Hello Wine Lovers, from 5pm to 8pm today June 16th at Ralphs, we’re once again venturing up the coast of California to Paso Robles to check out the wine growing region. Many of the Paso wineries are producing wines that are rich and deep full-bodied wines. The special climate in that region allows the wind and cold air of the local foothills to sweep along the vineyards during the ripening season. This provides enough cool weather so the vines do not overheat. Much like turning an air conditioner to cool the berries on the vines. The surrounding foothills offer a great place to grow hearty red wines. Syrah and Cab are abundant as well as Merlot and Zinfandel. Some producers like Estancia grow all five of the Bordeaux varietals to make Meritage wines that are truly spectacular. One of the most famous wine producers up in Paso Robles is the Justin Winery. Justin is well known in the business for producing full-bodied Cabernet and heavy structured red blends. Justin Isosolices Cabernet is one that comes to mind. Also Justification Cabernet is one that is produced. Both bottles are around the 100.00-dollar mark and will lay down many years due to the high rate of tannin and structure. The fruit is tight and the tannins are heavy when the wine is young allowing great aging.
Farther into the hills wineries like Eberle are found . Gary Eberle and his family produce reds that are simply divine. His white wines are excellent offerings as well. He uses a Russian Black boar on his giving a nod to the local beast that roams the nearby foothills and that can be somewhat of a nuisance if not properly culled during the year. Many hunters spend time and money in Fort Hunter Ligget and nearby San Simeon hunting the wily Russian Boar. Newspaper billionaire Randolph Hearst owner of Hearst Castle in the 19 century made his fortune and built the magnificent estate. One of his passions was hunting, he bred the Russian Black boar with the American sow, and produced a wily permanently pissed off beast of stout structure. Miss Piggy wouldn’t know what to do with one of these suitors!. San Simeon, which is farther up the coast from Paso, has the coastal influence to grow wonderful Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. These varietals enjoy cool mornings warm afternoons and cool evenings to ripen correctly. This area provides an excellent microclimate for the process to happen. Coastal fog is the major player in this region. Much like the winds coming to Paso to cool the vineyards the fog in the morning and evening lays heavy on the vines blanketing them in ambient cool air allowing slow growth and medium temperatures to exist.
In my own experience of traveling to this region, I was helping an uncle move furniture to his mother in laws home. We drove up the 101 along the beach and then headed east to Templeton, about mid August. (not the time to go here!) T my surprise the countryside was serene and untouched California foothills. This perfect picture of California back country was too good to be true, average heat was about 104* and my little pick up did not have air conditioning. This was second to the fact that the area we were driving to was a major growing area for olives. I was tested for allergies as a kid and showed up positive almost off the charts positive for olive pollen !. Well this explained my constant itchy eyes and runny nose and overall state of misery and now growing contempt for my uncle and his newfound bride for dragging me to this serene pastoral corner of HELL. On the ranch to which we were heading the family raised Morgan Horses, temperamental stout workhorses often used as plow or cart ponies. The one highlight of the farm was a Black stallion stabled down the path He was a real Elegant old sole. 22-years-old and just a magnificent creature, obsidian black eyes with a lacquer black coat. He looked down at me as and accepted the cut apple in my hand that he gratefully gummed to a pulp. It was all ok after that or so I thought, I found out I was allergic to horses too! See you tonight, no horses please!
Mike The Wine Guy.