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The Passion of Paso Robles Cabernet

Thank you to the Paso Robles Cab Collective for hosting the trip for Daily Dish Magazine to experience the flavors of Paso.

Nestled just 30 miles north of San Luis Obispo at the foothills of the Santa Lucia Coastal Range to the West in Paso Robles, you will find one of the most passionate groups of winemakers, vineyard owners, and wine industry professionals trying to share their love of the beautiful bouquets of big Boudreaux wines produced there

Paso Robles is a fast growing wine country with over 300 wineries in the Paso Robles AVA, up from only 17 in 1983. The region has long been known for the delectable Rhone-style wines that have been made there for years, however, today "Cab is King" making up over 50% of the varietals in the AVA.

"The area boasts the soil of Bourduex and the perfect temperatures of California to create the ideal conditions for Cabernet." says Austin Hope of Treana Winery. Paso Robles is crested by the Templeton Gap to the west which brings in cool morning fog from the bay followed by a gentle warming of the early afternoon hours, and then cools down again predictably around 2pm with winds pushing out the hot air leaving crisp cool evenings. Skylar Stuck of Halter Ranch Vineyard explains, "It's typical to see a 40-degree swing every day during summer from day to night temperatures". Boudreaux varietals thrive in this climate creating a "pure expression of terroir" says Daniel Daou of DAOU  Vineyards.

View from Treana Winery in Paso Robles, CA
View from Treana Winery in Paso Robles, CA

Perhaps what excites those in the wine industry most about this area are the five very unique soils found scattered throughout the Paso Robles AVA. So diverse in fact that eleven districts or sub-AVA's have been formed to showcase the different flavors this area can produce from the rocky calcareous soil of the Adelaida district to sandy loomy soils found in the foothills. It's not uncommon to find many combinations of the soils throughout one district.

The landscape also tends to create microclimates in pockets scattered throughout the AVA creating perfect conditions for Cabernet and other Boudreaux grapes.

Vineyard View of Pomar Junction Winery. Paso Robles, CA
Vineyard View of Pomar Junction Winery. Paso Robles, CA
Chateau Margene. Paso Robles, CA
Chateau Margene. Paso Robles, CA
View from DAOU Winery. Paso Robles, CA
View from DAOU Winery. Paso Robles, CA

It's no wonder that the wine industry of Paso is so excited about the big beautiful world-class Cabs coming from the area. From big wineries such as J. Lohr, Justin, Halter Ranch, Eberle, Ancient Peaks, San Antonio Winery, Vina Robles and DAOU, to smaller wineries such as Chateau Margene, Cass, Pomar Junction, Parrish Family Vineyards and so many more, exciting new Cabs and Boudreaux blends are starting to be recognized for their unique expressions as Napa Valley long has.

The culture surrounding the wine in this area is not like one anywhere else. The Passion extends into the whole community. They share the mentality that the "rising tide floats all boats", and support each other in all ways says Doug Filipponi of Ancient Peaks Winery. Steve Peck, winemaker for wine giant J. Lohr says, "even if they produce over a million cases of wine a year, they are no different than any small winery, they just have more tanks and hoses." At the end of the day, they are all there to produce great quality wine to be shared with others and create memories. When one winery has success, it's a success for the whole area.

When you do make it Paso Robles to experience the exceptional Cabs of this area, you'll find that community spirit and passion first hand as you see winery owners, winemakers, and vineyard workers often right there on site, accessible and eager to talk about what makes their particular wines so different from others, not cold stuffy tasting rooms that serve you and usher you onto your next location. They've managed to keep that intimate small-town feel, no matter how big they've gotten.

For instance, there is always a good chance you will see the "Pioneer of Paso", Gary Eberle sitting outside greeting guests, signing bottles, and talking about the vineyards and the area. Out at Cass Winery, it's not uncommon to find one of the owners, Ted or Steve sitting down with guests who are dining and chat over a glass of wine. At Pomar Junction, you'll be invited back to one of their many events to bring the community together.

The Passion for Cabernet, Bordeaux wines, the people and the community it creates is easy to see. If you're looking for a true wine experience at a slower more intimate pace than Napa, consider a trip to Paso Robles to taste the diversity in wines yourself. With more flights direct into San Luis Obispo, including a recently added direct Seattle route on Alaska Airlines, direct flights from Denver on United and direct flights from Phoenix with America West, it's never been easier to escape to Paso Robles!

When planning your trip to experience the bold Cabernet and Bourdeaux style wines of Paso Robles, be sure to start by reaching out to the Paso Robles CAB Collective for more resources. The CAB Collective was formed in 2012 by a few local winemakers and has grown to 28 member wineries who are committed to showcasing the high-quality Cabernets of the area.

Vineyard View at Parrish Family Winery. Paso Robles, CA.
Vineyard View at Parrish Family Winery. Paso Robles, CA.
Vineyard View at Halter Ranch Winery. Paso Robles, CA
Vineyard View at Halter Ranch Winery. Paso Robles, CA
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About the author

Tracy Iseminger

Tracy is a busy mother and social media junkie. Her adventures in cooking led her to create Daily Dish Magazine. She has a passion for travel and wine. You can find her writing at Back Porch Somm as well. She works with a local digital marketing agency and as a Dental Hygienist, but her favorite thing to do is spend time with her family.

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