–A list of the best Paso Robles wines for the holidays would not be complete without a section on zinfandel. It’s known as the Paso Robles heritage grape varietal. Great zinfandel and Italian-style wines from Paso Robles are typically full-bodied, fruity with aromas of berries, sometimes jammy, and usually of moderate to high alcohol content. They pair well with roasted turkey, lamb, red meats, and anything Italian you might be making for the holidays.
Top local zinfandel and Italian-style wine recommendations
Aron Hill 2020 Estate Primitivo — $52
This estate wine from the Willow Creek AVA is 100% primitivo, a very close Italian cousin of zinfandel. It’s filled with dark fruit aromas that translate to blackberry, black cherry, mocha, and cola on the palate. Medium-weight tannins and balanced acidity foster a long, round finish.
Brecon Estate 2020 Zinfandel Paso Robles — $59
This zin is lively and bright, rather than jammy, with an intriguing spice layer, soft tannins, and underlying mixed white and black pepper notes. All while the interplay of fine American and French oaks provide a subtle, refined, seamless framework.
Derby Wine Estates NV Derby Hat Red Blend
This is a delicious blend of zinfandel with added Rhone varieties. It has lush fruit-forward flavors of ripe berries, fresh jam, and vanilla. It’s light and perfect with grilled meats, pasta, and pizza.
Four Sisters Ranch 2019 Sangiovese — $32
This medium-bodied sangiovese offers aromas of ripe red cherry, plum, and blueberry, with mellow tannins. It has strong flavors and textures with oaky notes and a hint of spice at the finish. This Italian thin-skinned grape grows well in the warm weather and limestone-rich soils of the Paso Robles AVA.
Locatelli Vineyards and Winery 2019 Estate Zinfandel — $38
This wine has notes of pepper kernel, tobacco, cinnamon, and fig on the nose followed by black currant, plum, raspberry, clove, sea air, blackberry, bing cherry, Earl Grey, fig, Brazil nut, and cedar finish.
Midnight Cellars 2018 Estate Zinfandel — $52
This 21st offering of Midnight’s estate zin is a giant ripe, rich Paso-style zinfandel with bodacious fruit exploding out of the glass. Red fruit, dried herbs, and baking spices on the nose alert the taster to something special. The mouthfeel is complex with stonefruit, baking spices, herbs, and a chalkiness that comes straight from the vineyard soil. Firm acidity and perfectly balanced tannins frame this wine and make it perfect for aging and enjoying for dinner. It earned 93 points and was an editor’s choice of Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
Mitchella Vineyard 2018 Presumptuous — $42
This locally dry-farmed Adelaida AVA zin is tempered by 18 months of American oak aging with enticing hints of brandy, lush caramel, and caramelized vanilla. The fully-bodied wine brings the spice to the table, finishing with pink peppercorns.
Opolo 2020 Mountain Zinfandel — $32
The 2020 vintage exhibits a bold, lush palate distinguished by fine structure and vivid fruit flavors. Aromas of dried cherry and spiced raspberry anticipate notes of sandalwood and toasted oak. Plush rounded flavors of black cherry, crushed blackberry and cocoa accompany hints of savory spice and cedar. The finish is long and smooth with supple tannins and racy acidity. It’s an iconic jammy Paso Robles zinfandel.
Riverstar Vineyards 2017 Zinfandel – $30
This estate-grown wine has a lively nose full of cranberry, prune & ripe cherry. It has a lighter-style body with juicy red fruit, white pepper, and refreshing acidity. Only 105 cases were produced.
Robert Hall 2019 Cavern Select Zinfandel Dusi Vineyard — $55
This medium to full-bodied wine greets with aromas and flavors of bramble, sweet tobacco, cocoa, and dried herbs followed by a rich mouthfeel and balanced acidity that are followed by dusty tannins on the finish. It is an exceptional Paso Robles zin.
Shale Oak Winery 2017 Zinfandel — $32
Grapes for this delightful wine were sourced from a selection of classic Paso Robles dry-farmed vineyards. This is a delicious zinfandel with big cranberry fruit, backed by a French oak profile with flavors found only on the Westside of Paso Robles. It was one of our favorites.
Sculpterra Winery 2109 Reserve Primitivo — $64
A big bold wine that brings enormous structure on the palate and a dark, rich color in the glass. The wine is complex and well-spiced and well-balanced on the finish. The taste is not overripe, it is restrained with accents and nuances that mark it as a special wine. The flavors begin with subtle notes of vanilla, cinnamon, toast, and peppered meats, then the wine reveals a core of ripe black fruits and a mouth-filling texture. The tannins are seamless with elements of earth and cedar shavings accented by clove and vanilla. Flavors build throughout the mid-palate and lend to a generous ending.
Stilson Cellars 2019 Aware — $46
Sour cherry and strawberry preserves leap from the glass of this wine while underlying hints of white chocolate and cigar wrapper linger. The fruit-driven palate is dusted with fine tannin, zingy acidity, and graphite-like minerality. Cranberry coulis, wild raspberry, and cinnamon stick weave the nuance of Herb de Provence and dried rose petals.
Timshel Vineyards 2018 Zinfandel — $30
Aged 24 months in 20% French oak, this delicious wine delivers a vibrant hibiscus flavor with hints of spicy plum. It was one of our favorites and a great value.
Tobin James 2017 Zinfandel James Gang Reserve — $34
A full-bodied, jammy zinfandel with a rich mouthfeel. Velvety and smooth, this wine holds layers of fruit, spice, and earth notes. The grapes from five unique Paso Robles vineyards blend to flavors of blackberry, raspberry, and ripe plum with a slight earthiness and a delicate white pepper finish.
Victor Hugo Winery 2019 Estate Zinfandel — $28
Intense, explosive aromas of red raspberries, with notes of blackberry and bittersweet chocolate. Elegant tannins with vibrant berry flavors complimented by hints of oak and a racy, crisp finish.
Vina Robles 2019 Zinfandel — $34
A garnet-colored wine with dark plum, raspberry, amaretto, coffee, caramel, and hints of white pepper and coriander on the nose. This medium-bodied wine with blue and red fruits and moderate acidity delivers a smooth texture in the finish. It earned 91 points from Wine Enthusiast Magzaine.
Vista Del Rey 2019 ‘Tierra Profundo’ Zinfandel — $30
A robust mouthful of dry-farmed zinfandel grapes from long-time local winemaker Dave King. He loves zinfandel and it shows. It’s a big, spicy wine with dark berry, plum, and cherry flavors, but not overly sweet. Drink all by itself or pair it with grilled meats, pizzas, and pastas. Enjoy a glass while decorating for the holidays.
See more Paso Robles wine recommendations
- Best local sparkling wines
- Best local rosé wines
- Best local white wines
- Best local Pinot Noir
- Best local zinfandel wines
- Best local Rhone-style red wines and red blends
- Best cabernet, Bordeaux-style, and red wines
- Best local dessert wines
Publisher’s note: For the ninth year in a row we thought it would be a great idea to recommend local wines for the holidays. Once again, we received an amazing amount of participation from our local wineries. Over the last two weeks, we received more than 100 entries. There were many solid, well-made wines to recommend. We have created several lists of top local wines into categories. The recommended wines above are in alphabetical order.