The SOMM Journal

June / July 2018

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{ } 67 After the sale of Mondavi Winery, Owners Doug Filipponi, Karl Wittstrom, and Rob Rossi bought back their lease and launched Ancient Peaks Winery in 2005. "We have 17 varieties planted here now," said Filipponi, who explained that the ranch's broad diversity in both micro - climates and soil types makes some areas better suited for cool-climate varieties like Pinot Noir. "That's why the sub-AVAs they created here all make sense, because Paso is not just Paso. It's so diverse," he added. Once our heart rates calmed post- zipline, we made our way to an elegant luncheon at the winery's Oyster Ridge event space. There, we were greeted with glasses of the Ancient Peaks 2017 Sauvi - gnon Blanc: an aromatherapy experience that awakened our senses with mouthwa- tering acidity and notes of fresh guava and golden berries. Over lunch, we tasted through the stellar Ancient Peaks lineup of Bordeaux varietals (SRPs average around $20) as we received an overview of Paso Robles: one of the fastest-growing appellations in California. When the AVA was established in 1983, there were only around 5,000 acres planted to vine and a handful of wineries in operation. The wine community has grown dramatically since then, and total plantings have increased to more than 40,000 acres. Somms zip across the vineyards at Ancient Peaks Winery in the Santa Margarita Ranch AVA. CAB Camp participants from left to right: Tom Myers, Winemaker, Castoro Cellars; Damian Grindley, Winemaker, Brecon Estate; Daniel Daou, Winemaker, DAOU Vineyards & Winery; Cynthia Lohr, Trade and Brand Advocate/Co-Owner, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines; Gary Eberle, Owner, Eberle Winery; and Ryan Bosc, Assistant Winemaker, Adelaida Vineyards & Winery. day 1 After checking into the beautiful Allegretto Vineyard Resort, our group of somms was shuttled to the historic Santa Margarita Ranch AVA. There, we glided across five ziplines overlooking the southernmost Paso Robles subregion. The 14,000-acre ranch was initially cultivated in 1998 by the Mondavi family, who leased the land and planted nearly 1,000 acres of vines over the course of three years. "That's tens of millions of dollars that they invested in this terroir," said Mike Sinor, Director of Winemaking for Ancient Peaks Winery. "That's how much potential the Mondavi family saw in this piece of land."

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