Tag Archives: Cabernet Sauvignon

The World … And Paso’s King: Cabernet Sauvignon

‘Cab is king.’ That is not an uncommon sentiment and many in the world of wines wouldn’t disagree.

Let’s get this out of the way first. I’m not an expert on wine. I have many friends in the abernet_sauvignon-wordpressbusiness who are very knowledgeable in wines and although I’ve been involved with every aspect of grape growing, winemaking and even bottling, I’m simply a novice learning the ropes. Ask me about football, motorsports and of course oak wine barrels and you’ll get a much more informed opinion.

One of the most popular grapes in the world including Paso Robles, Cabernet Sauvignon or cab for short, is a rich, persuasive, hearty and commanding wine that has stood the test of time. Again, I’m no expert but good cabs age well in the bottle and unlike say a zinfandel, which is my favorite varietal, they can get even better as the years roll on.

Bordeaux

The French, and especially the Bordeaux region, consider the grape their domain and though I’ve had very few cabs from France, they are without question the epitome of quality when considering the best wines can be. However, California has a meritage – which my expert friends say is similar word for heritage – the grapes are strictly Californian and follow the French model of consistencies. Do I know what that means? Not exactly, but you get my drift. By the way, California only has one heritage grape and that is Zinfandel. I just threw that in to confuse so I’m not the only one … confused, that is.

Great wines from the Bordeaux region in France have created legendary vintages.

Great wines from the Bordeaux region in France have created legendary vintages.

France produces the most cab with Chile and the United States battling for the second spot. The grape can be grown in many types of regions (even deserts) and therefore has a wide and varied flavor. With a relatively dark brooding cast, experts will often say it has a black cherry and spicy plus peppery taste.

You can pair it with steak or cheeseburger – hey, I told you I’m a novice who is a home brewer. Still, I’ve had a few burgers and brews in my life, which IS something I know. Along with barbecued beef, pizza can go very well with cab as well.

People who are novices like myself, might ask if Merlot and cab come from the same background. Both varietals originally come from the Bordeaux region of France, but I do know enough to say they aren’t the same grape, yet you might find that lighter cabs have some similarities to Merlot. Personally I like big reds so cabs and high octane Zinfandels are great and pair wonderfully with meaty dinners.

A ‘did you know’ about cab is that although it was considered its own grape for centuries, it was recently discovered that it actually is a hybrid of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc, created some four centuries ago. Here’s another interesting story I just saw that most folks won’t know. Former NFL star quarterback for the New England Patriots, Drew Bledsoe, under his companies name Doubleback, has a Top 100 cab (source – Fox News) grown in Walla Walla, Washington.  Ah, wine and football in the same sentence – you won’t find that too many times.

Paso

bon-niche-cellars_PasoRobles

Paso Robles was a hidden treasure but growing worldwide notoriety have brought the region and its wines to the forefront.

Gary Eberle helped focus attention on the cabs of Paso and they are the most widely planted grape in the Paso Robles AVA – the world’s number one wine region. Only Napa Valley bests Paso Robles as the biggest producers by region. Cab’s love the Paso diurnal, which is one of the most diverse in the world and coupled with a unique terroir, produced some great wines. Because of the relatively lack of rain Paso receives, unlike Napa or Sonoma, cabs can be controlled better on the Central Coast, creating world renown vintages. Variable and distinctive micro-climates offer contrasting flavors, giving vintners original and unique cabs.

Typical of the area, the Paso appellation has been creating better and better wines with cab leading the way. The innovative talent, terroir and weather have helped craft enormously powerful cabs with a heartiness that rivals any other wines of the world including Bordeaux and Napa Valley.

Barbequed ribs go great with Cab.

Barbequed ribs go great with Cab.

Paso Robles’ Cabernet Sauvignon have been widely known as maybe the best value wines in the world. However, with the advent of Paso’s worldwide notoriety, the rich and ripe big red cabs here on the Central Coast might find themselves as some of the premier wines in the world, period.

Now I need to grab a delicious local cab, get out the barbeque and cook up some ribs.  Or better yet, burgers … make those Kobe burgers.

