When I think back on my visit to the Fratelli Perata Vineyard, all I can think is:
Hidden and gorgeous.
Best wines of the day.
Please can I go back.
As we pulled into the dirt driveway, Carol, the winemakers wife, popped out of the home, inviting us into a small, but comfortable tasting room. Surrounded by posters and old family pictures, the tasting room is as relaxed and steeped in Italian culture as the family.
With the wine tasting itself, we stepped into old world Italy and a family history rich with heritage. Un-rushed and savoring the wine tasting menu, we learned how the owner’s family were Italian immigrants and how the owner learned winemaking from his father and great-uncle, eventually bringing that knowledge to Paso Robles and starting his own vineyard.
As a bonus, this was the only tasting room of the day that had a cushy mat for us to stand on (none of the tasting room had chairs). The day before, my husband and I had completed a half-ironman distance triathlon in the mountains of California, and our feet were aching. This rug made us soooooo happy!! (It’s the little things, right?)
A few special notes:
- This vineyard only makes 100 barrels per year, keeping the production small. This is not a mass produced wine nor does it taste like it.
- The vines are only watered from rain, with no additional irrigation.
- This keeps the plants smaller, providing a smaller berry with denser flavor. (Try the wine…you’ll see what we mean). Yes, they could irrigate and make buckets more wine, but they would lost the concentrated flavor of the small berries created by the stressed plants. The family values did not support that. Quality over quantity.
- All the wines at Fratelli Perata are made from grapes grown on their own land.
- I was surprised to discover that some other winemakers purchase grapes from a variety of vineyards to make their product.
- The tasting menu included all red wines, each with a story behind it.
- The selection includes everything from wines that salute the family’s heritage to an unusual grape brought back from Italy and grafted onto existing older cabernet vines. Thriving in the loamy soil, this transplant from the Old Country makes a most excellent flavored and full bodied red wine you won’t find elsewhere. (Ask Carol all about it!)
- Cost of the tasting= $10 total for the two of us for all the wine we tasted! (We could have splurged and each had a tasting glass, but really sharing gave enough to enjoy and not overindulge!)
- The price is waved if you buy a bottle of wine (ranging in priced from $38-50).
- There was hardly a mention about the wine club, nor any hard sell for a bottle purchase (compared to another vineyard we visited which was pushy!).
If you go to Paso Robles, I heartily recommend a stop by Fratelli Perata. Plan on a relaxed afternoon, with some of the best flavored wine and some of the best conversation you will get. Save a little money to buy a bottle or two. You won’t regret it.
Next week, I’ll review our second pick- the Herman Story Winery. Please follow my blog or follow me on Twitter to keep up to date!
Happy Wine Tasting!