Paso is the wild west. But this wild west has excellent olive oil, lots of old vine zinfandel.... (tree-like old zin vines in the Dusi vineyeard).... and as I heard over and over again, limestone and calcareous soil. And as far as wine? Many are OK. I know, that's high praise from me. True, while there are the overoaked and the cloying over ripe. But that isn't the whole wine story.
Terry Coulton's Adelaida wines are highly commendable and approaching the natural......which is natural as he worked up with Josh Jensen at Calera. Look for his pinot.
There are two wineries I came upon unlike any other I've seen in the States. One is Pipestone. Jeff Pipes and his wife work and live on their winery and vineyard, sharing the space with homing pigeons, doves, chickens, dogs and groundhogs. He's an organic guy and his only regret is that he can't poison the unwanted critters in his vineyard. He once tried to bomb the groundhogs, to a disastrous end (included many firefighters). On the other hand, he hasn't sulphured his vineyard for three years. His wife has him organizing everything in the winery and the vineyard according to Feng Shui. Look out for his zinfandel and Rhone-style.
The other vigneron is Lisa Pretty of Pretty-Smith. On a too hot May day, Lisa hopped off her tractor to greet me. She, a young refugee from the financial world. is a one-woman show......she does everything from battle the nematodes (she inherited bad soil, chemicalized to death, and is nursing it back to health), prune, run the tasting room and, of course, make the wine. She might be the only one in the states who's new red releases are six-years old. Also worth giving compliments to were Austin Hope's syrah and Mark Goldberg’s Windward---delicate pinot.
The most fascinating visit was HR. Let's just leave it at these initials for now. I just can’t bring myself to out the winery because the winemaker was so kind. The poor guy didn't know that I was in pain while tasting barrel samples.
End Part Two