Paso Robles, California
Lisa at P.S. Cellars also made her own wine cook book, it was part of my inspiration behind making a recipe for each of the bottles I recommend. She is also a great photographer and I have tried to take as good of photos as hers but not there yet!
We met with Lisa Pretty of P.S. Cellars in her tasting room in Paso Robles high on a mesa overlooking the Salinas River which just recently opened in October of 2016. Originally from Canada, Pretty, like many of our other featured winemakers and owners, came to winemaking after a career in a different field, in her case with a Computer Science degree and an MBA. She “started out in the high-tech world, a long way away from vineyards.” It was when she moved to Silicon Valley that she discovered Napa, Sonoma and the rest of wine country.
Though she didn’t have experience in the industry, Pretty told us that her parents served wine for all special occasions, thus she learned it was a “special beverage,” one that was meant to be shared and celebrated. With her fond memories and realization that “high tech was corporate and intense with long hours” she decided it was time to check out and get into wine.” Pretty wanted to leave the city and explore vineyards.
She found a Paso Robles sight and threw herself into production, though she still had a natural winemaker onsite producing the product. But, she told us, she quickly decided to go in a different direction. “I first bought the place there was a natural winemaker here and my intention was to just keep it that way, but after a very short period of time – I’m a bit of a control freak – I realized that to truly make a wine that reflected my taste and style, I needed to do that myself.” Pretty recalled the wines of her youth, telling us her parents, being Canadian, drank mostly European wines and she was used to a “more elegant, softer wine, maybe a little more acidity.”
Pretty has been in the wine game for thirteen years, and she first began with all estate grown fruit, meaning she looked to the soil to discover which varietals would work best and decided to plant Bordeaux varietals at first. She has since expanded her range, however, and now makes wine from Berbera, Anglianico and Grenache, alone with traditional Bordeaux varietals.
We asked Lisa which of her wines she considered their flagship bottle and she told us that P.S. It’s Intense, her Bordeaux style blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Petit Verdot, 13% Malbec, 13% Cabernet Franc is most expressive of the Paso Robles region. All of her wine names begin with P.S. – including P.S. It’s Rich, P.S. It’s Soft, among others – with the P.S. standing for Pretty Selects, each wine designed to embody and certain mouthfeel or texture.
In addition to producing the P.S. Cellars lineup, Pretty has also found herself as a cookbook writer, initially a project designed to share recipes that paired well with her wines. She’s now on her third book, this one including recipes from Paso Robles chefs and winemakers designed to highlight the products produced in the region.
P.S. Cellars welcomes visitors to their tasting room and often holds a variety of events on the patio. She warns, though, that the winery poodle, Takoda, will always greet guests at the door, welcoming them to P.S. Cellars. Pretty also provides visitors with “wine inspired treats” every weekend, inviting them into a friendly tasting experience.
But we know not everyone can make it to Lisa’s Paso Robles tasting room. And for those who can’t, we are happy to offer two of P.S. Cellar’s wines to our customers. With less than 1,000 cases produced each year, this is an exciting opportunity to taste the best of what Paso Robles has to offer.