It has been a long time since I took a vacation, but with all the hassles of flying these days, I decided to look for a place that would be an easy drive from Los Angeles. What I found, only 3.5 hours away, was an absolute paradise.
Allegretto Vineyard Resort in Paso Robles is a truly special place, whether it’s for a weekend getaway, a time of relaxation, a business conference, a destination wedding, or any kind of celebration.
The Tuscan-inspired architecture makes you feel like you’re in Italy. Situated on 20 acres of lush vineyards, olive trees, and fruit-bearing orchards, the resort has sacred grounds and spaces that offer guests unique opportunities to explore and be a part of the immersive and peaceful environment.
Upon entering Allegretto, you immediately see the magnificent staircase and sparkling chandelier. Inspired by a traditional shape but with modern elements, the chandelier radiates with different colors and has jewels that represent planets within the constellation.
After registering and dropping our bags in the spacious, beautifully appointed room, we took a tour of the property. The owner Douglas Ayres has graced the resort with a collection of over 200 stunning art pieces and artifacts.
A room off the main lobby features a spectacular, cross-sectional slice of a 2000-year-old Giant Sequoia tree. The tags on the log denote growth rings that grew in the same year as various significant world events, eg. 214 BC Great Wall of China, 197 BC Roman Empire begins; 44 BC Julius Caesar dies; 4 BC Birth of Christ .
At the end of one hall is a magnificent statue from Rajistan, India. It was carved in about 1856 and, regardless of one’s spiritual or religious orientation, it brings to mind a sense of peace, calm and centeredness.
Exquisite artwork adorns all the halls. While traveling abroad, proprietor Doug Ayres would always try to find pieces that would find a home at Allegretto. There are collections of art from Russia, Brazil, and Italy, as well as colorful paintings and sculptures from local California artists.
In the Piazza Magica there are two statues that were carved by the Peotta family in Vicenza, Italy, a region famous for the carving of limestone for many centuries. The masculine and feminine sculptures are exquisitely placed and planned to fit the architecture of the courtyard and the entire resort – in fact, the statues are aligned in the exact orientation as the stone was when it was taken from the earth.
If you’re there on a weekend, Guided Art Tours are available on Fridays & Saturdays at 4:00 pm or Sundays at 11:00 am.
In addition to viewing the amazing art and antiques from all over the world, guests can walk the vineyards, visit the Abbey, feed George the Alpaca and his goat friends in the front field, and stroll through The Star Garden Trail. This trail consists of twelve Zodiac Stations located around the perimeter of the resort, each offering a beautiful, calm place for meditation, self-reflection, relaxation, or simply a feeling of joy.
The Sonic Labyrinth Sound Circle is a tranquil space with a distinctive series of soft, soothing tones that evolve as you walk through the labyrinth, cultivating a sense of relaxation and focus. Upon reaching the silent center space, there’s a sense of peace and serenity.
After strolling the grounds, we went for a quick dip in the swimming pool and sunbathed in front of our private cabana. What a life!
At 5 pm it was time to visit the Allegretto Tasting Room – and it was definitely a Happy Hour for us. The 23-year-old, Suzanne, who served our wine was charming and knowledgeable. They grow five varietals on the resort property and also have a vineyard on the westside of the coast in the Willow Creek District.
OUR TASTING FLIGHT:
2021 Chardonnay, Templeton Gap
2021 Rosé of Tannat, Allegretto Vineyard
2017 Tannat, Allegretto Vineyard
2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Allegretto Vineyard
2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Willow Creek
Since I’m a writer, I really appreciated the literary wall décor. It was rows of Norwegian books of poetry and prose over which illustrations of wine and grapes were printed.
Allegretto offers Vineyard Tours which can be reserved for Friday-Monday mornings, and they all end with a tasting in the Tasting Room. I’ll drink to that!
After our flight of wines (luckily, this flight wasn’t canceled like so many airlines these days) – we headed to dinner at the upscale yet casual restaurant on the property, Cello.
