In honor of Kentucky Derby weekend I’d like to tell you about one of my favorite wineries in Paso Robles, Thacher Winery. On this weekend every year Thacher hosts a Kentucky Derby wine pick-up party, as their property is known as Kentucky Ranch. Guests get to watch the Kentucky Derby in Thacher’s killer 1920’s barn. The barn dons a huge “KR” and is a well-known Paso Robles landmark of days gone by. (I am OBSESSED with old barns, so my heart swells just driving up the road to their tasting room!) People show up to this party dressed as if they are going to the ACTUAL Kentucky Derby, with big hats, dresses, and brightly colored pants and shirts. Not only do you get to drink the latest releases of the wines, but they also serve Mint Juleps. What’s a Kentucky Derby party without a Mint Julep? A Southern meal is catered and a band is playing. It’s even better than being in Kentucky!
A trip to Paso Robles is not complete without a visit to Thacher, on the first weekend in May or any other time. And it’s not just about their property, though sitting outside in adirondack chairs admiring the view is great. Sherman Thacher, the owner and winemaker makes many amazing wines. You simply can’t choose a favorite. Rhone blends are king here, and he also makes some of the best Zinfandels I’ve every had. He grows Zinfandel and Petite Syrah on property, but also sources grapes from the Westside of Paso Robles as well as Southern Monterey County.
In addition to several single varietal wines, Thacher makes many delicious Rhone blends with names like Oddly Natural, Original Copy, Constant Variable, Exact Estimate, Working Holiday, etc. I love the juxtaposition! So clever. He is always shaking things up and trying new varietals I’ve never even heard of. You will often find Sherman in the tasting room. It is a real treat to get to hear the winemaker tell you about the wines. Why do I love these wines so much? They are exquisite! They are so well blended and the finishes are very smooth. It’s rare to find so many wines at one place that are this good. That’s why it has become our go-to wine. I would say that most of the wine in our wine fridge comes from Thacher Winery. So do yourself a favor, plan a visit. You won’t be disappointed. You might leave broke though! 😂 Just look for the grasshopper on the label. Cheers! 🍷