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There is an interesting trend developing in the Paso Robles Wine Region, new wineries are opening up and are doing more experimentation with wines. We are seeing a lot of new and interesting wines varietals and specialty wines like late harvest wines and fortified wines. In fact, Paso Robles now has two specialists in the fortified wine area, Roxo Port Cellars, and Paso Port Wine Company. I believe this and the success of Rhone varietals like Syrah is a trend driven by winemakers finally admitting that Paso Robles is HOT and are making adjustments.

Our Napa-Bordeaux roots are shriveling in the heat! The summers are hot and dry (unfortunately so are the Winters lately!) Terroir wise, the west side may look like Tuscany, but probably has more in common with parts of Spain and Portugal. Spanish and Portuguese grape varietals like Grenacha (Grenache ), Touriga and Souzao (which we grow in our vineyard) do very well here –they are in their native environment with the Paso Robles heat and dryness. Of course, good Cabs etc… still come from the area, but I wonder what we could do locally if we worked more with varietals suited for the area?

The good news is Paso Robles is finally coming into its own, and getting past its Napa-want-to-be phase. We are seeing a style emerge that eventually will be uniquely Paso Robles. This is both good for wine lovers as well as Paso Robles

Where this trend will go and how fast it will develop of course is any body’s guess. At this point I believe demographic trends are favoring Paso Robles. Observing my nieces and nephews and the rise of the millennial generation in general ( the Millennials were born between 1980 and 1995), they are embracing wine as their adult beverage of choice. At the same time, their dietary choices are definitely more Southern Mediterranean influenced than classic French style. Finally, they are more inclined to drink wine as part of their everyday meals, not just as a social beverage. Certainly they know Cabernet, but Zinfandel, Syrah, Sangiovese, Grenache are just as familiar and a simpler Italian style wine is more likely to grace the dinner table than a heavy duty oakey Cabernet.

We have noticed that in general the readers of our website are younger and our concept of Central Coast Style recipes (see website article What are California Central Coast Style Recipes?) fits in very well with both their life styles as well as food preferences. Central Coast Style has three basic characteristics: the recipe uses fresh locally-grown ingredients, simple healthy preparation and simple but elegant presentation. The key concept is to feature, not over process or obscure the essence of the main ingredient. We like our wines made the same way.

We are excited about the next generation of wine makers who are coming into their own now. They share our perspective about wine. They have grown up with wine and it is not a mystical elixir to be savored only at a few special occasions. They are embracing the concept of wine as food and consequently rethinking wine making to go along with that idea. Of course every culinary tradition has a few special recipes which break the rules, and likewise there are still very special wines made for those special occasions. But in general the trend is to make lighter and more lively wines to complement food. They are doing this by sourcing fruit from vineyards with appropriate terroirs where the fruit varietal characteristics are fully expressed. Then making wine using a direct and less processed approach.


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