Paso Robles Wine Country Comes of Age
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Way back in the 17th and 18th centuries it was a very common occurrence for young people to go on what was called the Grand Tour, which essentially was a tour of all the artistic capitals of Europe. This tour took in the major French and Italian cities, where young people from wealthy families could take advantage of all the culture that these places can provide. They came to look at the artworks, the statues, the paintings in the art galleries, to spend time cruising down Venetian canals, and of course they came to taste the famous European cuisine, and with it the wide variety of wines that are such a part of European dining.
By the middle of the 20th century the Grand Tour had almost disappeared as a coming-of-age event, and in terms of going on a tour to learn about wine, it was the new world of the Americas, and especially California that was coming to the fore. By the 1980s, taking a trip up into the Napa Valley, looking at the miles of vineyards and then going to one of the many wineries to taste the produce of the sun-drenched fields was often the tour of choice. The Napa Valley is still a popular tourist destination for those who want to learn about and experience the wine culture, but there are now several other regions that are vying for attention, and among one of the most prominent is the region known as Paso Robles, which is a sub-region of San Luis Obispo county.
Paso Robles Takes Its Place
Still, although it is only recently that this region has come to prominence and gained some popularity, it is not new to winemaking by any stretch of the imagination. Grapes have been grown there since the 1700s, when they were produced by Franciscan monks in order to produce wine and brandy. Certainly by the time the Prohibition era had ended, the area was already well known for purchasing Zinfandel, and by the time the wine market exploded in the 1980s, when large amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon were being produced in the surrounding areas, Paso Robles has become a winemaking region in its own right. However, it wasn’t until the introduction of Rhone varieties into the area that the region really started to make a name for itself, and within a matter of just a few years Rhone varieties such as Grenache, Mourvédre, Roussanne, Grenache Noir, Syrah, and Grenache Blanc had become well-established, and by 2010 there were some 38,000 acres of land given over to production of Rhone wine. As the production of wine has flourished, the area has become popular for wine tours and tastings, much as the more famous areas of Napa Valley and Sonoma became several decades earlier.
Just a small selection of wineries include Tobin James Cellars is a traditional wooden-structure winery with a western-style saloon built on the site of an old stagecoach stop, and the Robert Hall Winery is a winery with an imposing frontage and founded by one-time Arizona resident Robert Hall after he became captivated by the winery lifestyle during a trip to France in the 1970s. Don’t miss Tablas Creek Vineyard which is set in an area of limestone soils similar to Châteauneuf du Pape in the Rhone area in France.
Along with being able to indulge in its wines and see the striking countryside of this region, which takes about a 4-hour car trip from Los Angeles, visitors can also soak up the fact that the area is soaked in Wild West history, with the visitors back in that lawless time including none other than Jesse James, whose uncle, Drury James, was one of the co-founders of the town of Paso Robles from which the wider region takes its name.
There is certainly no shortage of hotels to stay in Paso Robles Wine Country, with a wide range of establishments encompassing everything from major brand name hotels to family-run places. No matter the type of accommodation you’re looking for, the area will almost certainly have a hotel to suit your taste. The Best Western group is well-represented in the area with the Best Western San Marcos Inn located in Morro Bay, and also the Fireside Inn in nearby Cambria. Also located in Cambria is the Sea Otter Inn. while in Paso Robles itself is the La Bellasera Hotel and Suites at 206 Alexa Court, a beautifully-designed hotel in central coast wine country with Mediterranean-style architecture.
Paso Robles Wines in Demand
A surprising fact is how quickly Paso Robles Wine Country has not only become known for producing wine, but has become famous for producing wine of such very high quality, with many of the labels from this region being regarded as some of the best wines produced in the United States. Wine lovers who want to try some of these exquisite wines, should definitely look at taking a trip into this area which has come to such prominence in a matter of just a couple of decades.Paso Robles Wine Country Comes of Age