Deep Roots In Paso:
Growing the Future at Halter Ranch
March 10, 2009
Halter Ranch might be considered, based on its location alone as Ground Zero for Westside Paso Robles, one of the largest AVAs in California. Everything on this side of Paso seems somehow connected to Halter Ranch: it is like a spider web of interconnections. It’s a hub of its own, without screaming to be the center of attention. it’s about delivering the high quality of fruit that makes other Paso wineries pleased enough to keep coming back, year after year.
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Gaining worldwide attention for its distinctive wines, Paso Robles is emerging as a leader in Californian viticulture. The largest AVA in San Luis Obispo County, Paso Robles has 18,500 acres under vine. Aside from a small gap near the town of Templeton, the Santa Lucia range shelters the region from the fog that cools the southern San Luis Obispo AVAs. Paso Robles is famous for its structured Cabernet Sauvignon and much of its acreage is planted with this grape. However, a group of young dynamic winemakers, part of the group known as the Rhone Rangers, is gaining attention with Syrah. Wines from the westernmost section in the foothills have the highest profile, yet it is the more fertile eastern half of the AVA that is responsible for the bulk of production. Vineyards in the western section feature a mixture of both calcerous and siliceous rocky soils and daytime summer temperatures often top 90°F. In the evening, vines are cooled by ocean breezes cascading down the eastern mountain slopes, which maintain the grapes' acidity. The eastern half of the AVA tends to be warmer and drier. Wineries in this section of the AVA typically produce full bodied wines with rich fruit character. These wines often have softer tannins and lower acidity compared to the west, making them more approachable in their youth.
In the southern Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Georgia vineyards are small and few, yet the establishment of the Upper Hiwassee Highlands could bring much more.
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