“Some wineries are too big to have a story…or too old to have a story,” was a comment Joy made one night in the wine store. It struck me as odd to think that a winery could be too old to have a story. If anything I would think the older wineries would have more stories or at least more interesting stories. But I suppose she meant that some wineries have been around so long that everyone already knows their stories.
It had been a slow night in the wine store when James, a young man of 20 something came up to me and said, ‘I’ve done all my closing duties and we’ve still got an hour and a half to go. It’s nights like this I wonder what am I even doing here? I mean, what am I doing with my life?’
His musing had taken a sharp turn south that I did not see coming. It is a sentiment I see only distantly in the rear view mirror. There’s an urge in youth to make every moment meaningful. I’m not sure if the urge diminishes with age or if the meaning of ‘meaningful’ changes as we mature.
Robert Hall winery is neither too old nor too big. His story, like others, is that Robert Hall, the man came to wine about 20 years ago after finding success in other careers. The winery is located in Paso Robles, an AVA in California’s central coast in San Luis Obispo County. In 2014 Paso Robles went from being 1 AVA to 11 AVA’s due to the great diversity in the area’s soil, topography and climate. But to gain approval as a separate AVA, each region must make its argument to the TTB ( Alcohol and Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau) as to what sets the area apart, what about the region will affect a different wine. Without delineating the differences, the designated AVA’s would have no purpose. The distinction would be meaningless.
The 2014 Syrah from Robert Hall is complex with aromas of smoked meat, rich earth, and dark fruits, Bing cherries and black plums. Well balanced and structured, it is the rich dark fruit of the wine that gives away the wine’s identity as a product of Paso Robles. Neither young nor mature, this wine is exactly where it should be.