An Incredible Wine Resort in Paso
Allegretto Vineyard & Resort
2700 Buena Vista Dr. | Paso Robles, CA 93446
Wine, cuisine and luxury seem to be things that go together like butter on toast. California’s Central Coast happens to really embrace the idea that wine, food and comfort should not only be approachable but engaging. That’s where Allegretto comes in.
Allegretto Vineyard and Resort is a relatively new spot in Paso. With beautiful exteriors and an art collection that will impress you, it’s the thoughtful design behind Doug Ayres’ vision that really allows this property to stand out amidst the rest. With mission bells ringing, Feng sui carefully implemented throughout the entire property, cuisine crafted by a chef whose devotion to “locally sourced” is beyond impressive, rooms that invite you to come in and relax, Allegretto is a place that makes you feel like you’ve landed somewhere that should exist along the Italian countryside. It’s grandiose in terms of size and rustic yet artistic in décor.
The minute you enter, there are pieces that catch your eye and immediately make you wonder just how it all came to be. As you enter, you are greeted with a staircase that seems like something out of an old Italian film but then, just above it, rests a fixture of contemporary art by way of a crystal jeweled chandelier that changes color like the horses did in the Wizard of Oz every few minutes. It’s not a run of the mill hotel and resort. Allegretto has a style hard to classify into a singular vision.
When you stay on the property, you’re encouraged to explore. Lining the hallways exist rare and unique pieces of art, photographs documenting the Ayres family history, natural art sculptures, unique pieces of furniture and original pieces curated by Doug himself.
The rooms are made with comfort and accessibility in mind with wifi, comfy beds, a couch, a desk, a spacious bathroom and in my room, a view overlooking the vineyard. That view became the catalyst for relaxation and imagination over the next three days.
FOOD + DRINKS
That said, lest we forget, the chef de cuisine, Chef Eric Olson. He creates dishes that are always bright in color and somehow, in at least one dish of every meal, you’ll find some flavor profile that excites you. For me, it’s two things he makes: Abba Zaba ice cream and his butter lettuce salad.
For anyone who has ever had that 1970’s taxicab looking candy bar, the Abba Zaba is taffy filled with peanut butter. It reminds you of skateboarding, long hair and Led Zeppelin (at least it does for me). Now put that in an ice cream and what you have is creamy, fatty, nostalgic goodness. (Believe me, it’s well worth having just don’t plan on calorie counting that day.)
Next? The butter leaf salad. Made with blue cheese, butter leaf, golden beets, walnuts and a dressing that taste a bit like champagne and berries. Let’s just say it’s refreshing and filling. This really was vibrant and the added bonus were the edible pansies added for color.
Chef Eric is one of the most charismatic, candid chefs you’ll meet. The man has more stories to share than most anyone and the best part is? He’s a LOT of fun to be around. I had the pleasure of enjoying a lot of chef’s cuisine but it was our foraging adventure that really made a lasting impression. First off, he knows about more plants than I could ever hope to know. He is well versed in the plant and herb varietals up and down the coast and can, without hesitation, point out what things are on the side of the road.
For Eric, a tree isn’t just a tree. It’s potentially the ingredient that takes a dish to the next level. He isn’t afraid to try something different and is bound to serve you at least one adventurous dish you’ll wonder about for a while.
When he picked us up in his truck, the day got way more interesting as we ventured along the coast. Coming from families that harvested, planted, farm, and the like, California is plentiful in horticulture. Foraging with chef was not simply a ton of fun but highly educational.
So having a cocktail at a winery may seem slightly uncouth but the bar program at Allegretto will snuff that notion right out. Cocktails are crafted with a palatable range in mind and mixology at the forefront. Ask for whatever you want and it’s guaranteed that whomever is behind the bar will make you a drink you hadn’t actually thought could be. It’s experimental and for the connoisseur, it’s a mixology program worth delving into. The best tip would be throw caution to the wind.
AMBIANCE + SERVICE
The ambiance here is one that really does incite a level of relaxation. It’s safe to say this is where you come to sip a glass of estate wine or a freshly made drink while sitting outside in the courtyard facing the sculpture located at the center of it all, known as the birth of life. The fire pits are lit, the night sky is out, and when you really need to escape, you head to the chapel that gives way to your meditative desires (a place they’ve been known to have a few yoga sessions at).
Service is also something they think is pretty important. Front desk is always on site, the restaurant stays open for a reasonable amount of time, and in your room you have coffee and waters at no additional charge.
So while Paso may be the new hub for wine, craft brews and clever distilleries, it also happens to be a place that makes a staycation something to look forward to. Whether you’re in Los Angeles or San Francisco, Paso is a mere three to four hours away and Allegretto is certainly among the best places to stay.