TravelPaso

Paso Robles Sparkling Wines Made in the Traditional Way

Vino Vargas Paso Doble sparkling wine is just one of the many award-winning wines available through the wine club or by visiting the winery.

Champagne France is over 5000 miles from Paso Robles, but you can get a taste of that delicious bubbly just North of Paso Robles near the town of San Miguel. 

There are various ways to make a wine sparkle with bubbles but there is only one way in Champagne and at Vino Vargas – the traditional method pioneered by Dom Perignon and Madame Clicquot in the 1800s.  Producing the bubbles inside the bottle with a second fermentation, riddling the bottle by hand until it is crystal clear and then removing the yeast (disgorging) and applying the cork and cage. It’s tedious and hard work but the bottle-by-bottle, manual process is how Pedro Vargas at Vino Vargas winery makes his Paso Doble Sparkling Wine. He named it Paso Doble to reflect: a) the wine is from “Paso” Robles, b) it requires a double (Doble) fermentation, and c) it’s the name of a Spanish dance that reflects the grace and elegance of this wine that has a bubbly personality. 

Each year the wine is released at the end of the new harvest at the Vargas Harvest Winemaker Dinner. The festivities begin when Pedro’s wife, Vicky, a certified sommelier, sabers a bottle to celebrate the occasion.  This year the dinner is November 10th and, like every year prior, tickets are limited and will sell out. Begin the evening with passed hors d'oeuvre and the Paso Doble, then enjoy a four-course dinner served with a Vino Vargas wine that complements each dish. But don’t despair, they do offer tasting previews prior to the ceremonious release date.

In addition to the sparkling wine, Vino Vargas currently offers Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Grenache, a Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre blend, Tempranillo, and Cabernet Sauvignon, along with two Port-style dessert wines – a red and a white. 

A white Port? Yes. Just as “Champagne” is a term that should only be used to describe wines from that region, “Port” describes the manner and origin of that wine.  That’s why Pedro is careful to describe these wines as “Port-style” dessert wines – they are made in the winery in the Paso Robles vinicultural area. The white Port-style wine is called “Oro” – Spanish for gold – that describes the color of this wine. Like a late-harvest dessert wine, Oro has flavors of honey, aromas of jasmine, and pairs very well with desserts such as Crème Brulee.  Served cold, the Oro is crisp and refreshing to the palate, not syrup-sweet or overwhelming. 

These wines are not available in your local grocery store, but you can taste, savor, and buy the wines by visiting Vino Vargas in their scenic, Westside winery just outside the town of San Miguel, 8 miles north of Paso Robles. The quiet country setting with views of vineyards and rolling hills is perfect for the wine lover looking for something a littlequieter and special. Open daily, visitors should call or email the winery to assure they will get attended to personally be the winemaker, Pedro, and his wife, Vicky. 

The tasting room is open without appointments during all area wine events, such as Harvest Weekend, Zinfandel Vintage Weekend, and Wine Fest. For reservations call: (805) 369-1440. Vino Vargas is located at 950 Indian Dune Road, San Miguel. Visit the Vino Vargas website at www.vinovargas.com and Like the Facebook page facebook.com/vinovargaswine to stay informed of special events.