Before I even saw Paso Robles, I was looking for signs that confirmed a statement I had read about it. Was it true? Someone clearly displeased had called it a former cowboy town with lackluster hospitality. I wasn’t there long enough to see evidence of cowboys and didn’t experience less-than-average hospitality. However, Paso Robles has had such rapid growth that I did notice easy distraction among those who live there. With its growing reputation, this must not be an easy place to live or work. The problem I mentioned yesterday that Ruth and I dealt with while there was not enough time. Paso Robles simply cannot be seen in one day. One day is an unsatisfying sampler. I heard someone recommend a week here, and that seems a better option although 4 or 5 days might do it too. While there, Ruth & I looked to see if there was more to Paso Robles than just wine tasting, and we found some viable attractions that didn’t involve wine.
Only about 30 wineries have downtown facilities, so I asked Callie in the visitor center if there was some place in Paso Robles to see a selection of local wines and she said, “Albertsons.” John at Le Cuvier told me that Paso Robles, which still has lots of room for growth, already has 1,000 more cultivated acres than the Napa Valley. From Le Cuvier we went down the same road and stoped at Adelaida. Although it was only 4 pm, we were told that they were not serving new walk-ins and that they closed in one hour. We asked if we could sample some of their wines and they agreed to serve us, but this meant that we were in a region with 249 wineries and had only time to sample 2 of them. “We must come back,” we concluded, to see more of this complex town and learn about its reason for being.
Adelaida doesn’t buy grapes from other growers because, so far, it can produce enough of them on its own. Its 180 acres ranging from 1,600 to 2,320 feet makes it the highest winery in Paso Robles. Pinot Noir is the specialty, and we tried it. It was fine but we ended up buying a red blend from its Viking Vineyard to bring home and experience later. Paso Robles, we also learned at Adelaida, has 11 AVA regions. AVA stands for American Viticultural Area, and Paso Robles, home to many mountain vineyards and perfect soils for wine-making, is divided into 11 distinct districts that demonstrate its diversity.
After our early meeting at a warbirds’ museum the next morning, we stopped at a winery on the east side of town that specialized in sculptures. Sculpterra was a huge operation that produced some unusual varietals like Viognier and Mourvedre along with the usual cabs and pinots. It also had 30 acres of pistachio trees. These nuts, which Sculpterra claimed were the tastiest in California, are only available in its tasting room. Its large, impressive sculptures were mostly the work of John Jagger and Dale Evers. They were definitely worth seeing.