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Kathy and Terry Sullivan

CalcareousSummary: The Calcareous tasting room is a delightful place to spend a day with plenty of outdoor seating overlooking the panoramic landscape of Paso Robles with a glass of Calcareous wine in hand.

Calcareous’s tasting room is located at a high elevation overlooking the photographic countryside. This a great place to sip a glass of Calcareous wine while enjoying the surrounding landscape. While there, discover the importance of the calcareous vineyard soil. The motto for the winery is “Let the soil speak.”

Calcareous was started by Dana and Lloyd Messer, a father and daughter team, who were wine and beer distributors in West Des Moines, Iowa. The logo is simple and elegant capturing the view of rolling hills in Paso Robles.

The wine club members numbering more than 2,500 members is a testament to the quality of the Calcareous wines and to the winery experience.

CalcareousTasting Room at Calcareous

The modern new tasting room was built in 2008 and is named Lloyd’s Lookout in honor of Lloyd Messer. The single floor tasting room offers a comfortable and friendly ambiance for visitors. While wine tasting, travelers can browse the room, read wine quotes on the walls or enjoy looking at wine-related giftware. Two sides of the large room offer plenty of natural light with views of the patio and landscape plus views of the Paso Robles countryside. The walls of glass can open up on warm days and let the outside breezes in.

Outside the tasting room are numerous seating arrangements, a large pizza oven and a bocce court.


CalcareousThe winery and vineyard were named Calcareous for the calcareous soils. The high pH soil forces the grapevines to produce more acid. The vineyards are planted on what was once an old sea bottom. The soil includes chalk, limestone and shale.

In the beginning of winemaking, the winemaker sourced fruit for his wines. The Calcareous Vineyard was established in 2000. The vines were planted on the east side of the vineyard to receive the morning sun. The soil in the vineyard has a thin topsoil that is then followed by limestone. The weather and soils allow for the planting of Burgundy, Bordeaux and Rhone varietal grapes. The over 17 acres of vineyards are planted with Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, Mourvèdre and Syrah.

The Carver Vineyard was planted in 1968 and includes 15 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This vineyard lies in the York Mountain AVA. A half-mile south of the tasting room lies Kate’s Vineyard, a 12 acre vineyard devoted to Zinfandel.


The winery production area is located in a building a short walk from the tasting room. Stacks of barrels, five barrels high, rest next to the wall of the building. In the winery, the winemaker uses French, American and Hungarian oak barrels.

Calcareous Wines

We tasted several wines outdoors on the patio area, where cooling breezes were a welcome relief from the heat on this late April day. The 2014 Estate Chardonnay was produced with 24 hours of skin contact and aged sur lee. The dark yellow to gold colored wine offered apple and pear notes. There were some hints of caramel. The mouthfeel was silky. The wine had a fruity aftertaste yielding to chalk.

The 2014 Chardonnay Carver Vineyard York Mountain AVA offered notes of apple and pear aromas. The taste was smooth, crisp and fruit forward.

Pinot Noir Carver Vineyard York Mountain 2013 was a translucent ruby color with black cherry notes. The mouthfeel was smooth. The wine was medium/full bodied. The finish was crisp and very fruity.

CalcareousGrenache Paso Robles 2013 was produced with Grenache and a splash of Syrah. The wine was a translucent dark ruby color. The wine had notes of red raspberries and mild tannins. The wine was medium-bodied. The finish was crisp and fruity.

Trés Violet Paso Robles 2013 was a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. The wine was an opaque dark ruby to purple color. The wine offered notes of black and red raspberries, blackberries and licorice. The wine had medium tannins and was full-bodied. The finish was fruity.

Moose Paso Robles 2013 was named for the nickname of the founder Lloyd. This wine was a blend of Syrah and Petit Verdot. The wine was an opaque dark ruby to purple color. The taste offered notes of blueberries. The wine had medium to bold tannins and was full-bodied. The finish was crisp and fruity. In memory of Lloyd, a pair of his shoes were bronzed and a sign is displayed, "With every step of these boots, Lloyd Messer came closer and closer to his dream, of one day opening Calcareous Vineyard in the foothills of Paso Robles, California. The true vision of his dream, was that his daughters Dana and Erika would keep the dream alive."

CalcareousEstate Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 2012 was an opaque ruby color. The wine offered notes of blackberries and black caps with a touch of licorice. The wine had medium to bold tannins and was full-bodied. The finish was fruity.

The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Carver Vineyard York Mountains was an opaque dark ruby to black color. The wine offered numerous notes of blackberries, cassis, leather, licorice and spices. The wine had bold tannins and was full-bodied. There was a long aftertaste with teeth-coating tannins.

Winery Events

Calcareous has several events and activities. Look for wood fire pizzas, pig roasts, and music. On Saturdays and Sundays there are wine and food pairings. A Calcarious VIP wine tasting and tour is also available.

When planning your visit to the tasting room at Calcareous Vineyard, plan to stay awhile to enjoy wine outside the tasting room overlooking the vineyards.

Calcareous Vineyard
3430 Peachy Canyon
Road Paso Robles California, 93446

GPS: N35º 37.616’ W120º 45.123’


Article written May 2016

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