Updated: Dec 9, 2020
This weekend in Paso Robles, I got the opportunity to meet Victor Hugo! Well, not that Victor Hugo of Les Miserable fame, but Victor Hugo Roberts, the owner of a humble but outstanding winery on the Templeton side of Paso. For those unfamiliar, the locals pronounce this Central California town Paso Robles "PAA-so RO-bulls." It's ok, just pretend you're a city slicker when you say it.
We arrived to our appointment a tad early, so Vic had to pop out of his barn to come and open the gate for us. The barn was restored in the early days of the winery to be able to accommodate barrel storage. It also doubles as a very quaint tasting room, complete with a small desk and a ton of medals that have been bestowed upon the wine and its maker. Vic graduated from U.C. Davis, and proceeded to make wine up in Northern California until he and his wife, Leslie, could get the winery running.
The tasting experience was fantastic. Vic is a riot, and the pours are heavy and varied. We tasted no fewer than 8 wines, including a couple of Port-style dessert wines, Quasi and Moto, a play on the Hunchback of Notre Dame of which the less exciting Victor Hugo made famous. Moto is primarily Syrah, and if you told me it was liquid bacon, I might just believe you. A cool tip; the brandy used to fortify the dessert wine comes from Hugo's own grapes. In addition, we feasted on a large tray with several cheeses, nuts, and chocolate-covered almonds. As far as wines go, they're a bargain. The 'Les Mis' rose is just $16 for some easy summer-sipping, and I enjoyed the Opulence Bordeaux blend, the Zin, and the Malbec, all of which retailed between just $24 and $30.
If you're looking for the stuffy Napa vibe and the overpriced Cabernet Sauvignon, you've come to the wrong place. But if you are looking for a great experience with superb wines, and a bunch of laughs, I'd suggest giving Vic and Leslie a call next time you're in Paso.