The SOMM Journal

August/September 2014

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90 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2014 "CALCAREOUS!" This became the battle cry shouted out by our group of 19 Southern California sommeliers while charging from the vans that took us up and down the hills and mountainsides of Paso Robles—especially by the third day of our three-day Paso Robles CAB Camp this past April, co- sponsored by The SOMM Journal and the Paso Robles CAB Collective. The Paso Robles AVA is, in fact, a 24-square-mile region defined by a Mediterranean climate typical of the California Coast . . . but with just about the highest possible diurnal swings (typically 40° to 50° during the growing season). There are also some 45 different soil series in Paso Robles, consist - ing primarily of weathered granite, volcanic and ancient marine sedimentary rocks, plus a common thread of blindingly white (or pinkish, as we found near Peachy Canyon Road) calcareous shales and sandstone with pH values hover- ing around 8.0. Because of the inverse relationship between high pH in soils and low pH in wines—a phenomenon epitomized in Champagne, Burgundy and the Loire regions of France—this makes Paso Robles–grown wines among highest in natural acidity in the U.S.—a concept that hit our visiting sommeliers like an anvil on the head. Pamela Singh of Montage in Laguna Beach tells us, "Learning about soil and vineyard temperatures from a book is one thing; crumbling calcareous soil between your fingers as you shiver on a chilly morning in the vineyard is quite another." Adds Nadia Pavlevska CS, CSW, a Los Angeles restaurant consultant for her own NP Wine Consulting, "We learned about Paso Robles in the best way possible—by walking the vineyards, feeling and smelling the soil in our hands, and tasting the wines right then and there, while talking to growers and winemakers." CAMP [ ] THE SOMM JOURNAL "Calcareous!" became the battle cry of our group. The author taking notes for our first SOMM CAMP. A view of Paso Robles from high atop DAOU Mountain. 2014 Paso Robles CAB Camp SOMMELIERS GET A FULL IMMERSION IN CABERNET SAUVIGNON TERROIRS THANKS TO THE PASO ROBLES CAB COLLECTIVE by Randy Caparoso / photos by Jeremy Ball additional photography by Randy Caparoso

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