I can't comment on the casitas. I just want to tell you something about Wild Coyote winery.
I have lived in Paso for almost 10 years and long ago get tired of the wine tasting circuit. Recently, some family and friends came to visit for a week and, naturally, they wanted to do some wine tasting. I spent several days as their designated driver.
One thing that has apparently been lost in this fast-growing, attention-getting wine town is the presence of the owner and/or winemaker in the tasting room.
Instead, there are employees, most with only limited knowledge of what they are pouring and little or no knowledge of the winemaker or owner other that the obviously carefully rehearsed anecdotes clearly designed to talk up the greatness of the owner/winemaker. Most were college students with no connection to the wine industry at all.
I found most of these tasting rooms to offer a generic experience that left me feeling that my guests and I were cattle being run through a gauntlet: get them in the room, feed them a drop or two of wine, regurgitate a few boring anecdotes, then make them feel uncomfortable unless a purchase occurs. None offered to get a question answered by someone who actually had any knowlege and on at least two occasions provided clearly incorrect answers as if they were fact.
Not so at Wild Coyote. I hadn't been there in almost six years until today. Gianni Manucci is both owner and winemaker. He was there, in person, handling the entire tasting experience by himself. We were made to feel welcome the minute we walked in the door, even though there were several other groups already tasting. Gianni handed us a list of the wines he was pouring, explained that the (very reasonable) $5 tasting fee included a nice branded wine glass, and began pouring, all the while maintaining a low key conversation: it wasn't about him unless we asked about him. He made it about us. Some of the other groups left without a purchase. Gianni treated them just as warmly as he did those who bought wine. He answered technical questions with ease, even recalled that we has met once six years previously (he remembered where I was form and what I did for a living).
It's just a small thing, but having the vintner there makes it a wine experience, not just a wine tasting. And it was the ONLY winery over the course of three days where the guy who made the wine was there in the room.
I urge anyone who likes big reds (and WIld Coyote's wines are definitely big) to try Wild Coyote. Even if big reds are not your thing, go and see what a tasting room should be: the winemaker purveying his product. Gianni could teach a lot of the other Paso wine players a few things about how to treat the customer...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A MYSTICAL RETREAT. . . Experience Santa Fe New Mexico, in Central Coast California. We have 5 Individual & Private Casitas carved into our mountainside with Panoramic Views overlooking our Vineyards. Hacienda/Spanish Interiors that offer Kiva fireplace's, Private Bathrooms, Kitchenette's, Highest End Tempurpedic Mattresses, Leather Reclining Sofa's, Private Patio's, Flat Screen TV's. We have a Santa Maria style BBQ for you to use if you want to relax and enjoy the View's and Ambiance of our Gorgeous Property, Jacuzzi just steps away from your Casita... A Perfect & Romantic getaway for you to Relax and Rejuvenate your Soul.. ... more less
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