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Paso Fall Colors 1 - online

Behold, fall colors in California! Granted, yes, per our largely deserved reputation for oddity, these fall colors are in fact in a vineyard, not occurring in more traditional foliage. I took the photo in question last month at one of my favorite vineyards in Paso Robles, far out on the west side. Now, if I had actually remembered to pack my camera for our trip last weekend, I could show you entire fields of harvested grape vines with leaves gone crimson, russet and gold instead of this small beginning. But, still. Fall colors. California. See, we have seasons beyond fire, earthquake, and sunny and 75…though that last one is an awfully nice “season”.

Anyway, it was a lovely weekend in one of my favorite places, but we’re back in town and it’s back to the grind of work now. The wine has all been cataloged and put away and the sum total of the “collection” is, as usual, more than moderately ridiculous. Of course, just recently there was news of a for-sure/possible/maybe/imminent/several years down the line/oh no we’re all doomed!/oh yes, we got better, global wine shortage, so the next time the amount of wine in the house raises eyebrows I’ll just claim that we’re stockpiling in preparation. ;) 

Somehow, I only found out about the Oz and James Big Wine Adventure in California earlier this year. James May, one of my favorite witty, explainers of things, visiting my pet wine region (and the rest of California’s wine country)? How this escaped my attention, I have no idea. But the outcome is that on my last few visits to Paso Robles I’ve had the show fresh in my mind and it is a lot of fun to have the reminder of both how much and how little things have changed. I was also pleased to see that James and Oz visited a few of my favorite vineyards. Eberle is indeed phenomenal and the Anarchy James waxed poetic over at Four Vines (now renamed Cypher, but still run by the same delightfully quirky, incredibly talented guy seen on the show) is an absolutely luscious blend year in and year out – and that vineyard has two newer blends that I like even better! Many of the wineries that were small and inexpensive at the time James and Oz visited the region have grown large or gone boutique – not that that’s a bad thing – and newer wineries have cropped up to fill the small and inexpensive niche. But the overall feel of the region remains the same, quirky, creative and oh so friendly.

Once, trying to explain the difference between California’s more well-known Napa and Sonoma regions and Paso Robles, to a friend, I said that Napa/Sonoma is wine, cheese and trendy tunes, while Paso Robles is wine, street tacos (or something delicious off the winemaker’s grill!) and classic rock. Both are truly lovely, but I’m much more of a Paso girl…and, let me tell you, I would certainly prefer to be back there this week than back at my desk. Pour me another glass of red!

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