Eberle Mill Road Vineyard Viognier 2012
In 1973, Gary Eberle began his career in the wine industry by heading his family’s Estrella River Winery in Paso Robles. Eberle’s pioneering spirit didn’t stop there. In 1983, Gary co-founded the Paso Robles Appellation and also opened the doors to his own Eberle Winery with the premiere of Eberle’s 1979 Cabernet Sauvignon.
Today, Eberle handcrafts 28,000 cases of wine each year producing Viognier, Chardonnay, Rosé, Rhône-Style blends, Zinfandel, Syrah, Barbera and Sangiovese. This year Eberle will celebrate their 40th Anniversary and remains one of the highest award-winning wineries in the United States.
Paso Robles has made a name for itself as a source of supple, powerful, fruit-driven wines. But with eleven smaller sub-AVAs, there is actually quite a bit of diversity to be found in this inland portion of California’s Central Coast.
Just east over the Santa Lucia Mountains from the chilly Pacific Ocean, lie the coolest in the region: Adelaida, Templeton Gap and (Paso Robles) Willow Creek Districts, as well as York Mountain AVA and Santa Margarita Ranch. These all experience more ocean fog, wind and precipitation compared to the rest of the Paso sub-appellations. The San Miguel, (Paso Robles) Estrella, (Paso Robles) Geneso, (Paso Robles) Highlands, El Pomar and Creston Districts, along with San Juan Creek, are the hotter, more western appellations of the greater Paso Robles AVA.
This is mostly red wine country, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel standing out as the star performers. Other popular varieties include Merlot, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Grenache and Rhône blends, both red and white. There is a fairly uniform tendency here towards wines that are unapologetically bold and opulently fruit-driven, albeit with a surprising amount of acidity thanks to the region’s chilly nighttime temperatures.
Full-figured and charmingly floral, Viognier is one of the most important white grapes of the northern Rhône where it is used both to produce single varietal wines and as an important blending grape. Look for great New World examples from California, Oregon, Washington and cooler parts of Australia.