By Donna Polizzi | January 7, 2017 | 7:35 p.m.
As founder of Keys to the Coast, I have a calling to travel and share the best places to go on the Central Coast. I get to visit many great places and write about the best.
One that stands out recently is Brecon Estate Winery. Called a “boutique estate,” Brecon is located in the midst of thousands of majestic oak trees, in the rolling hills outside of Paso Robles. The property is gorgeous, and the friendly staff caters to both two- and four-legged guests.
Owners Amanda and Damian Grindley met on a cave exploration in Australia. I’ve heard girlfriends say that their husbands act like cavemen. In Amanda’s case, this is a good thing. Both are avid cave explorers, and Amanda studies bats and fossils.
Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales is a place that they both love and it’s very near and dear to Damian’s heart. In 2014, the couple decided to open their own winery and name it Brecon.
Located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, at 7450 Vineyard Drive in Paso Robles, Brecon is the creation of an international award-winning winemaker, who produces exquisite wines for the world to enjoy. There is no question that Paso Robles has the necessary climate to produce what are truly world-class wines.
It was a treat to sit with the Grindleys as they shared stories about the history of Brecon and where it stands today. What became instantly clear is Damian’s devotion to his craft and the couple’s commitment to producing a wide range of top wines, along with what Damian describes as “unusual blends.”
If you appreciate fine architecture, you simply must visit Brecon Estate, which was designed by San Francisco-based Aidlin Darling Design, the 2013 Smithsonian Architects of the Year. The wine bar is open to the scenic property, so wine can be enjoyed indoor or alfresco on the beautiful patio, or you can stroll out to the picnic tables to sip and savor.
Paso Robles is known for rolling hillsides, stately oak trees, warm weather, 26,000 acres of vineyards and, of course, the fantastic wineries that draw people from all over the world.
Damian Grindley has been a winemaker for many years in the region and produces wine that flies off the tasting-room shelf. Brecon’s award-winning small batches of premium wines sell out quickly and cannot be purchased anywhere else.
One of Brecon’s most decorated selections is the 2013 Petite Syrah. Described as a great winter warmer, fireside wine, it exudes deep hues and a big fruit punch. The maker suggests you place it somewhere safe, cool and quiet for a few years, and the rewards will be unmistakably fabulous.
Another star is one of Brecon’s signature wines, a pure 100 percent Albarino. This is a sensational aromatic food wine. These grapes are grown within a couple of miles of the Pacific coast. The marine fog plays an essential natural role in cooling the grapes, resulting in a longer than typical ripening period. The wine exudes intense rich tropical flavors with a white peach character.
The 2012 Reserve Cabernet also is fantastic. After spending 22 months in French oak, it is silky smooth and divine.
Brecon Estate boutique wines have won more than 140 platinum and gold awards. It was nice to meet the Grindleys, who are every bit as enthusiastic about making wine as the rest of us are about enjoying the fruits of their labors. No pun intended. OK, maybe a little.
— Donna Polizzi is a regional travel expert and founder of Keys to the Coast, a free Central Coast travel resource providing honest recommendations on the best places that locals want to go. She can be contacted at email@example.com. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.
Great news from the purely domestic wine report, a very prestigious independent review publication for wine industry insiders based in Napa by Doug Wilder. Damian was “initially surprised and pretty humbled before fully appreciating the magnitude of this latest award as it represents the breadth of our winery's offerings and customer experience, rather than a single exquisite wine. It also emanates from a publication truly influential in the wine industry.”
Brecon’s 2015 True Acacia Head makes Wine Enthusiast’s December Best of Year issue. Merry Christmas to those of you still holding on to this sold-out award winner! “Made in barrels that have acacia wood on the heads, this bottling initially shows aromatic lemongrass and cut-grass greenness before offering riper peach, pear and almond oil on the nose. It tightens up on the sip, where tart apple skins, green pear and light honeysuckle flavors arise.”
Brecon’s 2014 Petit Verdot (Templeton Gap) scored 90 points in the November issue of Wine Enthusiast. “In Blackberry and black cassis meet with deep lilacs on the rich but somewhat single-toned nose of this bottling. The palate is bursting with fresh blackberrry juice, leveled by touches of cedar and pipe tobacco.”
Great read in the fall issue of The Somm Journal about California’s Albarino and the Albarino Summit at Brecon. Join us next year?