A quick 2 day visit to the Paso Robles appellation. In addition to spending time with Linne Calodo & Saxum (which was documented on separate blog entries), here is a recap of our other visits.
Margarita Vineyard is a roughly 900 acre vineyard located at about 1000 feet elevation, 14 miles from the ocean in southern Paso Robles. It is a vineyard I have been trying to walk for many years, but did not find the right contact, until very recently, to do so. I never realized this vineyard was so big. I also wonder how this is still Paso Robles appellation, since it is located on the “other” side of Templeton.
The vineyard has 6 main soil types. The most compelling is rich in fossilized oyster shells…..BUT the shale & gravel also produce some very interesting flavors/character.
Luna Matta is another interesting Paso Robles vineyard. The parcel is 242 total acres, of which 36 are planted & organically farmed since 2001.
There are alot of interesting grape varieties being grown here, including the bigger plantings (Syrah, Grenache & Mourvedre), as well as smaller parcels of Grenache Blanc, Moscato Giallo, Aglianico, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo & Carignane. We will definitely be seeing more & more Luna Matta designated wines in the near future, especially with Stephy Terrizzi involved as a vineyard consultant.
Yet, another interesting vineyard which has been planted is the Villa Creek Estate. Owner/winemaker Cris Cherry, in addition to owning one of the best restaurants in the town of Paso Robles, also produces some terrific wines under his Villa Creek label. What started as a side project….supplying his contemporary styled eaterie with some very interesting, locally grown wine, has over the years blossomed into him building his own winery & now planting his own vineyards. Yes, these wines are certainly worth searching out for.
Our next visit was with Anthony Yount, winemaker at Denner Vineyard. We had toured the Denner Estate vineyard the day before with Matt Trevisan. Anthony was then kind enough to take us out to walk the 10 1/2 acre Basetti Vineyard, which lies outside of the Paso Robles appellation, closer to the ocean.
To the naked eye, Basetti doesn’t look like much. The most compelling influences of this vineyard, I was told, is the serpentine rock undersoils, the clay topsoil & the close proximity to the ocean (& its cool growing conditions). The 2 wineries sourcing the fruit is Denner (which produced a single vineyard 50% whole cluster, 100% Syrah in 2010, yet to be rated) & Villa Creek (92 point rated, single vineyard Syrah). I believe Denner also uses Basetti Grenache as well.
Basetti vineyard may be the beginning of a whole, new grape growing region for the future, despite its extreme growing conditions, just as we have previously seen with the Sonoma Coast appellation further north. I would also say, Anthony Yount is a young turk you should keep an eye out on, whether at Denner or Kinero, his very own label.