We have alluded to the…somewhat unusual…weather we’ve been experiencing here in Paso Robles over the past two years and it is time we elaborate.
Fundamental to Paso Robles’ success as a wine region are its unique climatic characteristics. Temperature swing here on the westside of Paso lingers right around 40 degrees from day to night. This is significant with regard to wine because the heat during the day ripens the grapes while steady, cool nights provide the acidic structure we wrote about on Monday. Prior to 2009/2010 temperatures in Paso Robles over the summer were consistently in the 90’s during the day and the high 40’s low 50’s (all Fahrenheit of course!) at night with fairly consistent spikes up to 105 or so. But last summer, and it appears this summer will be similar, we were more consistently in the mid 70’s to low 80’s during the day and in the 40’s at night. Prior to last summer ripeness was rarely, if every an issue for most grape varieties in this area, in fact a common complaint was that Paso wine tended to be overripe.
The temperatures these past two summers are having a major effect on the style of Paso wine. Not necessarily a negative effect, but a very interesting one. Like most forms of farming, weather is the determining factor with regard to the crop. Regardless of all the romanticism surrounding wine and winegrapes, we are equally subject to the dictates of Mother Nature, if not more so! It will be a wondrous adventure to see what She has in store for us this season!