“Variety is the spice of life.” ~ The Task (1785) by English Poet William Cowper
We are all familiar with this idiomatic expression. Ironically studies indicate most people are more creatures of habit than seeking variety in their lives. In many areas of my life I am very much a creature of habit, but when it comes to wine the world is vast and delicious; therefore, variety is my habit.
Take California for example, a large state with many wine producing regions. If all I ever drank was Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (which are lovely), I would never know Albariño and Picpoul Blanc from Lodi, or Chardonnay from Sonoma, or Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara. Furthermore, Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley tastes different than from Sonoma or Paso Robles. Moreover, Lodi, Sonoma, and Paso Robles are all known for crafting high quality Zinfandels, but they do not taste the same. So by limiting myself to the same wines or the same regions I am limiting my experiences and discoveries.
The same is true within a region. Paso Robles is often associated with red wine. That is a fair association because high quality red wines from many different varieties are produced in Paso Robles. But Paso is the third largest wine region in California and home to 46 different grape varieties. Paso produces everything from whites and roses to reds of Rhone, Bordeaux, Italian, Spanish, and American varietals. To truly know Paso is to know it is wine region with depth and flair, a bit wild in its lack of adherence to one perspective, and always crafting outstanding wines to be enjoyed year round.
The spice of Paso is seen in its diverse landscapes with numerous microclimates, its 30 different soil types, 11 viticultural areas, large diurnal shifts between average growing season daytime temps reaching over 100° F, juxtaposed with nighttime temps dipping to 40 – 50° F, and variety of wineries ranging from large producers (5%), to small, family owned wineries (95%).
To better explain the diversity of Paso Robles here are six wines that illustrate just a few of the many wines produced here:
2016 Ancient Peaks Sauvignon Blanc Santa Margarita Ranch Paso Robles USA ($17): pale lemon; pronounced explosive aromas of grapefruit, lime zest, peaches, pineapple, and fresh cut grass; tart palate with high acidity that coats the palate in a refreshing mouthpucker; a great wine for beating the heat; click here to buy this wine.
2015 Halter Ranch Vineyard Grenache Blanc Adelaida District Paso Robles USA ($28): 80% Grenache Blanc, 14% Picpoul Blanc, 4% Rousanne, 2% Viognier; pale lemon with green hues; pronounced aromas of fresh gardenias, lemon/lime zest, dried herbs, white stone fruit; racy high acidity, crisp and lively with a long tart mouthwatering finish; perfect for a hot temp thirst quencher; click here to buy this wine.
2016 Tablas Creek Vineyard Patelin de Tablas Rosé Paso Robles USA ($25): 73% Grenache, 17% Mourvèdre, 6% Counoise, 4% Syrah; pale salmon with orange hues in the glass; pronounced though delicate aromas of ripe stone fruit, strawberries, orange zest, mango, pineapple, and jasmine; bright and lively on the palate with loads of orange zest, penetrating pronounced acidity provides a refreshing lift off the palate, mouth-puckering tart finish; a rosé that delivers on every level; click here to buy this wine.
2014 Austin Hope Syrah Paso Robles USA ($55): Deep ruby with purple hues in the glass; pronounced aromas of baked cherries, blackberries, plums, dried herbs, candied rose petals, sweet baking spice, tobacco, leather, smoke, damp underbrush, toasted walnuts; rich and robust on the palate, loads of stewed fruit and spice, high acidity balances out pronounced tannins, full-body, long juicy fruit finish, a classic warm climate Syrah with all the fixins: click here to buy this wine.
2014 J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles USA ($37): 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot; dark ruby with inky purple hues; pronounced aromas of black plums, cherries, currrants, and blackberries, sweet baking spice, fresh tobacco, candied violets, coconut, and vanilla; high acidity balanced with high tannins that are youthful and silky on the palate, full body with lots of spice on palate, dusty earth finish; a delicious Paso cab that promises to be a crowd pleaser; click here to buy this wine.
2014 Peachy Canyon Westside Zinfandel Paso Robles USA ($22): 77% Zinfandel, 11% Petite Sirah, 7% Alicante Bouschet, 3% Tannat, 2% Syrah; deep ruby; pronounced aromas of ripe fresh cherries, blackberries, currants, plums, and raspberries, candied violets, sweet baking spice, toasted walnut, dried tobacco, black pepper, and damp forest floor; considering the blend I anticipated a big wine, it is full body but restrained, rustic yet elegant with a nice lift off the palate, pronounced acidity and tannins, balanced, well-rounded, long juicy fruit finish; click here to buy this wine.
With this variety of wines Paso Robles has you covered this summer. Any food you can imagine, Paso has a wine to pair with it, as well as wines that are just great for summer sipping. But don’t stop there, keep Paso Robles in mind when buying wines for all your year round needs. High quality wines with low price points, what could be better!