Tannat is a red wine grape historically grown in the Basque region of France. Not surprisingly, Basque settlers in Uruguay started making Tannat, and it is now one of the country’s major wine exports. Thankfully, Tannat is also produced in the United States, and Allegretto Vineyards makes one of the best.
We enjoyed a superb flight of Allegretto wines at Allegretto Resort & Spa in Paso Robles, which included a marvelous 2016 Rosé of Tannat ($25). Grapes are harvested from the estate vineyards on the resort’s property and made into this light-copper-colored Tannat Rosé—a gorgeous elixir with notes of anise, cinnamon and a smidgen of red cherries. Allegretto also makes two full-on Tannats ($55 and $80) as well as other reds, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Zinfandel. Allegretto’s whites include Chardonnay, Viognier and white-blend Duetto.
As well as Allegretto wines, the resort’s Cello Ristorante & Bar serves wines from across the globe—with many choices to pair with Cello’s rustic northern Italian cuisine and locally sourced ingredients. The Mediterranean-inspired décor is bright and casual, with friendly service to match. Cello is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and offers a daily Happy Hour from 3-6 p.m. It’s a marvelous place to dine after a day of wine tasting in Paso Robles. We shared a bottle of Allegretto Viognier over dinner, and it was the perfect pairing for our bountiful entrees of Frutti di Mare and Risotto del Giorno. Viognier is one of my favorites, and Allegretto makes such a good one (heady, perfumed and redolent with notes of peaches and flowers), that I was in Viognier heaven.
Surrounded by lush vineyards and manicured gardens, including a mesmerizing sound-emitting labyrinth, Allegretto Resort is an incredible place to stay. Owner Doug Ayres has gone to great lengths to make this a haven of beauty, harmony and tranquility, mingled with stunning artwork from the world over. He and winemaker Alan Kinne are turning out truly awesome wines—intense and impressive. A tasting at the resort is about $25 (refunded with a purchase) and wines can also be shipped.
Allegretto Vineyards and Wines, 2700 Buena Vista Drive, Paso Robles (just off Hwy. 46 East). 805-369-2526, allegrettowines.com.