We first posted our Paso Robles Wine Trails section on WineCountryGetaways.com in 2004. Maybe at that time there were 100 wineries in the area. Since that time, the area has experienced astonishing growth and now the number of wineries stands at over 200. The last couple of years, we have visited the Paso Robles wine country on several trips with the goal of revising and adding wine trails to our Paso Robles wine region.
When we first began exploring Paso Robles, the wine region was most noted for its big and bold Zinfandel wines. Peachy Canyon, Tobin James and a few others were gaining attention and popularity for their Zinfandel wines. But things are changing, and particularly on the Westside of 101, with many wineries concentrating on Rhone-style wines. The pioneer winery in this area is the Tablas Creek Winery. They imported the rootstock of several Rhone varieties from France and planted them on land they felt was similar in soil and climate to that of southern France. Tablas Creek has a nursery, and local wineries can purchase budwood and grafted vines to pursue the making of Rhone wines.
So it is not just Zinfandel that can be found in Paso Robles, it is also the land of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Rousanne, and Marsanne. The red Rhones are rich in flavors and beautifully balanced for enjoying with a variety of foods. The white Rhones make for a totally different change-of-pace from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
From our point of view the wineries on the Westside of Highway 101 in Paso Robles are more interesting to visit then those on the Eastside of 101. It is more scenic on the Westside with many different backroads. There are lots of beautiful farmlands and oak trees to view as well as large patches of vineyards. We also think the climate is better on this side for making these Rhone-style wines that we favor over the big, bold Zinfandel wines.
If you have not been to the Paso Robles wine region, you should consider a wine trip to this area. The town is loaded with good restaurants, tasting rooms, antique stores and even a few cowboy shops. Everything you need to know about planning a trip to Paso Robles can found quickly and easily on WineCountryGetaways.com.