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Showing posts from July, 2017

Real People of Paso - The "Visiting Paso Robles" Wrap-Up

During my fast and furious introduction to Paso Robles and their new sub AVAs, I became acquainted with many great producers in the area while tasting my way through many fantastic wines. At several of our stops, we were joined by some of the neighbors who brought some of their wares and contributed an even broader taste of the area. During these events, it was fun to sit back and listen to the locals talk amongst themselves a bit. In addition to discussing how things are currently going out in their vineyards, they asked about each other's spouses and children who they mostly knew by name, they talked about various upcoming and past community events, they offered to help each other with specific projects and a few even organized a fishing trip for their soon to be day off. It was an endearing peak at life in Paso Robles, a tight knit community of neighbors seeking not only to put their best in every bottle but in their everyday existence as well. Here are just a few of the m

Visiting Paso Robles - Tasting Treana and Hope Family Wines

Our final vineyard stop was at Treana to hear owner and winemaker, Austin Hope, talk about another Paso Robles AVA and learn about the Hope Family Wines. The Treana Tasting Cellar is located on the Hope Family's Estate Vineyard in the Templeton Gap District. We arrived in the early evening for our tour and tasting. The Templeton Gap District has more maritime influences than any other part of Paso Robles.  It sits below openings in the Santa Lucia range. Elevations extend from 700-1,800 feet. Higher elevations in the west create a path for ocean breezes and fog to come through creating a cooler, damper climate which leads to slower ripening times and a later harvests. The Wines: Treana Blanc 2014 - This wine is a blend of 45% Viognier, 45% Marsanne and 10% Rousanne, it is fresh and lively with tropical aromas and flavors and a light honeysuckle note, SRP $30. Love and Hope Rosé - A true southern France blend of 47% Syrah, 27% Grenache, 11% Mourvedre, 10% Grenache Blanc,

Visiting Paso Robles - Lunch at Justin with Winemaker, Scott Shirley

Justin Vineyards and Winery was our next stop for lunch and a tasting. The winery sits below rolling vineyards providing picturesque views all around. The beautiful landscaping and gardens ensure that the patio seats are highly prized for tastings. The Restaurant at Justin is a Paso Robles dining destination. The restaurant features a farm-to-table menu with something for everyone on the eclectic list, choose from American home-style favorites to the internationally inspired. Each item comes with a suggested wine pairing so you can create your own special meal. We started with a taste of the  Justin Central Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2016  which was fresh, crisp and tropical. Winemaker, Scott Shirley greeted us and took us on a mini-tour of the grounds. Shirley has an impressive background. He is a UC Davis graduate with a degree in biochemistry who honed his winemaking skills at some iconic Napa Valley wineries including Opus One. He doesn't rely only on his science background,

Visiting Paso Robles - Halter Ranch Vineyard

Halter Ranch  Vineyard is located in a valley in the Adelaida District's western hills. Vineyard manager, Lucas Pope, met us outside near the tasting room with a chilled bottle of the  2016 Rosé to get our group refreshed and ready to see exactly from where those grapes that made up the wine in our glass came. The rosé is a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Picpoul Blanc, it was light and crisp with tropical notes over strawberry and grapefruit. All of the wines that Halter Ranch produces are made from estate grown grapes growing at elevations reaching 1750 feet on limestone-rich slopes. There is huge soil diversity in the top soils within the area, Pope explained, as we headed into the vineyard. This allows for a wide variety of grapes to grown, primarily Bordeaux and Rhône varieties. Currently, 281 acres are under vine at the expansive 2000 acre ranch property. Much of the land has been designated as an environmental preserve by the current owner, Pope revealed. He ensured t

Discover the Wines of Paso Robles

As originally seen in the July issue of  Galveston Monthly magazine

Visiting Paso Robles - Daou Vineyards and Winery

I had been in Paso Robles for about 24 hours as we drove to Daou Vineyards and Winery . I had admired the rugged natural beauty of the Santa Margarita Ranch AVA and the civilized ease of touring the more centrally located Vina Robles. As we approached Daou Mountain in the Adelaida District, I could see we had entered new territory again. The mountain stands at an elevation of 2,200 feet in the coastal range west of the town of Paso Robles. The western hillside vineyard faces the Templeton Gap, an opening in the range that allows Pacific winds through which cool down the grapes. This leads to thicker skins giving structure and flavor all while maintaining natural acidity. The rows of vines are grown atop the coveted calcareous clay soils for which the area is famous. I didn't know all of those details yet, I did know we had entered into a seemingly more magical place, a place where the sunlight seemed to dance around the vines. Alive with color from the mounds of lav

Visiting Paso Robles - Vina Robles Vineyards & Winery

When we arrived to the expansive property, winemaker Kevin Willenborg was there to meet and greet in the tasting room and offer up a welcoming glass of the 2016 Vina Robles White4 . This crisp white wine is an unusual blend of Viognier, Vermentino, Verdelho and Sauvignon Blanc. Fresh, crisp and round with fruity aromas of peach, pear and grapefruit, it was the perfect refresher before the tour and it makes a great anytime white with an SRP of $16. In addition to the vineyards and the winery, Vina Robles also boasts an outdoor concert venue with a full schedule of premium acts like the Doobie Brothers and Chicago throughout the season. Guests at the amphitheater get to enjoy local wine and beer along with freshly prepared food at the shows. concert schedule prior to your trip. If you are planning a trip to taste in Paso Robles and you are a music lover, you may want to check the It is easy to make food part of your experience at Vina Robles as they offer a few gourmet pairing o

Visiting Paso Robles - J. Lohr Vineyards

J. Lohr Vineyards set up shop in Paso Robles thirty years ago when founder Jerry Lohr choose the region to produce world class Cabernet Sauvignon. Our group met assistant winemaker, Brenden Wood at the renowned Hilltop Vineyard to taste some of the new releases. Wood joined J. Lohr in 2004 as a lab tech with a focus on quality control. He has been the assistant winemaker under Steve Peck for a decade now. Wood says he likes the small lot production techniques that J. Lohr promotes even though it is a larger winery. Wood talked about the different tiers of wine that they produce, from the every day drinkers to club exclusives, in the hopes that they are creating a wine for everyone. The Tasting: The Gesture line was originally created for the wine club members but is now available for purchase to all. Find it in the tasting room and on-line . Both of the following wines are from the 2016 vintage which was a bit cooler helping to create fruitier wines with great acidity. J. Lo

Visiting Paso Robles - Ancient Peaks Winery & The Santa Margarita Ranch AVA

ev Shake off your traveler's fatigue and start your trip the way that I did with a visit to Ancient Peaks Winery for some refreshing Ancient Peaks Rosé 2016 made from 100% Pinot Noir from the cool estate Margarita Vineyard site in the Santa Margarita Ranch AVA. Fresh and crisp with cherry, peach and zippy grapefruit notes, this limited release wine will revive even the most weary of wine lovers and have them ready to explore the terroir from which it came. How do you do that? Go across the street and you will find the Margarita Adventures office for all of your Paso Robles adventuring needs. You can book these experiences on-line in advance of your trip. I recommend the zip-lining jaunt to get your adrenaline pumping while allowing you to see some amazing views while learning the history of the southernmost portion of the Paso Robles area which includes Wild West tales of Frank and Jesse James. This two and a half hour tour gives the more daring an incredible view of