Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Paso Robles Wine Country - Part 2

Grapes important to Paso Robles include Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and the Rhone varietals such as Syrah, Grenache, Viognier and Roussanne, to name just a few. However, there exist numerous unique microclimates that enable the successful growing of a wide range of varietals, including Italian grapes such as Sangiovese and Barbera. In recognition of this diversity, there are plans to create 11 sub-appellations inside the Paso Robles AVA, each with its own unique growing conditions.

The large diurnal swing of temperatures in this AVA results if significant differences in climate in the various parts of this huge region. Daytime high temperatures can easily reach 85 to 105 degrees during the summer days. But as the cool marine air flows east through the Templeton Gap and south along the Salinas River from Monterey Bay, these hot temperatures are cooled in the late afternoon giving the vines a chance to rest at night.

Rainfall also varies greatly over this region. In the City of Paso Robles the annual rainfall is 15.5 inches, yet in the warmer eastern regions they might only see 8 inches in a year and in the higher western ridges they often see 45 inches.

Christian Lazo Wines is a small winery started by Steve Christian and his wife Guadalupe. Their Christian Lazo 2006 Petite Sirah is unusually delicate for a Petite Sirah and easy to drink. It is jammy with plenty of aromas and flavors of dark fruit, raspberry, cherry and blackberry. The real delight of this wine is the undertones of cinnamon, clove and allspice. The typical bramble quality of Petite Sirah is also evident.
Steve produces 125 cases of this wine and it is 100% Petite Sirah. The price is approximately $27.
Maloy O’Neill Vineyards 2006 “Hillside” Cabernet Sauvignon is the result of their experimental hillside vineyard that has extremely low yields resulting from intense canopy management and hand manicured farming techniques. The result is a wine with concentrated flavors and aromas while being very approachable now and for years. This wine has a dark, rich crimson color and exhibits all of the aromas and flavors you expect from a fine Cabernet, including dark cherry, cassis, cranberry, blackberry, and various spices such as cinammon, clove, and black pepper.

This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and is produced by winemaker Shannon O’Neill. He produces 170 cases and the price is approximately $27. 
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