Paso Robles is quickly becoming a wine region to be reckoned with. Just last year, Wine Enthusiast voted Paso Robles the number one wine region of 2013 and numerous wineries continue to emerge, producing world class wines. The region became famous first for producing Zinfandel, but it is the Rhone-style blends that truly make this region shine. This past weekend I had the pleasure of visiting for an event dedicated to Paso’s premier Rhone wine producers, the Rhone Rangers Paso Robles Grand Tasting, held at Broken Earth Winery.
A great festival that is held annually, the event began with a tasting and seminar of the primary Rhone varietals grown in Paso, introduced by several of the chief winemakers of the region. In attendance was the legendary Gary Eberle, of Eberle Winery, who was greeted with thunderous applause, alongside other local legends such as Jason Haas of Tablas Creek, Steve Anglim of Anglim Winery, and Christian Tietje of Cypher Wines, to name a few. The seminar showcased nine wines emblematic of the brilliant Rhone style wines this region produces, all introduced and described by their winemaker. A first showing of the 2012 Tablas Creek Grenache Blanc and an intriguing Mourvedre (2011 El Pelon) from Cypher winery were amongst the standouts.
After the seminar, a gourmet lunch was provided by Chef Jeffrey C. Scott followed by the afternoon Grand Tasting, which featured over 40 wineries, all from Paso Robles, pouring Rhone style wines yet in a variety of styles. Some obvious favorites were well known giants like L’Aventure and Tablas Creek, yet some of the true highlights of the event were the smaller producing wineries such as ONX, Alta Colina and new comer Brecon. These wineries make only a few hundred cases but their wines are worth seeking out and trying. If up in the area, shoot them an email and they would be happy to arrange a tour and tasting.
For future Rhone Rangers events, check out their site http://www.rhonerangers.org/ A Los Angeles tasting is currently scheduled for September 9-10th.
Only three and a half hours from Los Angeles, Paso Robles makes the perfect weekend getaway for Angelenos. For those planning an upcoming trip to the area, here is a list of some upcoming Paso Robles events:
Vintage Paso: Zinfandel and Other Wild Wines, March 14 – 16, 2014
Enjoy a zin-filled weekend with activities including winemaker dinners, exclusive Zinfandel tastings, winery + vineyard tours and much more!
Paso Robles CAB Collective Gala, April 22-26, 2014
Explore the appellation’s most sought-after collection of Cabernet Sauvignon and red Bordeaux varietals, enjoy exclusive access to winemakers and savor the culinary creations of some of the region’s top chefs at a walk-around tasting event.
Paso Robles Wine Festival, May 15 – 18, 2014
Alongside the grand tasting, the Paso Robles Wine Festival promises a weekend filled with winemaker dinners, live music and open house festivities at area wineries throughout Paso Robles Wine Country.
Harvest Wine Weekend, October 17 – 19, 2014
Harvest is the most colorful time of year in Paso Robles Wine Country where wineries celebrate the beginning of the vintage by inviting you into their individual events that are as diverse as the wineries themselves.