Driving down Highway 46 West outside of Paso Robles, it’s hard to miss the heart-shaped tree grove in the middle of the vineyard at Niner WIne Estates. The Tuscan-styled stone building seems a little out of character for the sleepy Paso Robles AVA, but is worthy of a visit.
Niner Wine Estates is the family-owned “dream child” of founder Richard Niner, a farmer from West Virginia. Niner ventured west in the mid 1990s and followed his passion for wine, acquiring three separate vineyards ~ Bootjack Ranch, east of Paso Robles; Heart Hill Vineyard on the west side of Paso Robles and Jespersen Ranch in nearby Edna Valley.
All Niner Estate Wines are crafted from estate grapes from the three vineyards ~ Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Malbec, Petite Sirah, Barbara, Carmenere, Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Franc and smaller blocks of Petite Verdot, Merlot, Mourvedre, Semillion, Roussanne, and Grenache Blanc.
Memorable wines to try are the 2013 Jespersen Ranch Sauvignon Blanc, strong herbal notes of fresh-cut grass, papaya, guava with good acidity; the 2011 Bootjack Ranch Estate Sangiovese, lightly aged in new French and Hungarian Oak, delightfully acidic with sour cherry and cranberry meeting the nose; and the 2012 Jespersen Ranch Reserve Grenache, made old-world style was bursting with ripe red and black fruit, nutmeg and vanilla.
Niner WIne Estates recently opened a restaurant on-site that artfully pairs small bites with the estate wines. Watch for Niner WIner Estates to rise to the top in Paso Robles over the next a few years ~ there’s a lot of “heart” to their wines! www.ninerwine.com