Description 1 of 2

Paso Robles (“Oak Pass”) is part of San Luis Obispo county in California’s Central Coast. The first grapes in the area were grown by Franciscan Friars in the late 1700s, producing wine for ceremony and brandy export. Following  a period of annexation by Mexico beginning in the 1830s, European settlers arrived in the 1850s following California’s statehood. One of these was French pioneer Pierre Hypolite Dallidet, who established the area’s first commercial vineyard. English settler Henry Ditmas arrived soon after and planted the region’s first Zinfandel and Muscat. Many others soon followed, establishing wineries that are still run by their descendants.
 
Paso Robles also has its place in Wild West history. Drury James, uncle of outlaws Frank and Jesse James is one of the co-founders of the town, the original hot springs hotel and La Panza Ranch. Jesse would often visit the hot springs to soothe his lungs, while his companions no doubt drank the local wine. Jesse was murdered by Bob Ford in Missouri in 1882 and Frank James served a short prison sentence. During his “retirement” from banditry he came to Paso Robles often to visit his aunt and uncle.
 
By the 1930s at the end of Prohibition, Paso Robles was beginning to make its mark from the cultivation of Zinfandel, which became the region’s “heritage” varietal. It was during this time that wineries such as Turley (then Pesenti), Peachy Canyon, Norman Vineyards, Tobin James and Nadeau Family Vineyards began to come into prominence. 
 
The 1960s and 70s harkened the movement to plant grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with more big name wineries coming into the fore such as J. Lohr, Estrella and Adelaida Cellars. 
 
In 1989, the Perrin family (of the Rhone’s Beaucastel estate) and American importer Robert Haas established the joint venture Tablas Creek and planted 80 acres devoted to Rhone varietals (though Gary Eberle is credited with growing the first Syrah in the 1970s). Today, clones of those plantings exist as part of the “Rhone Ranger” movement which exploded in the region by the 1990s. Paso Robles now boasts the largest number of California plantings of Syrah, Viognier and Roussanne. 
 
Today, Paso Robles is home to some of the most sought after wines in California, both big and small productions. ~Amanda Schuster
– Description from Amanda Schuster

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Description 2 of 2

Gaining worldwide attention for its distinctive wines, Paso Robles is emerging as a leader in Californian viticulture. The largest AVA in San Luis Obispo County, Paso Robles has 18,500 acres under vine. Aside from a small gap near the town of Templeton, the Santa Lucia range shelters the region from the fog that cools the southern San Luis Obispo AVAs. Paso Robles is famous for its structured Cabernet Sauvignon and much of its acreage is planted with this grape. However, a group of young dynamic winemakers, part of the group known as the Rhone Rangers, is gaining attention with Syrah. Wines from the westernmost section in the foothills have the highest profile, yet it is the more fertile eastern half of the AVA that is responsible for the bulk of production. Vineyards in the western section feature a mixture of both calcerous and siliceous rocky soils and daytime summer temperatures often top 90°F. In the evening, vines are cooled by ocean breezes cascading down the eastern mountain slopes, which maintain the grapes' acidity. The eastern half of the AVA tends to be warmer and drier. Wineries in this section of the AVA typically produce full bodied wines with rich fruit character. These wines often have softer tannins and lower acidity compared to the west, making them more approachable in their youth. – Description from Appellation America (view original content)

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