While in Paso Robles recently, I checked out Artisan, an energetic spot in downtown Paso known for its take on local, seasonal ingredients, that I read about in a recent Paso travel piece by Tim Fish. I found the food spot on, from the chanterelle toast with bacon and a soft poached egg to the braised rabbit cavatelli with rabbit sausage and a mushroom ragu. The service was equally memorable, professional and friendly. I also liked that they had a daily warm cookie special for dessert!
I wanted to enjoy a local wine with the local food, so I ordered a glass of the Jacob Toft Paso Robles Mary Jane’s Cuvee 2004 ($15 a glass). I wasn’t familiar with the brand, but I heard the name mentioned by some of the local vintners I had met with earlier that day. I saw that it was a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre and was curious to see how a Paso Robles red Rhône-style blend would show with a few years in bottle.
It was a pleasant surprise. While some of the berry and red cherry flavors seem to have matured and faded slightly into the background, there were still plenty of spicy mineral and fresh earth flavors to keep my interest. I also liked the wine’s structure—it was sturdy enough to stand up to my entrée’s meaty ragu, but it had an air of elegance and sophistication to it, too. I rated it 89 points, non-blind.
WineSpectator.com members: Get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated red Rhône varieties and blends from California's Paso Robles region.