What makes a restaurant special? Wonderful ambiance, excellent service, and delicious food. Cello, the Mediterranean-inspired restaurant at the Allegretto Vineyard Resort hits all these marks.
We ate there the first night of our stay at the Allegretto. The inside décor is elegant, but the outdoor patio is the place to be! The view is beautiful, with vineyards in the distance and you also overlook the fire pits and bocce ball courts. Go there early evening and you get to see the beautiful sunset over Paso Robles. It is lovely and if you’re with the right person, wildly romantic.
Our server came over quickly and mentioned there were specials, both at the restaurant and the bar. Although I don’t usually order a drink before dinner, their “seasonal cocktail” sounded so good, I couldn’t resist. And wow, I wasn’t disappointed. It was both beautiful and dee-lish!
With flowers decorating the top, it was a hollowed-out pineapple filled with pineapple mash, orange juice, grapefruit juice, coconut milk, and lots of rum! Plus, as an added treat, it’s served with a skewer of pancetta and pineapple chunks. It was so yummy, I coined a new word – yummelicious!
After sipping for a while, we ordered our food. For an appetizer, I chose the Oakwood Smoked Mussels with Caramelized Onions, Pancetta and Chorizo. I’m not a chorizo fan, so I asked them to leave it out. Even without it, the dish was incredibly flavorful. I know it was an appetizer, but the sauce was so delectable, it almost seemed like dessert. The mussels were tender and sweet and if you like to dip the toast points or just spoon the sauce into your mouth… well, it tasted like heaven!
Next, we shared a wedge salad. The lettuce was refreshingly cool and crisp, and they split it on two plates, giving each of us our preferred dressing – one blue cheese. one ranch. The portion was big enough for even a third person to share, but we managed to finish it ourselves. No ménage à wedge tonight! Thankfully, they gave us a little time before bringing the main courses.
For our entrees we ordered the Skune Bay Salmon Filet and the Five-Spiced Muscovy Duck Breast with Rainbow Chard, Creamy Polenta, and a Brandy Cherry Gastrique. Sometimes, duck can be tough or chewy, but this duck was the most tender and moist preparation I’ve ever had. It was succulent, and perfectly paired with the veggies and sauce.
I like my salmon medium rare, and the filet was cooked perfectly. To me, that’s always the test of a restaurant, because so many times fish gets overdone and dry. Not here! It was flaky and juicy, and served with couscous primavera. All super tasty! It was such a big portion that I confess to taking half of it back to the room to have for breakfast. Guess what – it was really good, cold, too!
You’ve probably guessed we were too full for dessert. That’s true, but so what? We had to try it! We ordered one of the Cello favorites – cheesecake. It was creamy and accented with a few blueberries and strawberries, with strawberry and lemon sauces drizzled on the plate. And yes, we devoured it.
The evening was divine, delicious, and delightful. Cello is a restaurant you simply must visit – for the atmosphere, the ambiance, and the food. It’s great for a romantic evening, a group dinner for business, or a girls’ night out. Of course, I’m not Michelin – I’m Marilyn – and I give it 5 stars!
After our meal, we walked a bit in the courtyard, tried out the amazingly comfortable, contoured-to-the-body Adirondack chairs in front of fire pits, and then retired to our room for a perfect night’s sleep.
The next morning, I visited the Spa Allegretto where I had a sumptuous and soothing Swedish massage. They offer many kinds of services including Deep Tissue, Hot Stone, Scalp, and Couple Massages; Reflexology; Signature Facials and Mineral Wraps.
The Spa calls itself “a getaway within a getaway” and “a place to create connectivity, unify mind, body and spirit and align the senses with the Allegretto’s culture of joy, discovery and the good life.” I couldn’t agree more!
Allegretto Vineyard Resort is not only luxurious – it’s an enchanting haven with so much to see and enjoy that you never want to leave. Alas, we only spent a quick two nights, but it’s at the top of our list for a return visit soon.
2700 Buena Vista Drive, Paso Robles, CA 93446