All the chardonnays we tasted were very good. We thought Torch Cellars was the best, but the decision was awfully close.
We were greeted by winemaker Mark Welch and his pal Alya. Along with owner Greg Jelstrom, they produced their first vintage in 2013. Their annual production is 800 cases. This fits their stated goal:
… [producing] annual releases … from renowned vineyards in the Willow Creek, El Pomar and Templeton Gap regions of Paso Robles.
The Torch 2021 San Luis Obispo County – Paso Robles chardonnay ($36) is a winner. Opening with butter on the nose, followed by crisp flavors of green apples, with subtle notes of Meyer lemon and baking spice. Get it quick – only 50 cases were made.
Why Torch Cellars?
This story is too good to rewrite.
The inspiration behind the Torch brand is two-fold. Mark’s nickname at Wild Horse Winery, where he worked in the nineties, was Torch, thanks to his blazing-blond and unruly hair. The Torch Cellars’ logo visual design, featuring the amber hues of California sunlight, (and not Mark’s golden locks), honors Mark’s grandmother, Doris Schultz, a talented artist from Santa Cruz. Decades ago, she crafted a beautiful, sun-shaped mosaic serving tray, made from shells, coral and coins. For years, Doris used this tray for special occasions and when entertaining guests. In tribute, her grandson’s wines now grace the tables of Torch customers, each bottle showcasing Doris’ sun design, radiating her warmth every time friends and families gather to celebrate life’s joys and bounty.
An homage to the present and past. Here’s the logo you’ve been waiting for.