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PASO ROBLES: DISCOVERING CALIFORNIA’S TRENDING AVA Behind the Bar

Paso Robles is California’s fastest growing AVA, or American Viticultural Area, which had only 50 wineries back in 2000, growing to over 200+ today! When viewing a map of California, Paso Robles is located centrally between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and is further south in comparison to California’s claim to fame – Napa Valley.

Although Paso Robles AVA is an area spanning over 612,000 acres, only 40,000, or 7%, is vineyard acres focusing on vine growing and wine making. Originally called El Paso de Robles, “The Pass of the Oaks”, the regions earliest Zinfandel vines date back to 1882 and the patriarch of York Mountain Winery, Andrew York. Zinfandel is the heritage varietal of Paso Robles dominating the wine production of the region for almost 100 years. However, in the 1960-70’s, the first Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah vines were planted throughout the region by various winemakers. In the last 25 years, the Paso Robles AVA has seen an international movement with the production of Rhône and Bordeaux varietals such as Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. This expansion into many successful varietals led to the approval of 11 sub-AVA’s in 2013.

While the diverse soils and distinct microclimates make Paso Robles ideal for premium wine production, the diurnal temperature variations create a nirvana for viticulture. Paso Robles lies at the backside of the Coastal Mountain Range and typical of many regions in California, the temperatures soar in the late morning through mid-afternoon. The morning combination of a marine layer, warm air, and direct sun allows temperatures to climb quickly. In the mid-afternoon, sea breezes begin blowing in from the Pacific Ocean located only 20 miles away; working their way through the mountain passes dramatically cooling the air – thus, large varying temperatures from day into night. This big diurnal temperature variation promotes sugar accumulation during the heat of the day, while the cooler nights preserves balanced levels of natural fruit acidity.

Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes

Paso Robles is a small town with rich history. More people are starting to explore wines from Paso Robles, but its AVA was established just two years after Napa Valley’s in 1983! In fact, this region produces more grape varieties than Napa Valley, a whopping 69 varieties. A couple notable wineries in this region include DAOU Vineyards and J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines.

DAOU Vineyards
J. Lohr Vineyards & Wine

One of Paso Robles’ differentiating traits is the region’s innovative technique of blending premium and ultra-premium Rhône-style blends like Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre. The Calcareous limestone in the terroir proved similar to this famous French wine region. As a result, Paso has followed in the creation of beautiful, blended wines!

Known for its friendly, laid-back vibe, Paso Robles’ innovative winemaking offers its own unique style and experience. Don’t just take our word for it, include Paso Robles in your next visit to California’s wine region!

Need help planning a trip out to Paso Robles for your team? Contact our own Director of Special Events, Cheryl Stanko, for more information at cheryl@phcp.com!

Author: admin
Created: 2019/07/15
Updated: 2019/09/12
Category: Behind the Bar
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