The Paso Robles AVA in the San Luis Obispo County, which falls between Los Angeles and San Francisco, has a long history of producing quality wines made from Zinfandel. The region’s prolonged growing season that’s full of warm days and cooler nights leads to big wines with vibrant and concentrated fruit. But beyond the spicy and jammy Zinfandels, there are over 40 different varietals grown throughout the region’s 26,000 acres under vine––including the fashionable Rhône varieties Syrah and Grenache. These wines are also considerably robust in style, with intense fruit as the primary focus. The area has also become quite the tourist attraction with its myriad tasting rooms, boutique shops and local restaurants filling the downtown streets. For more information on the wines of the region be sure to check out our Paso Robles Wine Guide.
With 21% residual sugar, this is an enormously sweet wine, one of the most honeyed of the vintage. A little sugar goes a long way, of course, but this wine also charms with rich, powerful apricot, peach and vanilla custard flavors, perfectly balanced with crisp acidity. With consistently high scores over the years, Tears of Dew has taken a place in the front ranks…
Remarkably inky in color for a Grenache-based blend, it features strong aromas of cedar, meat and deeply purple fruit. The soft, rich mouthfeel coats the palate like a luxurious lacquer, and features flavors of blackberry jam, macerated cherry and vanilla-spiced plums. The blend of florals, herbals, fruit and oak-driven tannins is masterful. Drink now by itself or…
Although this Cab is quite tannic, it’s really good now. Shows impeccable balance in a New World style that oozes black and red currants, dark chocolate, licorice, cedar and plums, with a note of raw, bloody meat. Very high quality, an excellent rendition of western Paso Robles hillside Cabernet. Good through 2015, with proper cellaring.
Solidly in the Saxum style, which is to say a high alcohol (15.5%), massively flavored wine of enormous concentration and power. The blackberry, cherry, cassis and chocolate flavors have all kind of overtones, ranging from licorice and vanilla to gingerbread and candied violets. Saxum has become a cult favorite, one of the highest-priced brands from Paso Robles…
This dessert wine has pushed itself to the front of the line of California sweeties, and the ’04 is a great bottling. It’s enormously sweet in late-harvest character, with apricot liqueur, pineapple tart and vanilla cream flavors that are brightened and boosted with cleansing acidity. So addictively delicious you just can’t help yourself.
A fabulous white Rhone blend of enormous complexity and charm. Fills the mouth with butterscotch, creme brulee, pineapple, stony mineral, vanilla, impossibly ripe white peach and creamy hazelnut flavors, and as sweet as that sounds, the wine is dry and crisp. The greatest Esprit Blanc ever. Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Viognier.
This is awesome Syrah. It starts with wonderfully rich and inviting aromas of Provencal herbs, such as thyme, bay leaf and rosemary, and a note of lavender. The fruit is all cherries and blackberries, sweet and pure, seasoned with smoky oak. Fresh in acids, backed with firm but soft and complex tannins, this is a dramatic and beautiful wine. What a long, rich finish.
Paso Robles is making a play for the most congenial home in California to sweet Muscat, under any name, and this wine shows why. It’s crisp and acidic, sweet but not cloying, and offers wonderful flavors of mangoes, papayas and honey-sweetened peach pie. Addictively good, and the alcohol is only 11.5%.