We started going to Paso Robles to taste wine years ago. At the time Tobin James was all the rage in the Vegas Restaurants and it was our first stop (it’s the first winery you will pass coming in as we were from Vegas). The wines were big and we were relatively new to the wine world and we quickly became members of the club.
Future trips allowed us to venture to Tablas Creek, Lone Madrone, Halter Ranch, Cass, Le Cuvier, Ancient Peaks, Calcareous, DAOU, Justin, Parrish Family, Opolo, Jada, Shale Oak, Peachy Canyon, Castoro, Fratelli Perata, Locatelli, Villa San-Juliette, J. Lohr, Le Vigne, Robert Hall, Eberle, Herman Story, Adelaida…and I’m sure several others that I’ve missed. The region is filled to the brim with vineyards and wineries.
When #WinePW led by Lori Budd of Exploring the Wine Glass (also the owner of Draceana Winery) decided to explore this region in November, I knew I had some bottles of Paso Robles wine in the cellar. As members of the Tablas Creek Wine Club, my cellar is filled with delicious bottles of their Rhone varieties and we still have a beautiful vertical from Halter Ranch. But, it’s been a while since we have spent any time in the region, and the idea of exploring some wineries that I was less familiar with was appealing, so I jumped on the opportunity for samples from the Paso Robles Wine Alliance. (You can read Lori’s Preview Post here!)
*These wines were received as media samples from the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. No other compensation was received and all opinions are our own.
The group at #WinePW will be gathering on Twitter on Saturday, November 13th, to discuss this diverse region and its wines. You can join us by following and using the hashtag #WinePW on Twitter that morning (8 am Pacific Time or 11 am Eastern Time)
You will find links to all of my Colleagues’ articles at the bottom of this article.
For the longest time, the Paso Robles region covering an area of over 650,000 acres was one large AVA within the larger Central Coast AVA in California. In 2007 they petitioned the TTB to establish 11 districts within this very large AVA. In 2014 these sub AVAs were approved, breaking this enormous region into areas divided by soil and climate.
These 11 nested AVAs include
- The Adelaida District
- Creston District
- El Pomar District
- Paso Robles Estrella District
- Paso Robles Geneseo District
- Paso Robles Highlands
- Paso Robles Willow Creek District
- San Juan Creek
- San Miguel District
- Santa Margarita Ranch
- Templeton Gap District
Each of these regions have different climates, soils, and elevations and with the proximity to the coast and the inland plains, this can vary dramatically. As a result, this region can grow a variety of grapes well and you find a wide range of varieties and styles. There is something for everyone.
The wines we received came from a range of wineries, from large and widely distributed to small and relatively new. They also came in a variety of colors! We received a white wine from Cass, a Rosé from Rabble, a Merlot from Paris Road Vineyard, and a Petite Sirah from MCV.
Let’s start with the White and Rosé.
Cass 2020 Mr Blanc
Cass Winery is located in the Paso Robles Geneseo District. I remember a wonderful visit with them several years ago for a tasting and lunch. The wines are delicious and they have beautiful grounds for events. They are on a road less traveled south of the 46 and east of the 101. They are sustainable and the café features farm to fork foods.
The 2020 Mr Blanc, is perfect for Sav Blanc lovers and it’s not a Sav Blanc. This Rhône blend of Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier are picked early and crushed while cold then fermented in Stainless Steel for a bright wine with great acidity.
I did look on their site and this wine was not available. Perhaps with only 624 cases produced, it is already sold out.
Dusty peach and Meyer lemon on the nose with notes of beeswax, honeysuckle, and chalk. On the palate, it adds mango and tropical notes.
60% Marsanne, 37% Roussanne, 3% Viognier
624 cases produced – 14% abv – $20 SRP
Rabble Rosé 2020
Rabble was founded in 2011 by Rob and Nancy Murray. His branding was brash and creative and his labels for Rabble include bold-colored ancient battle scenes which he incorporated into augmented reality technology. You know, like those 19 Crimes labels you see in the supermarket? Well, he did it first (and IMHO his labels are prettier).
