Having made several trips to wine regions throughout California, the one that keeps me coming back is Paso Robles. Located along the central coast of California, essentially mid-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco along Route 101, Paso Robles has lots of charm.
In Paso, with somewhere around 300 wineries, you'll find everything from large corporate wineries selling wines to supermarkets across the country to Mom and Pop wineries selling only from tasting rooms attached to their homes, through wine clubs or simply through word-of-mouth.
Highway 101 splits Paso Robles wine country into the East Side and the West Side. The East has more open plains with some low rolling hills. The West is comprised of steeper hills and canyons, winding roads and large trees.
Hot days and cool nights set up Paso Robles for great grape growing. During the summer, daytime temperature hover around 100 F while the nighttime temperatures drop into the upper 50s F. This contributes to the multitude of grapes being grown.
The white grapes grown in Paso Robles include Marsanne, Rousanne, Viognier, Grenache Blanc and Chardonnay. Red grapes include Pinot Noir, Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, Counoise, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Malbec.
It seems that most grapes can grow well in Paso Robles, but the Rhône varietals do especially well. So, you'll be hard-pressed to find a winery that's not doing some Rhône blends. While the classic Rhône blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre (GSM) is produced extensively, the number of other blends of grapes seems endless.
So, over next few blogs, I'll share what I've learned about wineries and wine tasting in Paso. While a day trip will introduce you to the wine country, it takes days to really explore the depth of what Paso Robles has to offer. Until next time, cheers!