So Many Wines, So Little Time!
Paso was known for olives for many years and it is only recently that the wine world there has bloomed. Just like Walla Walla, known for onions, the number of wineries has exploded in the past five to ten years. Paso even has its eccentric Frenchman at L'Aventure making world class wine . It has its incubator wineries similar to those at the Walla Walla airport such as Anglim which has a tasting room downtown and makes wine in a shared facility. Winemakers help each other out. The winemaker at Tablas Creek trained with the winemaker at Adelaida and Tablas Creek in partnership with Chateau Beaucastel imported Rhone varietal vines that pretty much launched the Rhone Rangers and many of the wineries in Paso Robles. It even has it's superstars such as Helen Turley who can hide out in Paso from the advocats and barristers in Napa while turning out great wines in pastoral bliss just west of downtown.
Paso is split into two very distinct regions - east and west of downtown. To the west, the wines are the antithesis of the stereotypic California fruitbomb. No tropical fruit and oak here. The wines are almost all somewhat acidic and thin in a style very similar to their French counterparts. They are definitely food wines. To Robert Parker's credit many of these limestone based wines have scored in the 90s showing that Parker is not stuck on the gout Parker, even though winemakers all over the world are still striving for the Enologix numbers that paint a wine big with lots of fruit and chocolate. Wines from the east side are valley wines with more fruit and soft structure, more typical of the California prototype. With so many wines and so little time we spent what little we had on the west side among the limestone slopes between the town and the glorious 1700 foot hills lurking majestically above the Pacific.