This was an event co-hosted by Alta Colina Vineyard and Solterra Strategy in which ten local wineries poured wines that were made by grapes from the Alta Colina Vineyard. It was put on for some visiting wine writers (as in real, legit wine writers, not like me) and some local folks in the wine industry. For example, I saw the crew from 15C Wine Shop in Templeton, Carole MacDonal from Il Cortile Ristorante and La Cosecha, Lisa Pretty (winemaker and marketer), Adam Monteil (infamous local radio guy and Cork Dork), and so on.
The out-of-area wine industry people that were brought in for this were: Julie Case, Fred Swan, Margaret Shakespeare, Dennise Schaefer, and Jodi Lee Dyer. I think it’s great that Paso Robles and local marketing companies bring in folks like this because it gives Paso more exposure in the market place. Some worry that it will just bring more people to Paso (which I don’t think is a bad thing) but at the end of the day it familiarizes people with the Paso brand which makes it more likely for them to buy when they see it in stores and restaurants.
Okay…now on to the real business. Below is a list of the wineries that poured and the wines they poured. A side note, some of the wineries brought “other wines” that are not on this list because they were not made from Alta Colina grapes.
Here we go:
Alta Colina (Bob Tillman – owner/ winemaker): 12 O’Clock High Viognier, 2011 GSM, 2011 Toasted Slope Syrah
Caliza Winery (Carl Bowker – owner/ winemaker): 2013 Kissin’ Cousins Grenache Blanc
Chronic Cellars (Josh Beckett – winemaker): 2013 Ricardo Grande GSM, 2014 Syrah
Dilecta (Orion Stang – owner/ winemaker): 2011 Unorthodox Syrah
Jeff Cohn Cellars (Jeff Cohn – owner/ winemaker): 2012 First Date Roussanne/ Marsanne, 2012 Twist of Fate Mourvedre, 2012 GSM
Kinero (Anthony Yount – owner/ winemaker): 2014 Alice Grenache Blanc
McPrice Myers (Edgar Torres – associate winemaker): 2013 Beautiful Earth GSM
Paix Sur Terre (Ryan Pease – owner winemaker): 2011 Comes A Time Mourvedre, 2013 Comes A Time Mourvedre, 2014 Comes A Time Mourvedre
Sans Liege (James Murphy – associate winemaker): 2013 Call To Arms Grenache Blanc/ Roussanne, 2012 Pickpocket Grenache
Summerwood (Shayne Kilne – general manager): 2013 Marsanne, 2014 Vioginer, 2014 Syrah
The name in parenthesis is the person that was there to pour the wines for that brand. Some of the wines mentioned were barrel samples and again, there were a handful of other wines but they were not made from Alta Colina grapes therefore not mentioned on the list.
This really was an incredible group of wines. I’m quite familiar with the wines from Alta Colina and Caliza, neither of which disappointed in this tasting. I’m also relatively familiar with Chronic Cellars, Summerwood, and McPrice Myers but not their newer vintages. It was cool to taste some of their newer stuff.
Aside from the above mentioned; Kinero, Paix Sur Terre, and Sans Liege really stood out to me. Unfortunately I did not get to Dilecta (which I’ve heard amazing things about) and Jeff Cohn Cellars (which I actually don’t know much about but heard good things in the room). I will need to remedy this sometime quite soon.
It was probably one of the most unique wine tasting I had taken part in due to how small it was. A limited amount of tasters and an extremely high quality group of wines. Bob Tillman (owner of Alta Colina) said to the group of us that he was quite happy to have all of these examples of Alta Colina fruit in one room. Each winemaker created their own unique art (wine) from similar or identical grapes as the others in the room.
This is when you can see the impact that winemaking has on terroir, vines, and grapes. All these aspects of the process coming together to create a unique life in a bottle. I’ve always been impressed with the wines Alta Colina has made and in this tasting it was pretty cool to see what others had done with these same grapes. Cheers and well done to all the winery participants. You are doing Paso Robles proud.
A big thank you to Solterra Strategies for inviting me and to Alta Colina for hosting the event.