Well, it’s long over due, but I am finally writing my last post about my trip to Paso Robles and Santa Barbara and the wine I discovered.
*photo taken from Daou Winery in Paso Robles*
For me, it’s not about the most renowned winery or vintage. I really enjoy trying wines that are different or modern, like an old world grape in the new world or a new world grape blended in an uncommon way. Not everyone knows what to expect from Paso Robles wines, but what you will learn is exciting. Young winemakers with fresh ideas are moving into the area, they are experimenting with old world varieties and practicing natural farming techniques. Many might not know that Grenache was planted all over the area back in the ’70’s for bulk production, but now it’s planted on vineyard sites with soils that suit it – and it’s doing very well. And so are many other varietals, because the winemakers know their grapes and their soils, and they don’t plant to plant, they plant to grow great grapes and make phenomenal wine.
So, here are some wineries I discovered making fantastic wines that should make you think differently about Californian wines.
Daou Vineyards & Winery – Paso Robles
This little gem is a blend of Grenache and Syrah, notes of candied cherries, floral notes with some dry herbs and creamy fruit, offering a slightly different take on rosé.
Gypsy Canyon Wines – Sta Rita Hills
The Collector’s Pinot Noir
Only 100 cases made in a hand blown bottle, with handmade paper letterpress label and the cork is sealed with estate beeswax. Plus it was a delicious Pinot Noir – it deserves the royal treatment.
*photo taken during the speed tasting session at the Wine Bloggers Conference in July 2014*
Danza del Sol Winery – Temecula Valley
Citrusy with hints of tropical fruits, bright acidity and hint of minerality
Niner Wine Estates – Paso Robles
2013 Estate Grenache Rosé
Blend of Grenache, Albarino(adds the floral part), Sangiovese and Barbera. Think Strawberries and cream with summer watermelon and a hint of roses.
They also make an Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, a blend of Tuscan and Spanish olive varieties: Arbequina, Frantoio and Coratina.
*did you know their grenache clusters are as big as dinner plates? And were picked 2-3 weeks earlier than other grapes*
Castoro Cellars – Paso Robles
2013 Balena White blend
A blend of Pinot Grigio, Grenache Blanc and Falanghina (they were the 1st commercial grower in California) a lovely balance of grapefruit, lime, apples with floral and mineral notes.
Giornata – Paso Robles
2011 Nebbiolo Luna Matta Vineyard
Part of the new trend wave in the area, this earthy, sour cherry Nebbiolo can be found on the shelves of a special wine store in Milan, most likely because the wine maker is a sommelier as well from Italy. They are also growing Aglianico, Sangiovese and Vermentino.
Villa Creek Cellars – Paso Robles
2012 Willow Creek Cuvèe
A blend of Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah. Chalky tannins with deep red fruits that are soft on the palate with a hint of minerals, grown just 12 miles from the ocean on Calcareous and limestone soils.
On another note…
If you haven’t tried Syrah from Ballard Canyon in Santa Barbara (south of Paso Robles)… It’s Syrah territory due to the climate and terroir, here are a few wineries you should try:
Jonata and Rusack Winery & Vineyard
Cheers! To enjoying more wines from Paso Robles and Santa Barbara County!