonable, but there is a huge range available and they don’t discriminate on the cost of the bottle purchased (i.e. the $10/bottle cider is cool).
Once again, we were the only people in the tasting room, something I was just eating up. Again, it was small — it would have felt unbearably crowded with another ten people at the counter. One of the main reasons we went to Madrone is that they focus on dry farmed wines, and they also produce a hard cider. It’s a good cider, somewhere between the sweet, light American style and the intriguing, funky French style. We liked it more than Julian’s hard cider. It actually tastes a lot like our first attempt at making hard cider…by fermenting Indian Summer apple juice. Yum. This is in no way intended as a disparagement, as that was some of the best cider I’ve ever had (we just can’t recreate it, for some reason).
They also had probably the best tasting White Zin I’ve ever had, but they call it Zin Blanco instead of White Zin as if they’re ashamed of the association. And we had a fantastic red Zin, that, while still outside our budget, was just as good as the Zin that was twice as expensive at Turley.
I’m not sure if Lone Madrone is available at your local wine store — if you do happen to see it, it’s definitely worth a try.