The SOMM Journal

June / July 2017

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 85 of 124

{ } 85 ADELAIDA DISTRICT: A Curious—and Splendid—Combination of Climate and Soil The group spent a great deal of time in the Adelaida District as it is the most unique in its makeup. "We have a site I like to call a rare phenomenon: the soils of Bordeaux and the warmth of Napa," pro - claimed Daniel Daou, winemaker and proprietor of DAOU Vineyards & Winery. "I believe that Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon will disrupt the wine world in the next ten years." Adelaida Vineyards & Winery, Adelaida District Our winery visits commenced with the aptly named vineyard and winery, established by Dr. Stanley Hoffman in 1964. As the morning mist turned to a steady drizzle, winemaker Jeremy Weintraub led us on a tour through the winery. Formerly at Seavey Vineyard in Napa Valley, Weintraub was initially brought on board as Adelaida's Cabernet Sauvignon consultant before taking on a full-time position as winemaker in 2013. Weintraub is experimenting with a combination of concrete and oak fermenters. "The more I started tasting out of concrete, the more I started liking it," he shared. We sat down for a com - parative tasting of their Cabernet Sauvignon bottlings. The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon was the highlight for the group—vibrant black fruit laced with all-spice, cedar and velvety tannins; the wine was clearly still a baby. We also tasted the current Cabernet Sauvignon releases, the Signature Series, which are 100 percent from old vines, and the Viking Vineyard, which includes newer clones. "I think the color is great on the newer clones, but I happen to really like what the older plants are doing," admitted Weintraub. The troupe seemed to agree as the older vines seemed to bring a silkier, rounder mouthfeel while the newer clones were tighter, more angular, but with great aging potential. Halter Ranch Vineyard, Adelaida District An estate of 2000 acres, Halter Ranch Vineyard has 281 acres of vineyards, the rest of the rest of the land yielded to nature, including oak woodlands. Ten miles from the ocean as the crow flies, the white calcareous clay yields a high pH and has a high capacity for water. "We don't need well-drained soils because we don't get enough rain here. We're not in Bordeaux," said winemaker Kevin Sass, as he smiled. The flagship Bordeaux blend, named for a grand oak tree on the property, the Halter Ranch 2014 Ancestor exhibited purple flowers, chocolate, really ripe fruit but with a red fruit underlying that incited the acidity for a clean finish. The team has decidedly lowered their oak use in recent years. "We want the oak to create a cradle without mature while maintaining acidity and building softer tan- nins. "All those things come together here to help create 'What is Paso!'," explained Chris Taranto, Communications Director with the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, during our Introduction to the Paso Robles AVA seminar. In addition to the AVA's unique terroir, the influx of talented winemakers who have congregated here over the last two decades have propelled the region's success. Like many regions in California, the Paso Robles wine story has a grassroots beginning. "When I came down here, I was the only university trained enologist in the county," disclosed winemaker Gary Eberle, who first came to the region in 1973. "Today, we have winemakers coming here who not only have their degree in enology, they have six, seven, ten, twelve years of experience working in wineries in Napa, Sonoma, Santa Barbara. They have the science, they have the art, and that's why you've seen, I'd say in the last ten years, a sort of saltation and jump in the quality of wine in Paso." In order to explore all that Paso Robles offers, the attend - ees divided into smaller groups with diff erent itineraries—each of us experiencing separate wineries and sub-regions. For years, people have referred to the West and the East Sides of Paso Robles, the West Side with more of a maritime effect and calcareous soils and the East Side more arid, warmer and with sandier soils. In order to encapsulate the variances within the sizable AVA, 11 sub-regions became official in 2014, encompass - ing three heat zones and differing by maritime influence and soil composition. We explored the differences in the wines from these areas over our three informative days. The 11 sub-regions of Paso Robles encompass three heat zones and differ by maritime influence and soil composition. Gary Eberle helped draft the Paso Robles AVA, and his 1980 Cabernet Sauvignon was the first wine with Paso Robles on the label. "I like to have my intellectual side inform my decision-making, but I want to listen to the grapes," illuminated Jeremy Weintraub, winemaker for Adelaida Vineyards. PHOTO COURTESY OF PASO ROBLES WINE ALLIANCE

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The SOMM Journal - June / July 2017