Okay. This is a repeat – with an updated list of members – of the Cab Collective post I did in April of 2013. This is a refreshed table and map of the Collective, as well as some information you need to know if you are ready to take a look at the next serious contender against the iconic Cabernets of Napa.
As much as I love the Central Coast and, especially, Paso Robles, I have to confess that I haven’t been a fan of the Cabs that I’d tasted there. They tended to be either green and vegetal or Petit Sirah-alikes. For the longest time, there was no real Cab character. The exceptions were those wineries that had sourced their grapes from areas outside of Paso. I just settled with keeping my Cab sources from Napa, Sonoma, or Bordeaux. Cabernet Sauvignon is one of those wines that I don’t want to *think* about; I just want to enjoy it. Especially with a great meal. Braised lamb and Left Bank-Bordeaux style glass of wine. Yum.
When I first discovered the Cab Collective, I immediately realized that these guys aren’t playin’ around. While I’m not saying that they’re out gunning for Napa, they are certainly striving to make a name for themselves and to grab the attention of those who don’t think that great Cabs can be made in Paso Robles. I won’t name any names, but I recently spoke with a Master Sommelier whose lip actually curled (!!!) when talking about Paso Robles Cabs. Was that a sneer or what?!?
I have to point out that many big-box wineries (using the term figuratively, of course) will source their white grapes from many cool climates – Sonoma Coast, Sta Rita Hills, Monterey, Mendocino, etc. – but are increasingly sourcing their quality reds from Paso Robles. They wouldn’t do it if the quality weren’t there. Not *these* wineries, at least.
I visited the Cab Collective website and found that it was a lot different than it was last year. Now it’s all “grown up” and has a focus. Here’s what I think is one of the most significant statements made on the site:
The grass-roots non-profit organization was formed with the belief that the Bordeaux varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec grown in the Paso Robles appellation—and the subsequent quality of the wines produced—is under-represented in the marketplace and across the wine industry. The PRCC seeks to improve awareness regarding the distinctive attributes of Paso Robles Cabernet and red Bordeaux varietals through events, education and initiatives that confirm the appellation’s growing reputation for producing luscious, well-rounded Bordeaux wines that compete with like varietals on a global stage.
While I’m really hoping that I’ll be able to make it to this year’s Cabs of Distinction, April 22-26, reality says that it will have to wait until 2015 after I’ve earned all of my certifications and credentials. Wine credibility is the law of my land.
However, if you’re able to go, then don’t hesitate. When I was visiting Paso Robles last year, and in the time I’ve been shopping at the local Costco and wine shops, I’ve been able to find and taste some pretty damn good Paso Cabs. But are they worth the trip to Paso Robles to find out? Maybe you’ll be persuaded by Robert Parker.
While my original plans were to visit the Cab Collective’s second annual Cabs of Distinction event (CSW, CS, CWE, CWAS all stand in the way), I hope that you consider going.
Tell them I sent ya. And keep the lights on, ya hear?