This week we’ll look at California’s fastest-growing wine region, known for wines with great color, intense flavors and superb balance. Sounds pretty good to me, especially with prices that are surprising for the quality.
Try a new wine this week!
Paso Robles is California’s fastest growing wine region. Located between San Francisco and Los Angeles along California’s Central Coast, the city is approximately 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean. It was named for its local oak trees, El Paso de Robles: The Pass of the Oaks. The name was shortened to Paso Robles when California gained its independence from Mexico in the mid 1800s. Today the region has more than 170 wineries and 26,000 vineyard acres.
Two good reasons why, are a dry climate and a greater day-to-night temperature swing than any other wine region in California, with hot days being cooled in the evening by Pacific breezes that flow east through the Templeton Gap and south along the Salinas River Valley from Monterey Bay. It can be 100 degrees during the day, and quickly fall below 50 at night. Paso Robles wines tend to be deeply colored and rich due to the intensity of the sun, while retaining acidity due to the cool nights.
Another advantage is that the first rainfall of the season is typically about two weeks later than Napa or Sonoma, giving the grapes more ‘hang time’ for ideal ripeness.
Today more than 40 wine grape varieties are grown in Paso Robles, primarily Cabernet Sauvignon. In recent years the area has become identified with Rhone varietals like Syrah, Viognier and Roussanne. It’s also the self proclaimed Zinfandel capital.
I recently found a line of wines from there named Vina Robles that I liked so much that I decided to import it into Arkansas. They have their own vineyards (equipped with web cams), and their wines tend to show superb balance, great color and intense flavors. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah retail for around $20, and their inky black Petite Sirah sells for around $25.