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Wine Review: Location doesn’t necessitate high prices

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It is a known fact that the location of a vineyard often determines the final price of its wines. 

In California, wines from Napa Valley vineyards most often command the highest prices, with Sonoma wines close behind. Many vineyards and wineries located in the anointed top counties are producing superb wines that sell for considerably less than those of the more famous counties.

The wines of the Paso Robles growing district are gleaning accolades from experts and ordinary consumers alike. The vineyards of Paso Robles take advantage of the breezes that blow in from the Pacific Ocean to endow them with a more even growing season with less of the climate fluctuations common to the prime regions.

Among the producers in the Paso Robles district is the Robert Hall Winery, a brand that is gaining much interest in the marketplace by producing solid wines with an affordable price tag.

Robert Hall 2015 Paso Robles Merlot ($15)
The Robert Hall 2015 Paso Robles Merlot cuts new trails of flavor and enjoyment. This is a dark-colored, complex wine that boldly and unquestionably displays its attributes. Black cherries, truffles and soft spices are clearly the most obvious aromas, along with red berries and a suggestion of cedar in the background. The flavor, too, features black cherry with hints of blackberries that carry on to the finish.

Robert Hall 2016 Paso Robles Chardonnay ($16)
There is nothing deep and philosophical about this wine, just enjoyment. The aromas are big and wide open and display the right amounts of peach and lime with hints of honeysuckle. The flavor mirrors the aroma with the addition of soft oak. This wine also possesses the creamy mouth feel that is the hallmark of a really good chardonnay. With all of the mediocre chardonnay on the market, it is refreshing to find one with no pomp or pretense that tastes great.

Robert Hall 2015 Paso Robles Zinfandel ($15)
This zinfandel is exactly what one would expect: dark in color and rich in flavor. The aroma is dominated by almost overwhelming amounts of raspberry and blackberry, which are balanced on a sturdy background of oak, pepper and mint. The flavor reprises the raspberry with a suggestion of cranberries and then carries them on to a long and luscious finish.

Robert Hall 2015 Paso Robles Rose ($14)
The Robert Hall 2015 Paso Robles Rose is an attempt to restore rose wines to their former position as a spring and summer favorite. This wine is a blending of five popular red varieties where the grape skins, which are the source of a wine’s color, were quickly removed after crushing. What resulted is a pink wine that has a bouquet with a host of flower aromas and a fruit basket of flavors. The wine opens with the aromas of raspberries, strawberries, orange peel and rose petals. These aromas invite the first sip, which is bright with the flavors of cherry, apple and summer berries that ends in a fruit-filled finish.

Robert Hall 2016 Paso Robles Sauvignon Blanc ($13)
Sauvignon blanc grapes can produce wines in the California style, stressing melon and citrus flavors, as well as wines in the classical European style, with a herbaceous flavor. This wine lives in both worlds. It has the classical grassy component, which is held in check so the California full fruit style becomes prominent. This effect allows the Robert Hall 2016 Paso Robles Sauvignon Blanc to be served with a wide spectrum of foods — but it’s a standout with shellfish. The wine also can accompany poultry and lighter meats, as well as any form of seafood.

Wine columnist Bennet Bodenstein can be reached at frojhe1@att.net.

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