Cheers,

Daryle W. Hier

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Paso Robles History Moves From Wild To Wines

Part 2 of 3

As we noted during the earliest years of Paso Robles, founded by James Blackburn and Drury James, the 19th Century offered up the town as little more than a respite for those traveling up and down the coast of California.  They had the sulfur mud hot springs and a train depot but for the most part, the region was ranch and farmland during the Wild West.

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Outlaws Jesse and Frank James frequented Paso Robles.

Speaking of the Wild West, as an interesting side note, notorious outlaw Jesse James was Drury’s nephew and hid out in Paso Robles at their ranch and hotel (Paso Robles Hotel), while healing from a wound in a robbery back east.  There were several tunnels and/or subterranean passages under the town and surrounding region to hideout in or getaway if spotted.  Years later, Jesse’s older brother Frank – after serving some jail time – was seen visiting his family in Paso Robles up into the early 20th Century.

Wine slowly rooted itself in the region

As time went on, almond orchards were everywhere and for an era, made the town renowned for their almond production as the ‘Almond Capital of the World’ – before the San Joaquin Valley found water.  Nevertheless, during the late 1800s, Paso had some of the first commercial wineries built – mostly Italian immigrants planted the vines with many of them Zinfandel.  This period was known as the one of the first wine booms in California.

Just prior to World War I, famous Polish composer Ignace Paderewski, while touring, used the sulfur baths for relief of his sore pianist hands and was so taken by the area that he purchased a 2,000 acre ranch.  Paderewski primarily planted Zinfandel – with his name bringing more notoriety to the region.  The Paso Robles Hotel was infamous for visits from big name dignitaries like Paderewski, who stayed there mainly for the mineral hot springs.

Cattle ranches were also huge in the surrounding area and together with orchards, vineyards and farms, the town flourished and grew.  During the early days of the Depression, the businesses started a celebration called Pioneer Day in which private donors, churches and organizations got together to give back to the community and say thank you.  Pioneer Day is still celebrated in early October every year and to this day, the event is free to all including a parade, bean-feed and many other activities.

Small until …

Camp Roberts, Ca., helped bring an influx of population to the Paso Robles area in the Mid-20th Century.

Camp Roberts, Ca., helped bring an influx of population to the Paso Robles area in the Mid-20th Century.

Paso never really blossomed in size until the Army built Camp Roberts during World War II, just a dozen miles northwest of town.  However, my father Ron remembered visiting family in Atascadero (just 12 miles south of Paso) after the war and Atascadero was by far the larger and vibrant of the two towns with Paso considered a dusty little town.  The hot springs over time dried up and it appeared Paso Robles would be nothing more than a small town, lost in the big expanse of California.

One of the few things the town was known for, the Paso Robles Hotel burned down in 1940.  However, a new Paso Robles Inn replaced it and would continue its notoriety through the years.  After World War II, the Mid State Fair took form and added another reason for coming to the little town on the eastern edge of the California Coastal Range.

Cabernet Sauvignon - West PR

Cabernet Sauvignon was planted widely 50 years ago and is now the top grape grown in the Paso Robles region.

Through the 1970s, not much changed in Paso Robles and yours truly visited here in ’73 or ’74 (it’s too long ago to remember clearly) to play football and this was a small town then with maybe 7,000 residents.  Still, during this time, there were definite signs the town had turned to wine including the addition of thousands of acres of Cabernet Sauvignon being planted.

An innovative generation of visionaries brought the town a new economy that would change Paso forever.

We’ll finish this story shortly so keep an eye out for more here very soon as Paso Robles makes history …

Cheers,

Daryle W. Hier 

http://pasowinebarrels.com/

What’s Your Favorite Red Wine?

RedWine-glassandbottle.oppChoosing a wine as your favorite for some connoisseurs is nearly impossible as they love many different types of wine.  While some aficionados might stick with just a few particular varietals, others really don’t care.  Still, when push comes to shove, there’s always a favorite type of wine you gravitate towards.  So what might that be?  And share this poll with friends, family and colleagues.

Cheers,

Daryle W. Hier 

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