The Paicines American Viticultural Area (AVA), the 9th oldest AVA in California, is located in San Benito County. Encompassed by the larger California San Benito AVA, it has a climate that is warmer than that of the Cienega, Lime Kiln and San Benito AVAs but cooler than the climate of the Central Valley AVA. Established in 1982, this California AVA consists of over 40,000 acres, and grapes including Chardonnay, Malbec, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon are grown here. Many California wineries purchase their grapes from Paicines vineyards, and the Vista Verde Vineyard, a 500 acre vineyard once owned by Almaden, makes its home here. For more information on the vineyards and wines of the Paicines AVA in California, see below.
Donati Family Vineyard. Established in 1998 in the Paicines AVA, with its first wines produced in 2003, this California winery is committed to growing high quality grapes that can be used to create superb wines. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Meritage and Chardonnay are just a few of the wines created here.
The Vineyard. The California soils at this Paicines AVA vineyard range from limestone to clay loam to decomposed granite. This combination of soils, along with the warm days and cool nights, contribute to the quality and variation of grapes that can be grown there. This Paicines AVA vineyard also practices sustainable farming, including the reduced use of pesticides and the allowance of natural predators. This not only affects the California environment in a positive manner, but contributes to the quality of the grapes and thus the wines.
The Tasting Room and Wines. The Donati Family Vineyard has a tasting room for its wines in Templeton, California, outside of Paso Robles, that was built to resemble a European Chateau. You can tour the property, look at the barrel room, taste the wines, and even watch the grapes being processed. The tasting room opens at ten and closes at five, seven days a week, so be sure to stop by if you are in the area to sample the best of their Paicines wines. Try their Pinot Grigio Paicines 2006, a fruity, nutty California white wine with aromas of lemon and pear, followed by flavors of hazelnuts and vanilla. Also try their 2009 Pinot Blanc, blended with Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio, which has aromas of stone fruits and apples, and flavors that include tropical fruits and almonds.
A Word About Cabernet Sauvignon. The Donati Family Vineyard has four separate blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon planted, each with varying sun exposures at different elevations. The red wines are aged in both French and American oak, which helps to produce the lush tannins that this estate’s Cabernet Sauvignon wines are known for. Be sure to try their Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, a lovely red wine with aromas of blackberry and herbs, followed by flavors of black cherries and ginger.
For more information on the Donati Family Vineyard and their Paicines wines, click here.