Paso Robles Grand Tasting

Quite a large crowd turned up for the Paso Robles Tasting. Photo by Natalie Mills

Recently the Paso Robles Vintners and Growers Association hosted a huge tasting at the NTC Promenade in San Diego. Close to 300 wines were available to taste, with 47 wineries pouring.

Taste of Temecula showed with bolstered ranks, but even with four people covering the show, we were unable to taste everything.

For the most part the trade buyers stayed away, with very few purchase agreements drawn-up. This was sad for the Paso Robles Vintners, but  it was an outstanding media turnout. Then again journalists and all the wine they can drink, there is a punch-line in there somewhere.

There was definitely some tension in the air, as one vintner was over heard to say “It’s 80 percent media here, but almost no buyers”. Granted if he was more gracious to the media, maybe we would write good things about his outstanding Sauvignon Blanc, which would interest a distributor and solve his financial woes.

Not for beginner palates. This show was a true test about speed tasting as it was only three hours in duration, forty plus wineries and three hundred wines. That works out to 36 seconds per wine, or just under four minutes per winery. Hardly time to even say hello, much less ask many detailed questions.

Prior to this event, I had not tasted many wines from Paso Robles. I would like to think that I have now been exposed to a good cross section, and for the most part the quality ranged from good to excellent. Rhone varietals and blends were certainly the show stoppers.

Photo by Natalie Mills

My palate stopped working around wine number 85. I was tasting some very unusual wines from kukkula when I tasted one that defied description and that was it, I could taste no more. My olfactory senses had shut down, and screamed out for a beer to settle the taste buds down…but Stone Brewery is another story.

Notable Wines from the Show

Clayhouse Wines

2008 Malbec, non-typicity, very delicate, gentle. ($14.00)
Clavo Cellars

2005 Collusion, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, again in the style of Chateauneuf de Pape, a little muted, perfect for a hot day.($25.00)

2008 Oracle, Grenache Blanc, first experience with this varietal, would like to try it again one day, a little sour is my only tasting note. ($25.00)

Clautiere Vineyard

2008 Viogner, 120 cases produced, super floral nose, pineapple, apple, wonderful finish. ($18.00)

2004 Mon Beau Rouge, in the classic style of Chateauneuf de Pape classic but with a hint of perfume. ($29.00)

D’ Anbino Vineyards and Cellars

2008 Rose, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, delicate nose, syrah underpinning, watermelon and strawberry. ($15.00)

NV Orchestration, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, petit syrah, very delicate, mild tannins, long aftertaste. ($28.00)

NV Orchestration, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, petit syrah, bluberry, delicate finish, unexpected. ($28.00)

D' Anbino Vineyards and Cellars. Photo by Natalie Mills

Kenneth Volk Vineyards

2005 Cabernet Franc, a few of my colleagues said this was an excellent varietal. ($36.00)

Kenneth Volk Vineyards. Photo by Natalie Mills


2006 sisu, syrah, grenache, mourvedre, floral, berry nose, perfectly balanced, wonderful berry bite, nice finish. ($24.00)

2005 i.p.o., cabernet, syrah, zinfandel, big berry, big finish. ($28.00)

2008 vaalea, viogner, roussanne, very smooth floral nose, fruity, spritzy. (18.00)

kukkula. Photo by Natalie Mills

Silver Horse Winery

2007 super yummy, cabernet sauvignon, 100% French oak, 1/2 ton per acre, classic. ($50.00)

2007 yummy, cabernet sauvignon, from 22 year old vines, mix of Hungarian and French Oak. ($38.00)

Silver Horse Winery. Photo by Natalie Mills

Vina Robles

2009 Jardine, sauvignon blanc, fantastic example. ($16.00)

Zenaida Cellars

Wanderlust, Grenache, Syrah, Zinfandel, Viogner very nice balance. ($35.00).

Tom and Laura Plant, from WINEormous (Temecula). Photo by Natalie Mills

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