Tasting Paso Robles Wines

The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance sponsored a tasting of wines from Paso Robles in Washington earlier this month. While we’ve reviewedthe wines of individual Paso Robles wineries in the past, this was an opportunity to taste a much wider cross-section of wines from the Paso Robles AVA.   We tasted wines from Cass, Cypher, Eberle, Justin, L’Aventure, Le Vigne, Proulx, Tablas Creek, and Thacher. We’ll be tasting many more as we prepare for our upcoming report on The Wines of Paso Robles, which will be released later this year.

While several whites—especially Viognier and Rhone blends—were presented, Paso Robles is mainly red wine country. In addition to the ubiquitous Cabernet Sauvignon, we tasted Syrah, Zinfandel, Grenache, and numerous red blends, both of Bordeaux and Rhone varieties. If the quality of wines presented at the tasting is any indication, we’re in for a real treat as we more systematically taste through the wines of Paso Robles.

At 667 thousand acres, the Paso Robles AVA is one of the largest in California.  With a western boundary just 6 miles from the Pacific Ocean and an eastern boundary 41 miles from the ocean and 26 thousand acres of vineyards, it includes numerous microclimates, soils, and altitudes.  It includes the Templeton Gap (the Cass Vineyard in the Templeton Gap pictured here), which allows the cool Pacific winds to permeate the coastal Santa Lucia Mountains and provide critical, cool evening temperatures.  Of special interest is the AVA’s unique (in California) calcareous soils. The diversity of its terroir is matched only by the diversity of its wines with over 40 varieties. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel are the most widely planted.

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