California is home to numerous wine regions, and just a few hours outside of Los Angeles, Paso Robles has some real surprises. Wineries are taking more of an initiative to go green by increasing their sustainable practices and giving back to their community. Vintners and growers are conserving natural resources, protecting the environment, and continuing to make eco-friendly improvements.
JUSTIN is located in Paso Robles and their dedicated team – including their four-legged teammates – typically focus on Bordeaux blends, such as their JUSTIFICATION. However, they have other varietals in smaller quantities, such as their 2011 uncorked, fruit-forward Sauvignon Blanc and 2011 Chardonnay, a light, tropical white with subtle French oak highlights.
Their “JUST Go Green” initiatives include biodynamic farming, water reclamation ponds, composting, biodegradable packaging as well as recycling, including older barrels that are repurposed into grilling chips!
Another winery committed to sustainable agriculture is L’Aventure, a boutique winery tucked away in the Templeton Gap region of Paso Robles. Their green practices include waste water treatment, solar power, composting, biodynamic practices, as well as the implementation of vegetative habitual areas.
Known for their Rhône varietals, L’Aventure showcases a limited production of white blends each year such as their 2010 Roussanne Estate (87% Roussanne and 13% Grenache Blanc), capturing stone fruit flavors including caramel apple on the palate, their 2011 Estate Cuvée Blanc (51% Roussanne and 49% Grenache Blanc), a delicate yet complex wine with a big body and lingering finish, and their 2011 Rosé Estate, referred to as a “magic wine” by French winemaker Stephan Asseo (70% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre and 10% Grenache) with supple flavors of berries and bursting with taste.
On the opposite coast? No worries… head to the Finger Lakes in New York, the largest winemaking region on the East Coast. Riesling, which originated in the Rhine Valley in Germany and is often referred to as the “cool climate grape,” remains the signature wine of the area. And sustainability is a hot topic!
Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard combines old-world viticulture expertise from Bernkastel, Germany with sustainable modern techniques at their vineyard. Organic fertilizers, elimination of herbicides and planting cover crops are just a few of the initiatives currently in place.
Wiemer’s 2010 Dry Riesling Reserve is refreshing, with a subtle mix of citrus and a touch of berry on the palate and a nice lingering finish. For a dryer wine, their 2011 Dry Riesling embraces apricot and peach, carrying into a long finish.
Also located in the Finger Lakes region is Red Tail Ridge, whose modern state-of-the-art winery received the first LEED certification in New York, currently Gold LEED certification! The winery was constructed from recycled materials and also includes double-paned windows to utilize natural light, geothermal heating and cooling, and a water reclamation system.
For a wine with intense fruit aromas, try the 2010 Semi-Dry Riesling from Red Tail Ridge. It has sweet melon flavors, and a clean and crisp finish. Their 2010 Dry Riesling embodies complex aromas of dried fruit and toasted almonds, with lime and orange citrus notes on the palate and a snappy finish.
As wineries are working to reduce their carbon footprint, wine enthusiasts now have a reason to enjoy their wine just a little bit more!