Cabernet Sauvignon Month in Paso Robles Highlighted by CABS of Distinction events.
Day 2 of my cabernet weekend began with a gorgeous drive through the back roads of Paso Robles wine country out to Windfall Farms, the venue for the CABS of Distinction Winemaker Seminar and Grand Tasting, hosted by the Paso Robles CAB Collective. Nothing but rolling hills covered with vineyards and sprawling oak trees. Ahhhh….. so relaxing….
The day’s events began with a winemaker panel moderated by Wine Enthusiast’s Steve Heimoff under a tent adjacent to the main building. The all-star panel included Paso Robles pioneer, Gary Eberle of Eberle Winery, Daniel Daou, owner of Daou Vineyards & Winery, Steve Peck, winemaker at J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, David Galzignato, winemaker at Jada Vineyard & Winery, Scott Shirley, winemaker at Justin and Kevin Willenborg, winemaker at Vina Robles.
This was a trade and media seminar, so everyone, including the Goddess of Wine, was busy posting, checking-in, taking pics and making notes.
Mr. Heimoff, who in an earlier article stated, “It takes powerful, consistent evidence to smash old stereotypes, but I have now experienced it, and am ready to declare for Paso Robles Cabernet”, asked the panel to share their thoughts on the history of Paso Robles winemaking, why they thought Cabernet from this area was different/similar from/to other wine regions and where they thought Bordeaux varietals would go in this region, moving forward. Gary Eberle gave a wonderful history as he has been involved with the area since his first visit in 1972. He thought the area was perfect for Cabernet and in 1973 started his plantings. His favorite vintage so far is 1991, but for this seminar we tasted his 2009 Estate Cabernet, 100% Clone 6. I’ve loved his wines in the past and this one was no exception.
Steve went on to say that “Paso has fulfilled early expectations”, and that was exemplified by the fact that 4 of the winemakers on the panel were transplants from Napa who were excited to move to Paso to make Cabernet. David Galzignato, of Jada, sent the point home when he said, “Paso Robles has the potential to be the best region in California”.
Needless to say, this seminar was amazing – each speaker was informative while offering up amusing wine anecdotes, and their wines were all delicious hints of what’s to come from this Central Coast wine region.
After the seminar we went into the tasting where many more examples of Cabs and Cab/Merlot blends were presented. All received high scores from me, but my personal favorites included:
HammerSky Vineyards – 2007 Party of Four (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cab Franc)
Jada – 2010 Jack of Hearts (64% Petit Verdot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon)
Daou Vineyards & Winery – 2010 Estate Soul of a Lion (74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12 % Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot)
Eberle Winery – 2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
An event in Paso Robles also always means making new friends and catching up with old ones!
I was so happy to be introduced to Brigit Binns, renown cookbook author, and learn of her latest book, “The New Wine Country Cookbook“. She also teaches classes at her spectacular outdoor kitchen, Refugio, in Paso Robles. Going to have to attend one of those myself!
After the tasting, our group of trade and media was joined by the winemakers back out under the tent for a delicious lunch of duck and pork cassoulet, salads and yum brownies. The winemakers proudly roamed the area offering tastes of their wines for us to enjoy with lunch. As the temperature started to climb into the 90’s, (you know I love it), I retreated to the air conditioned comfort of my car for the drive to my next engagement….a wedding in Camarillo!
Yes, the trip was a whirlwind, but worth every minute. Nothing beats time spent in Paso Robles, where time slows down, the quiet back roads beckon, the wine flows, the food is fresh and local, and everyone is smiling. For wine geeks, Paso fans, Cab fans and wine fans – I encourage you all to make a note to look for the 2nd Annual Cabs of Distinction next Spring and treat yourself to the CABS of Paso Robles! Cheers!
I’LL DRINK TO THAT!