This week we continue our tour of California’s largest and most diverse wine region, the Central Coast, with an up close look at its very heart, which is also its largest and most diverse area. From heat-loving zins to cool climate pinot noir, everybody fits in here.
Try a new wine this week!
Caparone Vineyards Paso Robles Zinfandel
Quite likely the most important and most diverse part of California’s Central Coast wine country, San Luis Obispo County, is also its least known. It lies between Monterey County to the north and Santa Barbara County to the south. This most central part of the Central Coast has two main wine appellations that wine lovers should know: Paso Robles and Edna Valley. Both names apply to towns and their surrounding vineyard areas. Their wines are very different in style.
Paso Robles is in the northern part of the county. Most of the vineyards are east of town along 46E, on the inland side of the north-south running hills, which block cool Pacific breezes. Daytime temperatures can easily reach 100°F, at times cooling down at night by 40 degrees to 50 degrees. This wide swing in temperatures is something that grapes like a lot.
With temperatures this warm you see a lot of heat loving grapes like zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon and Rhone varietals such as syrah. What you don’t see much in Paso Robles is pinot noir and chardonnay. You see those in the southern part of San Luis Obispo County.
Near the city of San Luis Obispo you’ll find the Edna Valley wine region. It’s very close to the ocean, and is cooled by the ocean. Its moderate climate gives it the longest fall ripening period in California. This allows the grapes to remain on the vines longer in the fall, letting them develop more and more flavor before harvest. Edna Valley has become famous for richly flavored pinot noir and chardonnay.
Caparone Vineyards Paso Robles Zinfandel will show you the deep color and intense flavor that has made Paso Robles the self-proclaimed zinfandel capital of the world. They have an annual festival celebrating their zin. Big, full-bodied and very extracted, this is an intense wine for hearty foods and people who enjoy big, hearty wines. Cost is about $20.