Wine is grown, not made. Our site informs everything about our wines and, as we’ve gotten to know our property over the years, we’ve focused on a handful of wines that best represent what our amazing site can do–our core wines.
The core Alta Colina white wines include Grenache Blanc, 12 O’Clock High Viognier, Model Citizen Roussanne, and the Claudia Cuvee Marsanne. These four white wines stand alongside our core reds–GSM, Sun Worshipper (Mourvèdre blend), Toasted Slope Syrah, Old 900 Syrah, and Ann’s Block Petite Sirah. We also bottle one or two additional small lot wines each vintage that reflect a variety, block, or blend we think deserves the focus of a stand-alone bottling.
As a small, estate producer we are at the mercy of the season every vintage. In just a few words, here’s an overview of our winemaking history:
Every vintage, we produce our core wines from the estate, plus a few small lots that show off different sides of the Vineyard.
Paso Robles is a warm region. That’s why we farm Rhônes here! Our local climate also means we want something bright, crisp, and perky to enjoy during the summer months. With perfect balance and solid acidity, the Estate Bottled Grenache Blanc from Alta Colina Estate Vineyard is a perfect accompaniment to any warm evening.
We were late to the party on this wine! We planted Roussanne with the intention of blending it. When you look at library vintages of many of our white wines, Roussanne is a component of those blends. Despite fantastic results in barrel every year, it wasn’t until 2017 that we adjusted our thinking and started bottling our Model Citizen Roussanne as a standalone. Not known as a straightforward grape to farm, our single block of Roussanne is remarkably balanced and well behaved. For that reason, it’s our “Model Citizen.”
Our Viognier is grown on a perfectly south-facing slope. To keep the vine rows in line with the natural terrain, the Viognier vines are oriented perfectly north-south on that hill. That angle means that, when the sun is highest in the sky (12 noon), both sides of the vines get the same amount of sun. Viognier can be unruly, and it all comes down to the grape growing. If not farmed impeccably to achieve perfect balance between fruit expression and acidity, Viognier can read cloying. Our focus on farming means we bottle an incredible Viognier every vintage.
It’s about time everyone got on board with rosé! This wine is incredibly versatile in terms of food pairing or a great option to enjoy by itself. The Alta Colina Rosé is always bone dry, light in color, and full of delicate fruit. Harvested early specifically for a dry pink, enjoy this wine poolside or on your fanciest brunch table.
Named for Bob’s mother, Claudia Cuvée was the first white wine we ever produced at Alta Colina. In its first vintage, Claudia Cuvée was a Marsanne-driven blend of all four white Rhône varieties that we grow. With each vintage since, this wine has evolved and now solely focuses on the Marsanne coming off our Estate in Paso’s Adelaida District. Claudia Cuvée always brings a richness to the palate, which makes it the perfect food white.
Pet Nat, short for Pétillant Naturel or ‘naturally bubbly,’ is among the most joyful bottles you can pop! Think of Pet Nat as a ready-to-drink sparkling. We approach ours with a specific style in mind: bone–dry, light on its feet, and instantly appealing both in color and aromatics. Pet Nat is summer in a bottle.
Before planting a single vine, Bob had a vision for our GSM blend. As an avid consumer of Rhône wines, Bob drew direct inspiration from both old-world GSM’s and some of the Central Coast producers he now considers new-world benchmarks. An outstanding GSM was part of the master plan! We create the blend with just two rules in place: it is a nod to traditional Grenache-forward CdP wines and Grenache drives the blend. With those guidelines in place, our team is free to incorporate the best from almost every red block on Alta Colina Vineyard.
Named after the B-29 aircraft that Bob’s father flew in WWII, our Old 900 Syrah holds a special place at Alta Colina. This wine is single block, single clone (Alban), and comes from the one north-facing slope on the Vineyard. Known for its boldness and balance, Old 900 is among our marquee offerings.
Bob planted Mourvèdre with blending in mind. However, we quickly discovered that Alta Colina Vineyard is a truly ideal location to farm Mourvèdre: lots of sun with consistent opportunities for a long growing season. While it is still an important component in our ‘GSM,’ we eventually recognized that we should show it off! Since 2015 we’ve bottle Sun Worshipper to showcase the incredible quality of this variety from our Estate property.
Bottling a premium Petite Sirah was not part of the original plan. Often used a powerful red blending grape, Petite Sirah reliably brings incredible fruit and color with little nuance. We originally planted a half-acre of head-trained Petite Sirah as the perfect ace-up-the-sleeve in terms of blending. However, upon tasting the original two barrels from our 2007 vintage it was clear that Ann’s Block Petite Sirah was its own wine. Every time we pop the cork we toast to Ann, Bob’s mother-in-law. Ann also planted the first vines on Alta Colina Vineyard, which happened to be Petite Sirah.
“Alta Colina” means “high hill” in Spanish and our Toasted Slope embodies an entire swatch of our property. Grown on the largest contiguous section of Alta Colina Vineyard, “Toasted Slope” is our nickname for the southwest-facing hillside where we grow this wine. Sun soaked and warm, this signature Syrah is a great example of the potential for blockbuster Syrahs from Paso Robles.
Like the rest of our lineup, our Downslope wines are a wonderful reflection of our mountainous site. We farm incredibly steep hillsides in Paso Robles. The vines at the lowest-altitude sections of those slopes, where the soil is deeper and more fertile, make a different style of wine than the vines grown everywhere else. Those fertile soils mean less stressed vines, which create approachable and ready-to-drink wines. Our Downslope White and Red are grown to enjoy now.
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