In Paso, where I am unprepared for the heat. I am on my unpredictable travel computer hence short entry.
Dinner last night with three sweetly misguided winemakers--two are highly regarded. All wines, from Mourvedre to Bordeaux-like blends, tasted the same.
The bio-chemist-turned-winemaker from Michigan told me that Paso wines LOVED highly toasted barrels. The caramel, he said, smooth out the Paso edges. So, even though everyone worships the areas limestone soils, they need to tame the terroir. I could argue, and did, if you need to tame the terroir what's the point of terroir?
So, because of all of the acidification, irrigation and that blasted toasty wood, I can't yet figure out what the Paso wine is all about until I taste more untampered stuff. But right now I do indeed see that many Paso winemakers LOVE wood, and the wine hates it.
Oh, anything out here I can drink yet? Yes. The wines from Adelaida were a pleasant surprise. The winemaker, Terry Culton, who previously had worked with Josh Jensen of Calera,and never studied formal winemaking, is doing good work. His wines (including pinots) by the way don't love toasty oak. What they love is neutral-ish barrels.
(Check back for reflections on how being here makes me feel like the cynical east-coaster in the shadows of the refreshingly open Paso winemakers. Also, stay-tuned for high points of the Hospice du Rhone. )
End Part One