AWG Correspondent

Anthony Marocco

Lone Madrone Photos

Lone Madrone Review

Regions: Paso Robles AVA, Adelaida District AVA, California

Reviewed: June 21, 2014 by Anthony Marocco
Published: September 9, 2014

In Paso Robles, the name Neil Collins is associated with quality wines and a couple of wineries come to mind - Tablas Creek and Lone Madrone, which are located just down the road from each other. After visiting Tablas Creek and tasting many of their Rhône style wines, it was a no-brainer to visit Neil's other venture at Lone Madrone. The atmosphere, layout, and overall feel of the winery is completely different than at Tablas Creek, and in a very good way.

This ranch-style property presents visitors with a farming environment complete with a restored wooden barn turned tasting room and gorgeous, open window views of the vineyards behind the tasting bar. The winery sits on a hillside between the mountains and sea in West Paso Robles and was founded in 1996 by Neil and his sister, Jackie Meisinger. The overall goal of Lone Madrone was to produce distinctive wines that highlight the rugged limestone terroir and deliver the terroir's qualities in its purest form in their wine. The vineyard is entirely dry farmed and head pruned. Wines are fermented with native yeasts and malolactic bacteria within primarily neutral oak barrels. Most of the wines are rare, single varieties that Neil crafts to show off Paso's purest qualities with little human intervention. Now for the question of estate fruit versus sourced fruit - Neil handles both. Neil makes use of a select amount of his estate vines as well as a large amount of grapes from local vineyards, such as Klau Mine Vineyards, Osgood Vineyards, Heaton Vineyard "Will's Hills," Bailey Ranch Vineyard, Ambyth Vineyard, and Martinelli Vineyard. Details about the vineyard sites can also be found on the Lone Madrone website, if you are looking for more information.

The tasting room is an old barn that Neil admired when he worked across the street at Adelaida, a winery that is owned by Gary and Wendy Schmidt and sits upon their property (also known as Cocavin). Since then, the barn that once hosted horses has been converted to a rustic, yet elegant tasting room and home to Lone Madrone and Neil Collins' prized possessions - his wine. As we exited the car from the dirt lot and peered up at the tasting room, we noticed two patios, as well as various local art and plenty of well-manicured vines. To the right side of the tasting room, the farm windmill was spinning in the wind with wind chimes clanging in the background. There are also several picnic tables all equipped with umbrellas awaiting patrons. To the left, there is another patio that backs right up to the tasting room window and jammed right in the middle of the vineyard. As we entered the wood structure, we noticed plenty of swag and wines for sale along the walls. Two tasting bars, one on the left and the other on the right, welcome visitors, while the back wall made of large glass panes outline the barrel and wine storage room.

We hopped up to the left bar and noticed the window was open behind it, blessing us with a gorgeous view of the vineyard and an amazing breeze. The tasting fee is $10 and is waived entirely with the purchase of two bottles of wine. On this particular day, we were treated to five wines, beginning with the 2012 Chenin Blanc ($28), which is a personal favorite white grape of mine. This wine showed toasty stone fruit and wet stone on the nose while the palate was soothed softly with flavors of stone fruit and apple. It finished clean and fresh with a drying mineral character. The palate is left with light floral nuances shortly after the finish that concludes each sip with a smile. Up next was the 2011 Points West White ($35), a Rhone-style blend consisting of Roussanne, Viognier, Picpoul Blanc, and Marsanne. The Points West White's smooth and creamy texture was complimented by rich flavors of vanilla and subtle oak. With excellent balance and toned down acidity, it is a perfect wine for a spicy chicken dishes or a summer shellfish dish. We then moved onto the reds, where Neil really showed his talents, beginning with the 2011 Calon ($40). This intricate blend of 35% Mourvedre, 24% Counoise, 22% Grenache Noir, 10% Sangiovese, and 9% Syrah exhibited floral and oak character on the nose while the palate is greeted with hearty, cured meat flavors that are capped off with soft, round tannins and a rich finish. An interesting blend, but satisfying. Up next was the 2007 Bollo ($60), which stole my heart during this tasting and is made up of 100% Nebbiolo. Complex with layer upon layer of character, this wine starts with dried dates and figs being carried by a layer of spice and hints of espresso. The palate is supple with rich tannins and a bone dry finish with a hint of charred oak for good measure. This wine is smooth but would require decanting for an hour or two and can absolutely be cellared for some years to come. We concluded our tasting with the 2011 The Dodd ($45), a unique red blend consisting of 61% Tannat, 15% Zinfandel, 14% Petit Verdot, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose wafted aromas of jasmine tea and cured meat while the palate carried toasty notes, dried dark berries, and cured salami that finished with a kick of spice and white pepper.

Overall, the wines were great, and we opted to trust the winemaker and purchased the 2011 Zinfandel. We concluded our visit with a walk to admire the beauty of the property before heading out onto our next stop. If you are looking for unique blends, rustic atmosphere, and a quick stop with other great wineries nearby, why not stop in to Lone Madrone and see what Neil Collins has to offer? Be sure to stop by Tablas Creek just down the road, and try some of Neil Collins 100% Rhone style wines as well.

Address & Contact Information: 5800 Adelaida Road Paso Robles, California 93446. Telephone: 805-238-0845, email:, website: Tasting Hours: 10:30-5:00 and by appt..

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