WE, Paso Robles, and Damning with Faint Praise

Last month, Wine Enthusiast awarded Paso Robles the Wine Region of the Year for its Wine Star awards.

Everybody was ecstatic – a hard-working area had finally been recognized by what can arguably be called the second most respected wine magazine after Wine Spectator. Although I’m sure that there are those who would argue which is “first.”

If you’ve read even half a paragraph of this blog, you will notice several things immediately:

  • I hate White Zinfandel
  • Wine is Food to me
  • I love the Central Coast – Paso Robles in particular

So like a mother hen protecting her chick, I didn’t jump on the “Oh Yay!” bandwagon.  It was uncharacteristically quiet over here at Vegas Wineaux about the award.  Why? Because I will admit to being the conspiracy theorist’s conspiracy theorist.  In other words, I was suspicious.  Suspicious enough to see if their declarations of the “innovation and excitement” and “infusion of youthful passion” would hold any water when it came to actually assessing the wines.

Was it genuine respect, damning with faint praise, or was I being overly skeptical of the tone of Wine Enthusiast’s gushing press release?

You tell me.

I decided to wait until the Top 100 from Wine Enthusiast was released.  This came a few weeks after Wine Spectator’s, which, as usual, awarded a couple of Paso wines a place in its coveted list. No problem there.

Wine Enthusiast? Not so much.

I went through all three of Wine Enthusiast’s lists – Top 100, Top 100 Cellar Selections, and Top 100 Best Buys.  What a surprise. Not a single Paso Robles wine in the bunch of 300. NOT ONE.

Really?!?

There were several Central Coast wines, to be sure, including the 97 point rated 2009 Sanguis White Horses Syrah with grapes sourced from Watch Hill Vineyard in Los Alamos and Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley. Testarossa and Zaca Mesa were also mentioned, but none was placed higher than 47. They also awarded placements to a winery in San Antonio (as in Texas – okay, maybe Monterey), and Niagara.  Okay, Niagara is an old wine region, but I can be petty when I’m ranting.

Paso Robles? The lauded “Wine Region of the Year”? Crickets.  And this was the case in all of its “Top” wine lists.

Not feeling the love from Wine Enthusiast, to say the least.

So  yes, thanks for the nod for the wine region. Great that it happened before kicking Paso Robles in the rear end.

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Hi! I'm the Vegas Wineaux and love to write about my experiences with wine, food, Wine Country, and Las Vegas! Click on one of the buttons under the Subscription form to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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