Earlier this year he sold the Rabble label to O’Neill Vintners, but never fear, he still has his Tooth & Nail Winery plus Amor Fati, Stasis, and Destinata brands.
As to this Rosé… It is a blend of Syrah and Grenache that comes from the overall Paso Robles AVA (so yes, anywhere within those 660,000 acres). It is all made in Stainless Steel so it is bright and refreshing.
As with all the Rabble labels, this is a rendition of a historical woodblock print from the Nuremberg Chronicle. Written by Hartmann Schedel and illustrated by Michael Wolgemut Wilhelm Pleydenwurf around 1490 this is one of the most densely illustrated works of early printing.
The Rosé label has a Siren Mermaid luring in weary pirates. You can download the Rabble Augmented Reality app in the Apple App Store or on Google Play to see the story on the bottle come to life.
The wine is available on their website
Bright notes of strawberry and watermelon float out of the glass followed by rose petals and white pepper. It made me think of the rose petals luring in the ships and the smack of white pepper as they were dashed upon the rocks.
On the palate, I found strawberries again and bright raspberries with the minerality of wet stones.
90% Syrah, 10% Grenache
I found no listing of how many cases were produced, I expect it was many.
13% abv – 24.99 SRP
Pairing the Mr. Blanc and the Rabble Rosé
We paired these two wines with a Burmese chicken aloo curry, which was beautiful with the fruit notes in the wines. The acidity of the wines was perfect to cut through the coconut milk in the curry. All in all a delightful pairing with both wines.
Paris Valley Road 2017 Paso Robles Merlot
Of course, there was a Merlot in the bunch, they sent these in October during #MerlotMe!
Paris Valley Road Winery is part of the Craig Stoller Collection. Craig and Nancy Stoller began in Paso Robles with the Chalk Knoll Vineyard back in the 1990s. The Collection includes Sextant, Windemere, and Paris Valley Road.
The name is from the small two-lane road where they planted their first vineyard. The tasting room and winery are located on Route 46 on the East side of Paso.
The label says it is “Selectively picked from south-facing hillsides” and is family grown. Don’t confuse this with their large production Merlot which is simple a California AVA. This wine is from the family vineyards it spends 18 months in 23% New French Oak. (Available on their website) https://shop.thecraigstollercollection.com/product/2017-Paris-Valley-Road-Paso-Robles-Merlot
Pronounced nose of warm spices, cedar, barnyard, wet hay, stewed blackberry, baked black cherries, nutmeg, cocoa, menthol plus some savory notes and salinity.
15.1 % abv (yep, it’s BIG) $42 – SRP
MCV 1105 2018 Paso Robles
MCV – the first thing I did when I received this bottle was to look the Winery up and find out what MCV stood for. Turns out it is the owner and Winemaker’s initials, Matthew C. Villard.
Established in 2011, they began with a focus on Petite Sirah. They have now expanded to 6 varieties, but Petite is still their go-to. They began in “Tin City” a wine collaborative in downtown Paso Robles. When “Tin City” disbanded in 2014 they opened a tasting room in Morro Bay, but they really wanted their own winery space with a tasting room in Paso. They did it! They closed the Morro Bay tasting room at the end of 2019 and did a grand opening of their new winery and tasting room on Saturday, March 14, 2020. Let that date sink in. Yep, 3 days later they had to close. But they have moxy and they did drive through tasting kits that expanded to shipping at-home tasting kits. They currently are doing outdoor tastings only. But they have survived!
We sipped the 2018 1105, which is not currently available on their site. Perhaps it is wine club only? Or perhaps they are holding it back right now as they just held an 1105 Vertical dinner at the beginning of the month.
