The Hunt Family pictured above: Destiny, David and Satik
Along the scenic Highway 46 West Wine Trail, just three miles west of Highway 101 at Oakdale Road in Paso Robles, is Hunt Cellars. For nearly 20 years, the tasting room has served wines crafted small batches created by David Hunt, owner and winemaker.
David’s Bordeaux, Rhône-style Italian wines, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and five highly acclaimed varietal ports aged in American and French oak barrels, are sourced mostly from rootstock nestled among gentle-to-steep hillsides within his 550-acre “Destiny Vineyards” parcel in Creston, just east of Paso Robles. The parcel is juxtaposed between two coastal influences of Morro Bay and Templeton Gap, which converge around Hunt’s mountaintop vineyard.
“The source of the fruit is the most important component,” said David, whose Destiny Vineyard is named after his lovely daughter. “In the mornings, the vineyard is typically cool, a little foggy, and then starts warming up. By 4-5pm, you feel a dramatic chill from the west as coastal breezes come. That’s why we planted the vineyard from west to east. The breeze not only dramatically lowers temperatures but adds a little stress to the clusters to cling, thus creating great varietal intense fruit.”
The fact that David eventually lost his eyesight to retinitis pigmentosa from childhood doesn’t sway him. Rather, he takes full advantage of other more heightened senses to create great wine and along with music. Throughout Hunt Cellars, a musical theme can be found everywhere, from wine labels to the white baby grand that he occasionally plays to accompany his singing in the tasting room.
The tasting room features a spacious deck and an open, yet intimate tasting room where visitors can relax and sample current releases and library selections either tableside or at the bar. Picnic lunches are encouraged, and private and corporate events for up to 40 guests are welcome with reservations.
Featured just in time for the holidays are a half-dozen highly acclaimed Hunt Cellars wines, all of which has earned high scores in competitive tastings. Their 2014 “Cabovation Grand Reserve” (94 pts.) is among the most popular. Other current selections being poured in the tasting room include 2014 Cabernet “BonVivant” (93 pts.), 2013 “Red Velvet Grand Reserve” (94 pts.), 2013 Petit Verdot “One Hit Wonder (93 pts.), 2013 “Maestro” (92 pts.), and 2013 “Thriller” (92 pts.). Also popular is Hunt Cellars’ Cloud 9, a richly-flavored red made from three blocks of different soil types and terroirs of cabernet from their estate vineyard.
David notes the attributes of his wines that consistently surprise the customer, such how well Hunt wines age in the bottle.
“I hear this all the time,” said David. “We can serve a 2005 red that people will swear is a 2012 vintage. Our 2008 Sauvignon Blanc has been compared to a 2016 vintage or a wine from Montrachet.”
Another commonly mentioned comparison is the quality that surpasses high-priced wines from other regions.
“Some visit restaurants wanting a Napa cabernet, which can be terribly expensive. What they don’t anticipate is how delicious our Paso Robles cabernet is without the sticker shock,” said David. “At our winery, our cabs aren’t ‘stewed’ – that is, our grapes are never allowed to become overripe. Timing is everything,” said David, “and critical to what we do.”
Like the beat of a favorite song, David applies his perfectly honed sense of timing toward making great wine.”
Hunt Cellars Wine Club
November is a perfect time to join the Hunt Cellars’ Wine Club. Choose from six configurations of reds and whites plus two complimentary winery tastings. All shipments arrive four times per year in February, May, August, and November. A two-bottle Christmas shipment in December, too, perfect for entertaining or indulging yourself in Paso terroir.