The SOMM Journal

August/September 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 90 of 119

{ }  91 Pavlevska was the one who often led the group with cries of "Calcareous!"—partly because of her findings, and partly out of sheer enthusiasm. "By the third day," she tells us, "I remember thinking to myself, I really underestimated Paso Robles and I am so glad to be proven wrong. This place has so much potential, you can just feel the spirit of progress in the air, everywhere we went." Spreti Valente, CS, of Anne's Boutique Wines in Costa Mesa, echoes the thoughts of the sommeliers participating in the CAB Camp: "Understanding terroir is key to under - standing a region like Paso Robles, given that one of the biggest misconceptions is that Paso Robles wines are grown in an arid desert with a lot of heat. I think this trip pretty much blew that myth apart for all of us." Day 1 – Proposed New Sub-Regions and Clones, Clones, Clones Much of the recent surge in Cabernet Sauvignon quality has come from growers' and winemakers' fuller understanding of the terroirs within Paso Robles, an American Viticultural Area since 1983. At this writing, Paso Robles remains the largest un-subdi- vided AVA in the U.S. Napa Valley, by way of contrast, is about a third of the size of Paso Robles, yet encompasses 16 different approved sub-AVAs. At our first stop, Vina Robles Vineyards & Winery, Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance Executive Director Jennifer Porter made a PowerPoint introduction, touching upon on the 11 proposed Paso Robles AVAs submitted in 2007 to the TTB (Alcohol & Tobacco's Tax & Trade Bureau), which are now in the final stage of the approval process. "The diversity," said Porter, "allows us to grow over 40 different varieties, but Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted grape." Vina Robles Winemaker Kevin Willenborg followed up with a tasting focused on sen - sory qualities reflecting the 11 different prospective AVAs. Primarily a vineyard opera- tion, Vina Robles farms six vineyards in Paso Robles, totaling 1,300 acres, in several of the proposed AVAs, utilizing less than 15 percent of what they grow for their own Vina Robles label. "With this much planted acres at our disposal," said Willenborg, "we are able to cherry-pick grapes for our Cabernet program... about 45 percent of what we grow is Cabernet Sauvignon, supplying many of the top wineries in Paso Robles." Willenborg tasted us on these 2013 barrel samples: ■ A softer, fruit-forward, slightly jammy Cabernet Sauvignon from the pro- posed Paso Robles Estrella District—one of the warmer pockets of Paso Robles, but with well drained alluvial soils with an alkaline calcareous base. ■ A multi-faceted yet creamy textured Cabernet Sauvignon from the proposed Creston District—a higher-elevation hillside terroir (1,000–2,000 feet) that cools off during the growing season, giving wines with more mineral dimensions. Our group of 19 Southern California sommeliers led by SOMM Journal Editor-at-Large Randy Caparoso. Also pictured, Daniel Daou of DAOU Vineyards & Winery, fourth from left. Katie Dinovo, CSW, Terranea Resort, Palos Verdes Peninsula. Owner-grower Craig Stoller in the Sextant estate vineyard with Spreti Valente, CS, Anne's Boutique Wines in Costa Mesa. PHOTO: RANDY CAPAROSO

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The SOMM Journal - August/September 2014