California’s Paso Robles AVA is an up-and-coming wine region with a Wild West, can-do attitude. The region’s winemaking history began at the end of the 1700s when Franciscan friars planted vines to make their altar wine. The winemaking industry grew slowly over the years, as did the town of Paso Robles, which once hosted famous outlaw Jesse James as he recovered from gunshot wounds at his uncle’s hot springs in town. Today, although cabernet sauvignon is the most-planted grape, Paso Robles is celebrated for its Rhône varieties, both red (syrah, grenache, mourvedre) and white (marsanne, roussanne, viognier). This is due to one winery, Tablas Creek Vineyard, which was founded in 1989 and whose Rhône-inspired wines were a smash hit from the beginning. Many producers have followed suit, producing Rhône-style wines that are garnering attention all over the world. In 2013, Wine Enthusiast named Paso Robles “Wine Region of the Year” for its innovative winemakers and promising wines.
Paso Robles AVA is located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, near the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Most of the region is shielded from the cooling effects of the ocean by the Santa Lucia Mountain Range, and so this hot, dry area is known for warm-weather grapes like cabernet sauvignon, syrah and zinfandel. A small portion of western Paso Robles receives cooling breezes through the Templeton Gap, and produces beautiful pinot noir and chardonnay. Overall, the region benefits from warm days, cool nights, and a long growing season, producing wines that generally have soft tannin and are deep in color, with a lushness that is unmistakable.
Some of our favorite wines from Paso Robles include:
EBERLE WINERY “Côtes du Rôbles Blanc” 2011 (Paso Robles, CA) $24
TABLAS CREEK “Côte de Tablas” 2011 (Paso Robles, CA) $30
DAOU VINEYARDS cabernet sauvignon 2012 (Paso Robles, CA) $32
ADELAIDA CELLARS “Michael’s Vineyard” zinfandel 2011 (Paso Robles, CA) $36
Tried a Paso Robles wine recently? Tell us about it below.
Photo Credit: Tablas Creek Vineyard