23 Oct Please The Palate Pick of the Week: Celebrating Paso Robles Harvest Wine Weekend at Cass Winery
Celebrating another harvest, Paso Robles hosted their Harvest Wine Weekend this past week. More than 100 weekend activities were planned, including winemaker dinners, ceremonial grape stomps, barrel tastings, vineyard tours, live music, and more. I spent my Saturday afternoon at the Harvest Festival Grape Stomp & Tacos at Cass Winery, the Please The Palate pick of the week.
Located on the eastern side of Paso Robles, Cass Winery was founded by Steve Cass and Ted Plemons 21 years ago. Living in the Bay Area, Steve Cass worked in the corporate world and wanted to plant a vineyard and grow grapes. In 2000 he purchased 145 acres in Paso Robles and planted 12 varieties, establishing Cass Vineyard. Ted Plemons, who grew up in Paso Robles, worked in construction and built the Cass residence and barn on the property. The two became friends and traveled together to South Africa for a golf and wine trip. During a night of drinking South African wine, they decided to make wine back in Paso Robles. Their first vintage was in 2003 and they opened their tasting room in 2005. Today they have 148 planted acres of vines, including the largest planting of Mourvedre in a single vineyard in Paso Robles. They sell 50% of their fruit to other producers. The rest of their fruit is used for their 100% estate wines and the focus is to make what Ted describes as “wine from the vineyard” and “old world with new fruit”.
Before heading to the festivities of harvest weekend, myself, and a few other wine writers, visited with Ted Plemons on the deck of the new winery he built that opened in 2019.
With a large veranda overlooking the vineyard, we enjoyed glasses of the 2020 ROCKIN’ ONE BLANC, a blend of 40% Roussanne, 40% Marsanne, and 20% Viognier. Notes of apple, pear, and citrus lead to a round mid-palate with fresh acidity.
We then enjoyed a glass of the 2019 GRENACHE. This is an utterly beautiful Grenache with cranberry, strawberry, raspberry bramble, and savory spice notes. It is a an elegant wine with fine tannins and tart acidity.
We then walked down a little hill to the more rustic tasting room. Tables were set up outdoors and live music was playing.
While some people stomped grapes with their bare feet, we enjoyed tacos in the hot sunshine while sipping on the 2020 HARLEN SPARKLING ROSE.
Named in honor of Steve Cass’s grandson Harlen, the classic method rosé sparkling wine has lovely red fruit aromas and a good body and texture to pair with the tacos.
It was a lovely afternoon at Cass Winery celebrating Harvest Wine Weekend in Paso Robles.