I enjoy the big red wines of Paso Robles. They are delicious and pair so well with my favorite summer foods: barbecue, steak, and hamburgers. But did you know there is a lighter side to Paso Robles? This region known for its warm climate and red wines produces some elegant whites from Mediterranean varieties. Not to be left out of the rose crazy, Paso Robles takes some of those red grapes and makes some refreshing rosés as well. Join me in an exploration of the lighter side of Paso Robles.
Paso Robles is California’s fastest growing wine region. The Paso Robles AVA encompasses 40,000 vineyards within its 612,000 total acreage and is home to over 200 wineries. Due to its size, this unique wine region contains numerous microclimates, diverse soils, long growing seasons allowing grapes optimal hang time to ripen at their natural pace, and the widest diurnal shifts of any appellation in California.
The AVA’s western boundary is six miles from the Pacific Ocean – extending from Monterey County in the north to the Cuesta Grade below Santa Margarita in the south, from the Santa Lucia Mountains in the west to the Cholame Hills in the east. This vast area contains rolling hills, river beds, flatlands, and mountains. It is home to 30 different soil types, many with high pH levels not typical in other California wine regions. Taking all of this into account, it stands to reason Paso Robles is home to a variety of grapes from red to rosé to white.
I was first introduced to the lighter side of Paso Robles through a tasting I participated in last year. The wines included a Chardonnay, a Cabernet Sauvignon rose, and two blends comprised of Mediterranean varieties including Viognier, Vermentino, Grenache Blanc, and Roussanne. I found each of the wines highly enjoyable, and easy to pair with summer food or to sip and enjoy. I am happy once again to share with you a few more whites and roses from Paso Robles.
2017 J Dusi Pinot Grigio Paso Robles USA ($24): I am not a big fan of Pinot Grigio; it is too light for my taste. However, I found this wine refreshing. Its crisp acidity and light notes of stone fruit, citrus, and acacia paired perfectly with a hot summer evening and veggie carbonara. Visit J Dusi for more information.
2017 Opolo Vineyards Roussanne Paso Robles USA ($18): Depending on the acid level, Roussanne is a hit or miss for me; this one is a hit. These grapes are estate grown in an area influenced by the Pacific Ocean. Morning fog and cooler summer temperatures aid in a medium+ acidity wine with bright notes of acacia, lemon juice and zest, stone fruit, and trailing spice are wrapped in minerality. Visit Opolo Vineyards for more information.
2017 Pomar Junction Vineyard and Winery Sidetrack White Blend Paso Robles USA ($15): This is the wine you want to be drinking this summer. A blend of 50% Viognier, 35% Roussanne, and 15% Grenache Blanc, this wine has weight and texture across the palate. This wine is summer in a bottle, notes of sweet alyssum, ripe orchard and stone fruit, mingle with tropical fruit and citrus. It is round, crisp, and pleasing through the finish. Visit Pomar Junction for more information.
2017 Chronic Cellars Pink Pedals Rosé Paso Robles USA ($15): 87% Grenache, 13% Syrah; I have seen this producer’s wines on social media many times. Who can forget the label? I was thrilled to have received their rose to try. I am a big fan of both Grenache and Syrah roses. This wine did not disappoint. This is an intentional rose. Fruit forward notes of fresh picked summer red berries, Watermelon Jolly Rancher, and orange crème offer a crisp and refreshing summer sipper. Visit Chronic Cellars for more information.
2017 Booker Wines Pink Paso Robles USA ($30): This rosé is crafted Grenache and Syrah. The dark fuchsia color indicates this wine is not messing around. No summer sipper here – this is a bold rosé. Notes of cranberry and pomegranate mingle with savory herbs and orange zest. The flavors and high acidity indicate this is a food wine. We enjoyed it on a hot summer eve with a light salad – perfect! Visit Booker Wines for more information.
2017 Hearst Ranch Winery ‘Julia’ Rosé Wine Paso Robles USA ($22): 30% Syrah, 18% Malbec, 15% Tempranillo, 15% Petit Verdot, 12% Grenache, 10% Petite Sirah; this wine is such a grab bag of grapes its impossible not to be enjoyed; it is medium weight with a host of aromas, including fresh summer red berries, candied violets, and raspberry crème; crisp, high acidity, and super refreshing. Visit Hearst Ranch for more information.
These six wines are crisp, refreshing, and delicious; offering a perfect opportunity to embrace the lighter side of Paso Robles this summer.