Paso Robles is home to some of the best wines in world. It’s not hard to find a great glass of wine at any one of the region’s tasting rooms or restaurants, but they are limited by what is on the tasting bar or on the wine list.
None are going to be able to match the hundreds (yes, hundreds) of wines available by the glass at Taste in the Alley.
“We are up to 350 to 375 here in Paso,” said co-owner Ash Mehta of the wine bar that he and his wife Lissa opened in June of 2015 in downtown Paso Robles. “Who has a 350 wine-by-the-glass list - nobody. And flights, everything is changing daily. We do not pick what is being tasted, the customers do.”
Ash and Lissa are not strangers to the wine bar scene, having opened the nationally acclaimed Tastes of the Valleys in Pismo Beach back in June of 2010. The Pismo location, which offers 1,000 wines, recently landed on Wine Enthusiasts Top 20 Wine Bars in America list.
With the wine world focused on Paso Robles, the Mehtas felt their wine bar vision of tailored tasting was a perfect fit.
“It's very simple,” Ash said. “People come in and taste whatever they want to taste.”
It really is that simple. Every bottle of wine has two prices marked on it, one is the by-the-glass price and the other is the bottle price.
Finding Taste in the Alley may not be so simple. It’s a little off the beaten path in downtown Paso Robles, located on Norma’s Way, the famous alley that connects Pine and Park streets, but it’s definitely worth seeking it out. It shares the building with Artisan restaurant.
Once inside, patrons are greeted by two vast walls of wine and cases and cases of wine from nearly every corner of
Taste in the Alley is owned by Ash Mehta. He and his wife also own Tastes of the Valleys in Pismo Beach.
“Think of this as your own cellar. It is a good wine mix,” Ash said. “It's not just Paso Robles wines. We've got some iconic Paso Robles wines and then we've got French and others.”
Small tables dot the center of the space and the bar, which is manned by a knowledgeable, friendly staff, anchors the back of it. The bar makes use of the latest and greatest in technology – from Napa Technology and Coravin - to keep the wine fresh.
In addition to the seemingly never ending wine list or flights, Taste in the Alley offers a library list of wines and a wine club.
“We have some Saxum, some older vintages of L'Aventure, some older vintages of Epoch Estate,” Ash said of what could land on the library list. “Slowly we have been building up our vintage library.”
Members of the wine club receive an email each month with 10 to 15 different wines on it. All one has to do to remain a member is make at least two purchases during the year.
“That's it. And we further reduce the prices,” Ash said. “We have some of the lowest prices in California on some of the wines.”
Periodically, Taste in the Alley has educational events, where they bring in winemakers and wineries from outside of Paso Robles. Recently, they featured Santa Barbara County and are planning to spotlight wines of Washington state.
“A lot of the festivals that happen here are pouring all of the same wines that you have tasted a million times,” Ash said. “What we are trying to do is a little bit different.”
Taste in the Alley offers visitors the chance to be adventurous and taste something they have not tasted before. They are located at 1211 Pine St. in Paso Robles. For more information, call 286-4763 or visit tasteinthealley.com.