Oaks and vineyards dot the landscape around El Paso de Robles, California. Paso Robles American Viticulture Area (AVA), San Luis Obispo County is the third largest and fastest growing wine region in California. There are over 180 wineries in this appellation. Paso Robles Wine Country wineries are part of the green movement, with increasing numbers of wineries becoming SIP Certified (Sustainability in Practice Certified), Certified CCOF Organic or engaged in sustainable agriculture. After touring the area I would put the following five greener wineries at the top of my list:
1. Halter Ranch Vineyard
2. Tablas Creek Vineyard
3. Pipestone Vineyard
4. L’Aventure Winery
5. Castoro Cellars
Halter Ranch Vineyard (SIP Certified)
Halter Ranch 8910 Adelaida Road is a 960-acre ranch of which 240-acres is an estate vineyard with 20 grape varietals. The Halter Ranch Vineyard, a historic property produces Bordeaux and Rhône style wines. When we visited Halter Ranch a very friendly cat and a welcoming staff greeted us. We tasted 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 Rosé, 2010 Côtes de Paso Blanc, 2008 Côtes de Paso, 2008 Syrah, 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 Ancestor Estate Reserve and 2008 Vin de Paille (see description and tasting notes). We especially liked their Cabernet Sauvignon and the Ancestor Reserve. Reviews of some Halter Ranch wines are on Snooth. Visitors to Halter Ranch Vineyard have commented on Yelp.
Tablas Creek Vineyard (Certified Organic)
Tablas Creek Vineyard 9339 Adelaida Road is an organic vineyard. Tablas Creek Vineyard has a unique history and partnership. The winery has a wine making model, which uses select Rhône varietals to produce wine. Tablas Creek wines get good reviews by wine critics. Robert Parker’s Food and Wine article (October 2007) noted “In fact, there has been a succession of very strong vintages for the winery in the past six years, starting in 2000.” The August 2010 Wine Advocate announced Parker’s awarding of 90 points or higher to 17 of Tablas Creek wines. You can also see winery visitor’s comments on Yelp.
Pipestone (Sustainable Agriculture)
Pipestone Vineyards is a family run winery with a dedicated earth friendly vision. The vineyards produce hand-made estate grown Rhône style wines. At Pipestone we tasted 2009 Viognier, 2007 Grenache, 2007 Rhône Style Red Wine, 2007 Syrah Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 Syrah and 2006 Chateauneuf du Pipe. We liked their wines especially the 2006 Chateauneuf du Pipe. They have great Grenache. Grenache is most commonly blended with other wines and so a pure Grenache is a special treat. Pipestone is an excellent model for green wine. Reviews of Pipestone wines are on Snooth. Visitors to Pipestone have posted their comments on Uptake and Yelp.
L’Aventure Winery Stephan Vineyards (Their use of solar power is in the spirit of Sustainable Agriculture)
L’Aventure Winery 2815 Live Oak Road is a picturesque winery on the west side of Paso Robles. The owner and winemaker, Stephan Asseo has been described by Robert Parker, as a superstar. Robert Parker’s Food and Wine article describes the winery as “ producing remarkable Cabernet Sauvignon . . . . . This is the single best Paso Robles Cabernet and competes with the best Napa Valley Cabernets. Asseo also produces an intriguing Grenache-Syrah-Mourverde blend, Côte a Côte, that’s a dead ringer for a top-notch Southern Rhône wine.” When we visited the colorfully painted tasting room we loved the wines, especially the Estate Côte a Côte and Estate Cuvée. Unfortunately, we could not buy many because they are on the pricey side. You can see winery visitors’ comments on Yelp.
Castoro Cellars (SIP Certified)
Castoro Cellars Winery Templeton is a SIP Certified winery, which uses sustainable agriculture in the production of its wine. It also has over 300 acres of ” certified organic” vineyards. Castoro Cellars is high on my list due to the fact that it not only has excellent environment friendly practices but it consistently produces great wines.
What is happening at Castoro Cellars, Halter Ranch, Pipestone, L’Aventure and Tablas Creek is an excellent illustration of the attention being given to the greening of the wine industry. Paso Robles Wine Country is a good source for further information on Paso Robles wineries. The California Winery Advisor is a great source for overall information on California wineries and Paso Robles in particular. I invite you to visit my travel column at the Examineror to check out Spaswinefood.
© Sharon Parsons
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