Friday, November 02, 2007

A Quick Look at Paso Robles

Much has been said about the fast-growing Paso Robles wine region, located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles in California’s central coast. A number of key players have set up shop here and, although the AVA is better known for its “Rhone Rangers” and their Syrah based wines, Paso’s most widely planted grape is in fact Cabernet Sauvignon.

Sadly, much of the Cabernet-based wine comes in the form of industrial swill, but a number of smaller producers are making an effort to craft interesting wines at much lower price points than you can ever find out of Napa.

Halter Ranch brings a distinct juiciness and mouthwatering acidity to their wines while Eberle Winery maintains a great blueberry profile across all of their Cabs. And while Justin is a strong contender, we are not sure about all the hype surrounding L’Aventure.

Unfortunately, much of the wine we tasted from the region exhibited what we deemed “Paso Sourness” as well as a latent stalkiness. But most wines, at least in some way, were of a true California character with the dark, ripe fruit that comes from baking in the warm Paso Robles sun.

There is still much room for improvement on the Bordeaux varietals front, but as the west side of the AVA takes hold with more finicky and higher end producers of boutique wines, we are sure the whole AVA will benefit and make better wine along the way.

Wines Reviewed:

Vintage

Winery

Wine Name

Country

Region

Current Grade

Peak Grade

Price

2001

Hunt Cellars

'Bon Vivant' Cabernet Sauvignon

US

California

B

B

$42

2000

Hunt Cellars

Cab-Ovation

US

California

B+

B+

$75

2001

Hunt Cellars

Cab-Ovation

US

California

B+

B+

$75

2000

Hunt Cellars

Rhapsody Meritage

US

California

B

B

$90

2002

Hunt Cellars

'Unforgettable' Merlot

US

California

B

B+

$50

2002

Eberle Winery

Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon

US

California

B

B+

$18

2003

Eberle Winery

Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

US

California

B

B

$30

2003

Halter Ranch Vineyard

Cabernet Sauvignon

US

California

B+

B+

$25

2003

Halter Ranch Vineyard

Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

US

California

B+

B+

$35

2003

Adelaida Cellars

Viking Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

US

California

B

B

$50

2003

B & E Vineyard

Reserve Merlot

US

California

C

C

$20

2003

B & E Vineyard

Red Table Wine

US

California

C

C

$22

2003

B & E Vineyard

Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

US

California

C

C

$25

2003

Justin Vineyards & Winery

Justification

US

California

B+

B+

$40

2004

Justin Vineyards & Winery

Cabernet Sauvignon

US

California

B+

B+

$25

2003

Justin Vineyards & Winery

Isosceles

US

California

B+

A

$60

2003

J. Lohr Vineyards & Winery

Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon

US

California

B

B

$14

2003

J. Lohr Vineyards & Winery

Los Osos Merlot

US

California

B

B

$14

2001

J. Lohr Vineyards & Winery

Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon

US

California

B+

B+

$28

2000

J. Lohr Vineyards & Winery

Cuvee Series St. E

US

California

B+

A

$50

1999

Nichols Winery & Cellars

Merlot

US

California

C

C

$25

1999

Nichols Winery & Cellars

Cabernet Sauvignon

US

California

C

C

$30

1999

Nichols Winery & Cellars

Meritage

US

California

C

C

$30

2003

L'Aventure

Optimus

US

California

NR

NR

$45

2004

L'Aventure

Estate Cuvee

US

California

NR

B+

$75

2003

L'Aventure

Estate Cuvee

US

California

B+

B+

$75

2004

Eberle Winery

Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah

US

California

B+

B+

$28

2003

Treana Winery

Red

US

California

B

B

$50

9 comments:

  1. Randy and Kaz12/03/2007 4:35 PM

    Hey, we're a radio show in Sonoma, and we're currently (at this very moment) talking about your blog, and specifically about Wine 2.0 and getting involved online. So, with that in mind, Kaz wants to know: what do you think about Tobin James winery?

    ReplyDelete
  2. 5 Mile Bridge Wines WARNING ! these wines are crap. Company is VERDOT, LP 5 Mile Bridge is the label and the wine is pure crap over priced and watered down.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I agree 100% the 5 Mile Bridge Wine is a low end high priced work of Poop!

    According to the New Times story on them the two owners wish to remain unknown ? now you know why the wine is pure crap. The two silent owners are none other than Ron W. Hertel and his lover Robert JS Fowler the two builder of the defunct RW Hertel & Sons company who have built and sold mold laced cheap homes to low income people now they are making cheap and lousy wine think twice before you buy it. Better yet send it to a lab to see if contains toxic chemicals.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Randy and Kaz,

    Sorry for the extra long time to respond and for the short post as we have not had any Tobin James as far as we can recall. Paso is a great area for value if you know where to look. Sorry, we couldn't be of more help.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous- Your 5 Mile Bridge comments are basically personal flames. One more and they are all getting pulled.

    -Management

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am a former Tobin James "James Gang" member. I quit after my recent trip to Paso for "Zin Fest". I am just not impressed with his wines anymore. The Zins seem to be big fruit bombs with not enough structure and not enough balance. But they are very accessible wines, and popular. One varietal I really enjoyed was their Refosco.
    The tasting experience is a lot of fun, however. The staff is friendly and generous with pours, and the place feels like a party.

    ReplyDelete
  7. ,
    I am respectfully requesting that you please pull the negative comments about 5 Mile Bridge wine. It is obviously not appropriate to use this blog to satisfy a personal vendetta against an individual. Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
  8. As a Wine club member, I agree the 5 Mile Wines are a poor quality of an over priced Wine. I am glad the you don't censor peoples opinion's.

    I have noted that this Parent Company of 5 Mile are engaged in Legal problems for Fraud so keep up the expose' on them. Censor ship in NOT what we club members need. Good and Informative site.

    ReplyDelete
  9. 5 Mile Bridge's parent company has defaulted on millions in loans under Atascadero Ventures, LLC Verdot Group, LP and Verdot, LLC they are going to file chapter 7 next month

    ReplyDelete