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4 Wines from Thacher Winery of Paso Robles, including the 2008 Thacher Zinfandel

The Paso Robles AVA is both the largest undivided official viticultural area in California (meaning that it has no smaller AVAs within it) and the fastest growing. Just ten years ago, there were only 35 wineries in the 609,673 acre region. The region was expanded slightly in February 2009, tacking on another 2,635 acres. But, more significantly, the number of bonded wineries has grown to nearly 200.

Consequently, getting to all of the wineries down there is quite a task. Thacher Winery is one that I frequently drove by, but never had time to visit. I was always on the way somewhere else without time to stop. But, on a recent trip to Paso Robles my tasting and routing were so efficient that I was finally able to make a quick detour and belly up to their tasting bar. I came away impressed.

I tried six wines on my visit. In general, their wines are bold, fleshy and packed with ripe fruit. I’m recommending four of them here. I found these to be the most balanced and compelling. They are all yummy if you like the style, but the highlight for me was the 2008 Zinfandel.

The 2008 Thacher Zinfandel is a delicious, hedonistic Zinfandel. It offers beautiful aromas of blackberry jam and spice. The palate is full-bodied for Zinfandel with rich, ripe, sweet fruit and happy alcohol all framed by lovely powdery tannins. The mouth-filling flavors of cocoa, blackberry and oak are long-lasting. Serve a glass with grilled wild boar sausage. Highly Recommended.

Other Thacher wines I enjoyed:
2009 Thacher Viognier: Honeysuckle, pear and under-ripe peach. Generous body and length. Unoaked. Recommended. [14.4% alcohol, $25]

2007 Thacher Syrah Paso Robles: Jammy plum, spice, cherry and oak. An easy drinker, but warming. Recommended. [14.8% alcohol, $25]

2008 Thacher Controlled Chaos: Mourvedre, Zinfandel and Grenache combine for a nose of garrigue, purple fruit and earth but chocolate-covered berry flavors. Chalky tannins and a peppery finish. Highly Recommended. [15.7% alcohol, $35]

Thacher Winery is located at 8355 Vineyard Drive. That’s on the West Side, about midway between Adelaida Rd. and Peachy Canyon Rd. Their dedicated tasting building is just the right size and offers t-shirts and other items in addition to wine without seeming overly commercial. The room is staffed by friendly people and relaxed winery dogs. It is open Thursday - Monday, 11am to 5pm and by appointment.

thacherThe tasting room at Thacher Winery in Paso Robles. (photo: Fred Swan)

2008-Thacher-Zin-tasting-room2008 Thacher Zinfandel
Rating: Highly Recommended

Drink: Now through 2014
Bottling Date: August 2010
Closure: Cork
Production: 190 cases
Retail Price: $29.00

Winemaker: Sherman Thacher
Blend: 100% Zinfandel
Origin: 100% Westside Paso Robles: Bailey Ranch Vineyard, Will’s Hills Vineyard and Je Taime Vineyard
Aging: 23 months in American oak barrels, 25% new

Alcohol: 16.2%

The wine above was tasted at the winery.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. Photos by Fred Swan. All rights reserved.