Paso Robles road show

It's not a huge region, but it's growing fast: Paso Robles covers 40 square miles, 25,000 acres of vineyards and close to 100 wineries. For the first time, 32 of the region's producers are on a four-city tour--New Orleans, Chicago, Denver, Seattle--to show off their wines and raise the region's profile.

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The Seattle tasting, at Waterfront Seafood Grill on Pier 70, began with a seminar led by winemakers Stephan Asseo, in the red shirt, and Austin Hope on the diversity of the Paso Robles AVA: over 50 varieties planted [though almost half the acreage is cabernet sauvignon], soils that range from calcareous to sandy loam to clay, rainfall that varies from 6 to 60 inches, and day-night temperature swings of up to 50 degrees.

The region's greatest contribution may be its idiosyncratic "Paso Robles" blends: a syrah-cabernet from Asseo's l'Aventure winery reminded me of Domaine de Trevallon, while his grenache-mourvedre-syrah blend was mainstream Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Asseo's a classically trained French winemaker, by the way, who grew frustrated by AOC regulations in Bordeaux and settled in Paso Robles just seven years ago. "I didn't want to make another Bordeaux," he said. "I left Bordeaux to make something else."

Straddling Highway 101 midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the region welcomes visitors with festivals in spring, a harvest wine tour in October, even a three-day wine university.

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It was old home week for the executive director of the PRVGA, Stacie Jacob. Until six months ago, she was communications director for the Washington Wine Commission, so she has plenty of experience developing PR for newer wine-growing regions. And all four of the Paso tastings were produced by local sommelier David LeClaire, whose company, Wine Events & Promotions, is increasingly active outside of Seattle.

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This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on June 7, 2005 5:58 AM.

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