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Stuck In A Wine Rut? 5 Paso Wines To Re-Ignite The Fire

The thrill is gone. You used to love this wine, and now…well…it’s just become too much of a good thing. Don’t throw out your go-to bottles altogether. Instead, give ‘em a little break (we won’t tell anyone, promise). The spice of life is waiting! Today we’re breaking down five Paso Robles classics—Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and Viognier—and offering up a few fresh alternatives. Don’t get us wrong: these varietals are uber-popular for a reason, but just as it is with any relationship, it’s important to “spice things up” from time to time. So, light a few candles, turn on some soft, slow tunes, and get ready to fall in love.

1. Sensual Sangiovese

Pelletiere-Estate_Sangiovese_Paso-Robles-WineriesWho doesn’t crave a big, bold glass of Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon? With fruitiness that can range from dark plum to bright berry, sizable steak-friendly tannins, and impeccable balance (owed to Paso Robles’ long, warm growing season), smooth-drinking Cab is the “little black dress” of Paso wines. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other local varietals that tick off every box on the “best dressed” list. Italian Sangiovese also grows extremely well in the area, yet trades elegant black for an energetic red party dress. Commonly boasting a head-turning sour red cherry flavor, Sangiovese’s spicy allure is also known to include a mysterious undercurrent of earthiness sure to keep you guessing (who was that red-dressed lady?). With bright acidity and a plush mouthfeel, this wine is the first to arrive at the party and the last to leave.

Wine Pick: Pelletiere Estate 2010 Sangiovese: This wine isn’t just “bold.” It’s downright “grandiose,” and not afraid to say so. Ruby red color highlights enticing warm cherry compote, fresh raspberry, and heady violet. Paired with a creamy oak palate and nuanced finish, this wine is no wallflower.
For Mapping & Directions to Pelletiere Estate, Click Here.BUY-THE-WINE_Button


2. Flirty GSM Rosé

Oso-Libre_Rose_Paso-Robles-WineriesLight in body and big on flavor, Pinot Noir has a reputation for expressing terroir with unbeatable grace and style. With refined flavor ranging from grassy strawberry to ripe cherry, the popular cool climate grape gets a burst of personality in Paso Robles thanks to warmer, growing-grounds that add layers of leather and spice. A Paso-grown GSM rosé hits similar spicy, fruity high-points with panache and swankiness to spare. In this blend, Grenache contributes spice, red fruit flavor and alcohol; Syrah adds structure and dark fruit seductiveness; and moody Mourvedré brings the tannins, pinky flushed color, and lingering finish. The result is as intriguing as it is pretty-looking…and absolutely perfect paired with salmon, chicken, or grilled veggies. You know what they say. Go light or go home!

Wine Pick: Oso Libre’s 2012 Rosalinda is a plucky, pink blend of Mourvedré, Syrah, and Grenache that boasts just a dash of floral Viognier (2%). Light on its feet, yet robust in personality, it is the perfect light red pick-me up.
For Mapping & Directions to Oso Libre, Click Here.



3. Romantic Albarino

Let’s face the facts. A decade ago, no one knew what the word “Viognier” meant in Paso Robles, save for a few forward-thinking growers. And when it came to pronouncing it…good luck! Today, things have certainly changed, as the popular Rhône white has popped up all over the region. Known for its fabulous floral exuberance, bright acidity, and honeysuckle flirtatiousness, it is the “it girl” on the scene. Another fun, fruity white to take for a spin? Albarino, which also boasts bright acidity and oodles of girlish charm. White peach, apricot, and jasmine mingle to create a heavenly concoction perfect for a warm afternoon on the porch or a meal of sushi, swordfish, or Pad Thai. There’s not doubt about it: This delicate Spanish varietal is a breath of fresh air, as uplifting as a bouquet of flowers.

Wine Pick: Arroyo Robles 2011 Albarino: Sunny fruit flavors and a clean minerality make for a versatile white wine that delights in the glass and tickles the palate.
For Mapping & Directions to Arroyo Robles, Click Here.

4. Spontaneous Chenin Blanc

Chardonnay, perhaps the most beloved white wine grape, is a notoriously versatile people pleaser. Depending on the aging process, it can be clean and sharp as a squeeze of lemon or as oaky and buttery as lemon meringue pie crust. Sumptuous Chenin Blanc is also a multi-talented white grape with plenty of possibilities to work with. The varietal’s high acidity works well in sparkling wines, dessert wines, and marvelous still whites that wow on the tongue. That’s right—don’t mistake this varietal’s neutrality for “boring.” The grape’s blank canvas characterizes each unique terroir, vintage and treatment. In warm Paso Robles, the grapes are known to shine with satisfying flavors of quince and apple, although the golden-hued grape still tends to surprise winemakers…and tasters…from year to year. Could any white be less blah?

Wine Pick: Lone Madrone’s 2014 Chenin Blanc is fruity and crisp—like a breath of fresh air on a temperate Paso Robles morning.
For Mapping & Directions to Lone Madrone, Click Here.

5. Luscious Malbec

Dubost-Ranch_Malbec_Paso-Robles-WineriesZinfandel is known for its big, fruit flavor, zesty spice, and energetic aura. The zippy red is legendary in Paso Robles—after all, it’s enjoyed a more than 100-year history in the region. No one is saying Zin isn’t King in Paso Robles…but after Zinfest Weekend, we all have several cases of the wine sitting in our cellars. A bit darker and heavier in body, yet just as fruit forward and juicy, Malbec offers a punch of plummy goodness that pairs well with steak, red game meat, and beef stew. Love those jammy zins? You may take to Malbec’s lush, ripe charm like a fish to water. Swirl the glass for a whiff of herbaceous licorice and let the bold scent sink into your senses. If Zinfandel drives a motorcycle, Malbec drives a muscle car.

Wine Pick: Dubost Ranch Winery’s 2010 Malbec is bolstered by black currant, rich caramel, raspberry, and vanilla crème, then wrapped in dark smoke, rugged earth, and smooth leather. Hubba hubba!
For Mapping & Directions to Dubost Ranch, Click Here.

This blog was written by Hayley Thomas, food and wine writer for New Times and You can reach her at [email protected]

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