Wine shoppers are finding SLO County reds from the 2005 and 2006 vintages;whites are generally from 2006 and 2007. All three vintages produced generally high-quality wines,with good concentration.
As for quantity, the 2005 vintage was huge, but it was followed by two lighter-than-normal years, and some experts are starting to predict statewide shortages in some grape varieties, including chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel.
One side note about Paso Robles:The Paso Robles Wine County Alliance reported alcohol levels were down slightly in 2006.
Three to drink now: The 2007 tangent Riesling ($20) shows how good riesling from Edna Valley can be. Its fresh, racy and just off-dry,with flavors of lime, spiced apple and nectarine.
If youre looking for an easy-on-the-wallet pinot noir, the 2006 Edna Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir ($16) offers lively raspberry and cherry flavors and a slight minerality.
For something more robust, theres the 2006 Robert Hall Syrah ($21),which is smoky and slightly peppery,with blackberry and boysenberry fruit and fine tannins.
Three for the cellar: The most ageworthy local wines Ive tasted recently have been based on cabernet sauvignon from Paso Robles. The 2006 Sculpterra Cabernet Sauvignon ($32) offers ripe black cherry fruit, notes of mocha and spice and firm tannins that build toward the finish.
he 2005 Halter Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon ($28) displays ample black cherry flavors, accented by some savory notes of anise and black olive. The tannins are still fairly big, so the wine could definitely use a few more years in the bottle.
And the 2005 Justin Vineyards Isoceles ($62) mostly cabernet, with a little cabernet franc and merlot is dense, dark and ripe, with juicy black cherry, roasted coffee, spice and firm structure. It shows tremendous potential.
Laurie Daniel writes a weekly wine column and local wine picks for The Tribune. autumn