Five Paso Robles Producers Bringing Out the Best in White Blends

Rh么ne-style from Paso Robles
From L to R: Halter Ranch 2017 Grenache Blanc; Alta Colina 2017 Claudia Cuv茅e; and Barton 2017 Tiny Dancer Glenrose Vineyard Picpoul / Photo courtesy of Rock Creative

Paso Robles has made quite a name for itself with red Rh么ne-style blends, but they鈥檙e not the only game in town. From the friendly face of Viognier down to attractive strangers like Clairette Blanche, white Rh么ne varieties are increasingly quenching this region鈥檚 warm-weather thirst. Here are five producers to watch.

Tablas Creek Vineyard

Winemaker Jason Haas鈥檚 family not only has a partnership with famous Rh么ne winemakers the Perrin family, but plantings in the Haas nursery also included some of the first in California from the French region. Today, he鈥檚 got some tricks up his sleeve: 鈥淚鈥檓 excited for Bourboulenc, which we hope to harvest for the first time this year.鈥

脡cluse Wines

Owners Steve and Pam Lock add citrusy Grenache Blanc to floral, stone-fruity Viognier in their Prelude bottling. 鈥淭hese white Rh么ne blends tend to be more full bodied, complex and more interesting on the palate than other whites,鈥 says Lock. 鈥淲e have a lot of visitors who come in stating that they aren鈥檛 interested in white wines then end up being very pleasantly surprised to find Prelude to their liking.鈥

A Quick Guide to Field Blends

Halter Ranch

Winemaker Kevin Sass offsets his zesty Grenache Blanc with a splash of Viognier, but the grape he鈥檚 most excited about is Picpoul Blanc, which makes a stunning sparkler. 鈥淚t maintains its acidity in our warm Paso climate while, but it also has great mouthfeel and weight,鈥 says Sass. 鈥淧icpoul Blanc is a colloquial term that loosely translates to 鈥楲ip Stinger鈥 in French, an homage to its great acidity!鈥

Alta Colina

Owner/Director of Winemaking Bob Tillman has been growing Marsanne and Roussanne for 14 years. He emphasizes their richness with barrel fermenting and lees stirring. 鈥淢arsanne offers delicate, appley notes with a rich, viscous palate and acid backbone that goes great with winter fare like creamy soups or roasted vegetables,鈥 says Tillman, who pitches the variety as a Chardonnay alternative. Roussanne, he says, is much richer with 鈥渁 hint of honey after a year or so. We position it as a white wine for red wine lovers.鈥

Barton Family Wines

Joe Barton, owner and director of winemaking at Grey Wolf Cellars and Barton Family Wines, makes two Viogniers from cooler locations in the Templeton Gap, but he鈥檚 also exploring the fringes with Picpoul Blanc and Clairette Blanche. 鈥淭hrough my travels in Ch芒teauneuf, I had many opportunities to try Clairette, and my hope was that we could achieve that same texture in Paso,鈥 he says of the grape, which combines acid with an oily texture. 鈥淚 feel like there is a similar vein coming through, but only vine age will give the full story.鈥

Published on September 9, 2019
Topics: Wine and Ratings