This hot day/cool night two-step means that Paso's grapes luxuriate on the vine for an exceptionally long time before picking. Grapes develop opulently distinctive flavors while maintaining plenty of crisp acidity.
Wines to watch
Jesse James reportedly hid out in Paso, relaxing his bones between robberies at the sulfur hot springs in town. Today, however, the good guys thrive: The Rhône Rangers.
These dynamic winemakers seized the area's potential for producing rich, satisfying wines from grapes traditionally grown in France's Rhône region -- notably, Syrah, Viognier and Roussanne. From 1994 to 2006, the number of acres planted leapt from 100 to 2,200 as wine lovers everywhere started to raise their glass and say, "fill 'er up, pardner!"
Rhône varietals, however, are not the only cards on the table. Aficionados have adored Paso's plush, satisfying Zinfandels for years. Cabernet Sauvignon claims top spot as the most widely planted in the region, helping to slake the world's thirst for this ever-popular style. Keep your eye out for Petite Sirah as well -- Paso winemakers pride themselves on their bright and lusciously fruity takes on this grape.
Exciting Bordeaux- and Rhône-style red wine blends also corral their share of praise. Yet true to the area's outlaw heritage, winemakers gladly push boundaries -- and make names for themselves -- by blending uncommon partners, such as Syrah and Zinfandel, into head-turning bottles too.
Best of all, while quality ranks consistently high, the area remains under the radar for many consumers. That means prices haven't jumped into the ultra-premium territory claimed by regions such as Napa and Bordeaux.
Go to pasowine.com and get the skinny on Paso Robles wines.