Tasting Notes: Rangeland Wines and the Wines of Paso Robles

Rangeland is one of the best-kept secrets in Paso and Paso is one of the best-kept secrets in the wine-world.

It didn’t take me long to figure that out.

The awareness challenge that I talked about in my first Paso post, is changing….slowly. The community is banding together to help get Paso the recognition it deserves. Certainly, wine critics are paying closer attention – witness this Wine Speak conference planned for January, 2018, the goal of which is to move Paso and central coast wines up the ‘consideration list’ of wine and hospitality professionals.

rangeland lineupIn the meantime, producers like Laird and Lisa Foshay are building and curating a loyal audience of wine lovers, one guest at a time. Over 80% of their sales are through their wine club and Adelaida Springs estate visits, which allows them to sell both their estate wines and meats. They also just opened a brand new tasting room in Templeton, just south of Paso Robles (225 S. Main Street) To help broaden their audience beyond Paso’s borders, Rangeland wines are also available at select restaurants in California, New York and Chicago. But like many Paso wines, you won’t find them on a wine store shelf.

We enjoyed 2017 Grenache barrel samples with winemaker Paul Hinschberger, which I will return to purchase in 2 years.

In the meantime, here are a few of the Rangeland and other Paso wines that really made an impression:

Rangeland – 2014 – Syrah 67%, Mourvedre 33% – 15% ABV $35.00

Location, location, location. Rangeland has all the terroir a winemaker could ask for: long sunshine filled days, heat accumulation, cool nights, maritime fog influence, natural moisture, a long growing season, beautiful limestone, high pH acidic soil and elevation (1,600 feet).

Winemaker Paul Hinschberger has finessed this terroir magic into a powerful, Rhone blend that offers layers of rich, opulent fruit. On the nose and palate, it’s loaded with beautiful dark fruit – black cherry, black berry – with a peppery, deli-rich, smoky finish. The wine has firm tannins and is delightfully bright & crisp. The wine is decadent with a memorable, long finish.

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Rangeland – 2013 – Cabernet Sauvignon – 15.2% ABV $40.00

Paul and Laird are symbiotic in their mission to produce brighter, fresher Bordeaux wines in Paso. The opulent fruit is guaranteed by nature; the challenge becomes ensuring structural balance.

Rangeland Cabernet is one of those special occasion wines that you save for very special people. The 2013 drought delivered smaller berries but highly concentrated fruit flavours. This cabernet has power and depth with a defining, tannic backbone and rich, black fruit flavours. The diurnal temperature swings and naturally high, acid soils ensure crisp acidity. Lovely herbal nuances and warm spice notes add depth and a decidedly, long finish. Balance: quite perfect.

This Rangeland Cab Sauvignon is ready to drink now or test your patience and let the cellar work its magic.

More great wine from Paso Robles: 

Adelaida Vineyards and Winery –  2014 Anna’s Red – $40.00 (U.S.)

Cinsaut 29%, Mourvedre 25%, Counoise 22%, Petite Sirah 11%, Grenache 8%, & Syrah 5%

A beautifully complex, mini Chateauneuf-du-Pape blend featuring fruit from Adelaida’s calcareous rich, soil-stressed hilly vineyards on Adelaida Road.

This southern Rhone blend features bright, lively red fruit – plums, rhubarb, raspberry – with light herb de provence, savoury notes. Beautifully ripe, lots of flavor and balanced acidity.

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Calcareous – 2016 Vin Gris Cuvee – Rose – 13.2% ABV – $28.00 (U.S.)

Calcareous shares limestone rich, porous rock with it’s neighbor, Adelaida. It occupies one of the highest elevation sites on the north, west side of Paso, with scant inches of soil to anchor the vines.

The Vin Gris Cuvee is a beautifully aromatic, salmon coloured Rose. The blend of pinot noir and grenache noir offers up sweet floral aromas, with hints of old world dust and dirt – a good thing. On the palate, fresh citrus and bright red fruit notes of raspberry and strawberry. Lovely summer drinking.

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Justin – 2014 – Isosceles – 16% ABV  – $72.00 (U.S.)

73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 12% Merlot

JUSTIN helped lure me to Paso Robles. The headlines and industry buzz kept pulling me in. The producer put Paso on the map for its big, ripe Bordeaux reds with California heat and alcohol to match ….the kind Robert Parker loves.

The Isosceles doesn’t disappoint. It has tons of dark, sweet mid-palate fruit – blueberries, black cherries, cassis – with hints of vanilla, cinnamon spice and tobacco. Tannins were ripe and chewy. Lots of alcohol, but the wine is nicely balanced. This is the very definition of a big California wine and it was delicious.

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Tablas Creek Vineyard – 2014 Syrah – 14.6% ABV

Tablas Creek is a marriage of the Haas family from Paso and the Perrin Family from Chateau de Beaucastel in France. The Haas family pioneered the Rhone movement in Paso and these good folks did their due diligence, importing Rhone vine cuttings into the U.S. one quarantine at a time. No suitcase clones here.

I loved all of Tablas Creek’s wines. The winery is organic, biodynamic and most of the estate is dry farmed. I could have walked away with the shop. They’ve managed to hang onto old world terroir and strike a delicious balance with new world fruit.

The Syrah was singular in its focus and true to its Rhone heritage delivers ripe, blackberry and black cherry fruit with distinct Rhone smoke. Some might accuse the wines here of being a little too acidic – or young. I found them delightfully fresh. Also, although alcohol is still high, it’s been tempered. The Syrah in particular delivered great balance and ripe flavours with herbal nuances, nutmeg and that lovely long, gamey finish.

Treana

Treana is one of the larger wineries in Paso with a large portfolio of Liberty School, Treana and Austin Hope brands. Liberty School is well respected in Canada and the company has strong, nation-wide distribution. I thought their wines were very well made – especially the cabs and Treana offerings. Great value wines and lovely California richness and depth.

 

 

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