Our Paso Robles Vineyard
Penman Springs Vineyard is characterized by abundant sunshine and air flow, with warm summer days. breezy afternoons, and cool nights. The soils are thin clay loam with decomposed red granite sub-soils and streaks of limestone. The trellis systems used are Geneva Double Curtain or GDC, Open Lyre, Smart-Dyson, and the ever popular Standard Vertical Trellis (SVT).
The unique combination of terroir and trellis systems that allow sunlight and air into the canopy results in deeply colored, full bodied wines with rich flavors.
The Cabernet Sauvignon grape is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world. This grape variety is grown in most of the world’s major wine regions such as France, Italy, America, Chile and Australia. These grapes have a particularly thick skin, which results in wines high in tannins, providing both structure and good aging. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown in warm climates like we have in Paso Robles tend to produce wines with flavors of black currant, cherries and ripe red fruits. Although Cabernet Sauvignon is a vigorous vine that grows quite easily in a variety of different soils, to ripen properly it does require well drained soils such as those found at Penman Springs Vineyard. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grow best when it has plenty of sunshine, and our location and planting have ensured this.
Merlot was virtually unknown in California 40 years ago, with a total of six acres of Merlot being planted in California in 1960. Merlot is now the second most popular red wine grape, after Cabernet Sauvignon. As of spring of 2003, there were 38,000 acres planted in California. Merlot is popular in large part because its soft, supple character which provides an accessible alternative to the more tannic Cabernet Sauvignon. The keys to growing Merlot in California are controlled, slow ripening, and picking the grape before acidity declines. It is an early ripening grape that is harvested well before winter sets in. In addition to its hardy nature, one of its great advantages is that it is very versatile. Not only do the grapes make excellent wines all by themselves but they are a popular blending grape, used to make softer varieties of red wine. Much of the Cabernet Sauvignon sold in the U.S. actually has small amounts of Merlot blended in to help tame the Cabernet’s mighty tannins.
Petite Sirah has small berries and a high skin-to-juice ratio. This allows Petite Sirah to produce wines with high tannin levels, surprisingly high acidity, and a wonderful ability to age. Characteristically, wines made from Petite Sirah grapes have dense blackberry fruit character mixed with black pepper notes. Petite Sirah thrives in warmer climates like those found at Penman Springs Vineyard.
The heat-loving Syrah grape variety has adapted well to the warm climate of California. Syrah wines have enjoyed a revival in the interest of robust and heavy red wines. Increasingly planted in many of North America’s more prolific viticultural areas, it has been enthusiastically produced and marketed by a specific group of winemakers. Nowhere is this more true than in the Paso Robles area. This ancient varietal is native to the northern Rhône, where it produces the very long-lived, tannic and spicy red wines. Syrah has a combination of rich character and approachability in youth that helps fuel its popularity in the marketplace.
Almost certainly the oldest known wine grape varietal, Muscat Blanc has a noble history. It is grown almost everywhere in Europe, including Russia, Hungary, the Crimean Peninsula, and Greece. Its berries, as the name suggests, are small and produce wines with elegantly floral aromatics. California does not have much planted, but it can be found in Paso Robles at Penman Springs Vineyard.