Hunt Cellars Review
Address: 2875 Oakdale Rd. Paso Robles,California 93446.
Phone Number: 805-237-1600
Tasting Hours: Summer 10:30-6:00, Winter 10:30-5:00
Region: Paso Robles AVA, Paso Robles Willow Creek District AVA, California
Reviewer: Julie Dorris
Review Date: 7/5/2012
Reviewer: Julie Dorris
As I headed west on Highway 46 in Paso Robles, passing one winery after another, I never considered stopping at Hunt Cellars. In fact, after the multi-million dollar estate I had just visited, I hardly even noticed Hunts humble appearance. It was my husband who had the instinct to pull up to the modest stone house with a jockey statue out front. Come to find out, this was certainly a case of never judge a book by its cover.
The Place:  Hunt Cellars is located on the west side of Paso Robles as you head toward the Pacific. It is a quaint stone house with an expansive green lawn in front. The inside boasts an elegant décor enhanced by traditional furniture, a fireplace, and a beautiful white baby grand piano. There is also a large, sunny patio, and both inside and out are comfortable and homey.
The Experience:  As I entered the soothing atmosphere, the staff greeted me even though they were engaged with other guests. I took a seat at the bar and a friendly server explained the tasting menu, the standard $5 for the regular tasting and $10 for the reserve. I chose the regular, but as my enthusiasm grew with each sip, the server added in a few tastes of the reserves. I was amazed by what I was tasting, and apparently I wasnt the only one by the looks on the other patrons faces.
During the tasting I learned of my servers passion for wine and his own winemaking endeavors. He also told me the incredible story of David Hunt, owner and winemaker at Hunt Cellars.
The People:  David Hunt is legally blind due to a degenerative condition that caused him to lose his eyesight over time. He is also a musician who writes songs and has recorded with bands such as Ambrosia. His winery is a family endeavor that began in the early 90s with the search for the perfect land for a vineyard. They decided on 550 acres in Paso Robles characterized by various elevations and terroirs, and named it after their daughter Destiny. Production began in 1997, and they have since been producing award-winning wines year after year.
The Wines:  With names like Serenade, Irresistible and Rocket Man Zin, its clear that Hunts love of music collides with his passion for wine. As for the 2004 Unforgettable Merlot, the name refers to more than just a song as it will linger on your palate, heart and mind forever. The 2009 Pinot Noir, Imagine, had flavors of chocolate and berries and had a distinctive, gamey quality. The 2007 Thriller red wine blend was earthy and peppery, with hints of vanilla. Hunt specializes in reds with robust flavors and exceptional structure. But the whites are wonderful, too, especially the Moonlight Sonata Chardonnay, which is produced in a new world style – creamy and oaky.
Ive always heard that if you lose one sense the others are enhanced. That would certainly explain the superiority of these wines over others. Keep in mind that they are only available at the tasting room and through the wine club. They also come with a high price tag, ranging from $35 to $135. There were some deals on the table, which the server allowed me to taste, but they didnt compare to the ones on the tasting menu.
Extras:  Its not uncommon to encounter David Hunt playing his piano in the tasting room. He also has a CD of music he recorded called Rhapsody in Red available on iTunes or at the tasting room. Hunt occasionally hosts winemaker dinners posted on his website under Events.