Discover the Rich Wines of Paso Robles

Discover the Rich Wines of Paso Robles

As a Certified Wine Maker with years of experience in the industry, I'm excited to share my expert insights on the renowned wines of Paso Robles. This region is celebrated for its diverse range of grapes and exceptional wines. Let's dive into what makes Paso Robles a standout wine destination and highlight some of the most notable wines you can enjoy.

The Grapes of Paso Robles

Paso Robles is a wine lover's paradise, known for its diverse terroir and climate that support a wide variety of grape types. Here are some of the most prominent grape varieties grown in this region:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon: Known for its bold flavors and firm tannins, Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles often features notes of blackberry, cherry, and hints of spice.
  • Zinfandel: This grape thrives in Paso Robles, producing wines with rich, jammy flavors of raspberry and plum, often with a peppery finish.
  • Syrah: Syrah from Paso Robles is typically full-bodied with flavors of dark fruit, chocolate, and black pepper, offering a rich and complex taste.
  • Albarino: A staple white grape, Albarino is a crisp and refreshing wine perfect for warm Paso Robles summers.
  • Grenache: Known for its bright red fruit flavors and a hint of spice, Grenache is often used in blends but also shines as a single varietal wine.

Shale Oak Winery: A Gem in Paso Robles

One winery that truly exemplifies the excellence of Paso Robles is Shale Oak Winery. Among their impressive portfolio, the 2020 Shale Oak Syrah stands out as an award-winning wine that you must try.

2020 Shale Oak Syrah: This wine represents how Syrah is the perfect grape to be grown in Paso Robles. The grapes are harvested from sustainably farmed vineyards, ensuring the highest quality fruit. The winemaking process involves careful selection and sorting of grapes, followed by fermentation in separate one ton fermenters to preserve the fruit's integrity. The wine is then aged in a combination of new and neutral French oak barrels for 18 months, allowing the flavors to integrate and mature.

The result is a wine with a deep, rich color and a bouquet of blackberries, plums, and a hint of vanilla. On the palate, you'll experience layers of dark fruit, chocolate, and a touch of spice, all balanced by silky tannins and a long, elegant finish. The 2020 Shale Oak Syrah has received accolades including a 100 point score from the LA Wine Invitational, making it a must-have for any wine enthusiast.

Beyond the Wine: Reasons to Visit Paso Robles

While the wine is undoubtedly a major draw, Paso Robles offers a wealth of other attractions that make it a fantastic destination for visitors.

Hot Springs and Spa Experiences

Paso Robles is home to several natural hot springs that provide a relaxing retreat for visitors. The mineral-rich waters are known for their therapeutic properties. You can enjoy a soak in the hot springs at resorts like River Oaks Hot Springs Spa, which offers private tubs with stunning vineyard views.

Culinary Delights

In addition to its wine, Paso Robles boasts a vibrant culinary scene. Local restaurants and eateries emphasize farm-to-table dining, featuring fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Restaurants like Artisan and Il Cortile Ristorante offer exquisite dishes that pair perfectly with the region's wines. The Paso Robles Wine Country offers food and wine pairing experiences that highlight the best of local cuisine and winemaking.

Olive Oil Tasting

Paso Robles is also known for its high-quality olive oil production. Many wineries and farms offer olive oil tastings, where you can sample a variety of oils and learn about the production process. This adds another layer to your gastronomic adventure in Paso Robles.

Outdoor Adventures

For those who love the outdoors, Paso Robles offers numerous activities. You can explore the scenic countryside on horseback, hike through rolling hills and vineyards, or take a leisurely bike ride along the many trails. The nearby Lake Nacimiento is perfect for boating, fishing, and other water activities.

Art and Culture

The region also has a thriving arts and culture scene. The Paso Robles Downtown City Park often hosts art fairs, farmers markets, and live music events. Additionally, the area is home to several art galleries and museums, such as the Paso Robles Pioneer Museum, which provides a glimpse into the region's history.

The Climate and Terroir of Paso Robles

Paso Robles' unique combination of climate, soil, and topography creates ideal conditions for growing a wide variety of grapes. The region's hot days and cool nights contribute to the development of complex flavors and balanced acidity in the wines. Additionally, the diverse soil types, ranging from calcareous limestone to sandy loam, provide distinct characteristics to the grapes, enhancing the overall quality of the wines produced here.

Wine Tasting Experiences

The wine tasting experience in Paso Robles is second to none. Many wineries offer intimate tasting rooms where you can learn about the winemaking process and sample a variety of wines. Some wineries also offer tours of their vineyards and production facilities, providing a behind-the-scenes look at how their wines are made.

Notable Paso Robles Wines

Paso Robles is home to many esteemed wineries that distribute their wines across the country. Here are a few brands you might recognize:

  • J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines: Known for their exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, J. Lohr wines are widely available and consistently high in quality.
  • Eberle Wines: Gary Eberle is known as the godfather of Paso wines and introduced Syrah to the area
  • Justin Vineyards & Winery: Famous for their Bordeaux-style blends, Justin’s Isosceles is a standout wine that has garnered acclaim nationwide.

In Summary

Paso Robles is undoubtedly a premier wine region, offering a rich tapestry of grape varieties and exceptional wines. Whether you're a seasoned wine lover or new to the world of wine, exploring the offerings from Paso Robles is an experience you won't want to miss. From its award-winning wines to its relaxing hot springs, culinary delights, and outdoor adventures, there's something for everyone in Paso Robles. And don't forget to try the award-winning 2016 Shale Oak Tetra, a true testament to the quality and craftsmanship of Paso Robles wines.


About the Author: Curtis Hascall has been a winemaker at Shale Oak Winery since 2010. He moved from the San Francisco Bay area to San Luis Obispo where he became a food-science graduate of Cal Poly State University. His first vineyard gig was dragging hoses in the cellar at Norman Vineyards in Paso Robles. After working there for a few years, he took advantage of an opportunity to work a harvest at Cumulus Winery in Orange, Australia, where he would stay for one vintage. Curtis and the winemaking team have racked up an impressive list of awards and accolades in a relatively short amount of time. Upon your first tasting of Shale Oak, you'll know why.

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