10 Paso Robles wineries to watch

If the California premium wine business were a family venture, Sonoma County and Napa Valley would be the momma and the papa of this sprawling brood of regions strung up and down the Pacific Coast – the parents who did the pioneering work that gave the state, and indeed the United States, a seat at the table of global producers of fine wines.

PASO

But now attention has increasingly turned to Paso Robles, much like the strapping teenage son: full of potential, some already realised, more yet to come.

Located midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Paso Robles is a somewhat isolated region that spreads out from the town of the same name. It has vast flatland vineyards, mainly in the east, and rugged hillside plots, mainly in the western mountains separating Paso from the Pacific.

In its landscape and isolation, a comparison to Languedoc is an obvious one. For years, winemakers in the more populous northern counties prized Paso’s cornucopia of fruit. Indeed a huge amount – slightly more than half – of the region’s grapes, less pricey than those grown in Napa and Sonoma, still flows north to make premium and everyday wines.

Paso locals like to say that they provide the “secret ingredient” for their upstate competitors. However, Paso is today making its reputation – and extending the reputation of California wines in general – by growing Rhône and Mediterranean grapes to make high-end varietal wines, mainly Syrah, as well as iconic red and white blends. Moreover, Paso is the place where dreams are still being realised; a place where ambitious assistant winemakers, as well as newcomers who haven’t the capital for their own wineries and vineyards, have established themselves as West Coast garagistes.

Many of these virtual wineries consist of only a ton or two of purchased fruit and a corner in someone’s winemaking facility.

Click through for a look at 10 wineries that provide a good cross-section of Paso Robles at its best – garagiste and estate, established and new, affordable to very expensive….

2 Responses to “10 Paso Robles wineries to watch”

  1. Terry says:

    Nice – Wine Club member at Halter Ranch, tasted @ L’Aventure and Tablas Creek – all are excellent.

  2. paul goehner says:

    Where are you getting the water to grow grapes?

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