I have to go to Paso Robles

Zinfandel personifies the culture and traditions of Paso Robles Wine Country. - www.pasowine.com

I saw this video today and it just made me laugh! It reminds me of those Old Spice Commercials. The video worked because it put Paso Robles back on my radar. It's definitely on my list of regions to visit - and soon. My work allows me on occasion to go to Santa Monica, California. Once there, I usually head to the Santa Barbara wine region (featured in the movie Sideways) since it's only a couple of hours away.  I think it's time to set some time aside on my next trip and drive up to Paso Robles.

Where is Paso Robles?
Located in the Central Coast region, Paso Robles is between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

What's it knows for?
I always associate Paso Robles with Zinfandel, however the region also produces a lot of the same grapes you'd find in Spain, Bordeaux, Rhone and Italy. Paso Robles grows more than 40 grape varieties!

What's Zinfandel?
Also knows as "zin" for short. In general, I haven't particularly warmed up to this grape variety although I have tasted some delicious examples. They're just a little more hard to come by. We probably don't get a lot of the good stuff imported here to Ontario. I'd love to go to the annual Zinfandel festival in Paso Robles. It's held every March. It would be a great opportunity see what can be done with this grape.

Highlights of this grape include deep, rich ripe berry fruit that can sometimes lean to the jammy side, red licorice, dark chocolate and spice such as black pepper. Zinfandel thrives on heat. It can be a big, bold wine. It's not for the faint of heart!

For more information on Paso Robles:  www.pasowine.com

In this current release of Vintages, there's a Zinfandel by McManis Family Vineyards. At $18.95, it's a basic, easy-drinking example. A good introduction to this grape.

Tasting Note
This bright and fruity wine, with its aromas of raspberry, plum, dark chocolate and red licorice, shows why California is the go-to place for Zinfandel. Dry, very fruity and also quite fresh. Soft tannins give this crowd-pleaser a nice touch of structure. This fruit-forward dynamo is ideal for gourmet hamburgers, sausages or meat pies. (VINTAGES panel, Oct. 2011)