The wine is a blend led by Petite Sirah with 61% Petite Sirah, 15% Tannat, 9% Syrah, 8% Grenache, 6% Petit Verdot and 1% Viognier. This wine is labeled Paso Robles. The fruit is sourced from 4 separate Vineyards. Rosewynn Vineyard in the San Miguel District & Gemeny Vineyard in Templeton, a vineyard that if I’m reading the map right, sits within the Paso AVA but not within one of the districts, and Parrish Family Templeton in the El Pomar are the vineyards he sources for his Petite Sirah. He sources Tannat, Syrah, and Grenache from the Glenrose Vineyard which is a high elevation vineyard on the West Side of Paso Robles planted to Beaucastel Rhone clones back in 1994.
The wine was fermented in 2-ton macro bins with some lots doing extended maceration. The wine aged 15 months in 67% new French oak then was blended and returned to barrel for 5 more months.
This wine is deep with purple tones. My nose first picked up a smokiness, followed by blueberry jam, black cherries, nutmeg, and dark chocolate. Rich and delicious, Michael and I stretched this bottle out to enjoy over multiple evenings.
164 cases produced – 15.7% abv (yeah, sip lightly my friend, this is not a quaffer) – $55 SRP
Pairing the Paris Valley Road Paso Robles 2018 Merlot & the MCV 2017 1105
With these two wines decided to pair BBQ. I’ll admit, I was tired and cooking was just not something I was up for. So we picked up bbq ribs, pulled pork, mac, and cheese to heat up and I made broccoli, purple cabbage, and grape slaw and we feasted! Both wines went beautifully with the BBQ and the accompanying dishes.
Learn more about the region with the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance
There is so much to learn about this region with over 200 wineries and a wide variety of tasting experiences. You’ll find over 60 different varieties of grapes, grown in different soils and climates, and with wines made in a variety of styles. If you are looking for fun and high energy, there are wineries that cater to that! Want an experience that is a little more quiet and nuanced, yep they have that too. Want to just stroll and visit tasting rooms? You can do that downtown. Into Zip-Lining? Kayaking? Fishing? Horseback riding? Disc Golf? Puzzles? Camping? Knockerball? There are wine tours that that you can do those on!
Truly, it is a region with a little of everything. Visit the Paso Robles Wine Country page for more details.
#WinePW does Paso Robles!
Some of the wines the writers tasted were provided by the Paso Robles Wine Alliance, but not all of them. Many writers had great Paso Robles Wines in their cellars that they were excited to write about.
Dive into some of the Paso Robles goodness below. Maybe you will find a winery you have loved, or maybe a new winery you had yet to explore!
- 2013 Lone Madrone Nebbiolo + Heirloom Bean Gratin with Tomatoes and Sausage by ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
- Hatch Chili with Turkey and Paso Wine by Cooking Chat
- Exploring the Pasobilities that Paso Robles Has to Offer by Exploring the Wine Glass
- I Left My Nebbiolo (from Paso) in San Francisco by Wineivore
- Italian Varieties in Paso Robles by Avvinare
- Justification for Short Ribs with a Chili Wine Glaze by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Roasted Vegetables Shine with Single Varietals from Paso
Robles by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Tomato Cauliflower Soup with Dirt Diva Red Blend from Paso Robles by A Good Life
- What’s So Special About Paso Robles? by Grape Experiences
- Organic Castoro Cellars: Italian Roots in Paso Robles? and Working the Earth at Biodynamic MAHA by Wine Predator…Gwendolyn Alley
More from Crushed Grape Chronicle on Paso Robles
- Vegas to Paso Robles to Monterey with a stop at Lone Madrone – Day 1 The Scenic Route 2021
- Flash tour Central Coast – Day 4 – Santa Cruz to Paso Robles on the Pacific Coast Highway
- Tablas Creek Vineyard, Paso Robles, Biodynamics, and more
- West Side Paso Robles – The Highlight Reel
- Vines on the Marycrest, Paso Robles Winery
- The Booker Brothers legacy in Paso
- Paso Trip to Cass Winery
- Lone Madrone in Paso Robles
- Red Soles Winery, Paso Robles
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.