For those in the trade who deny regarding wine with any whimsy, let it be said that you take your work too seriously. For it is in the reverence towards the grape that we all find our common thread, and sewn together, discover our passion.
Such is the caprice we found at Five Rivers Winery, located just north of Paso Robles in the warm back country off the 101 highway. While there is resolute in the winery’s endeavor to ensure the production of quality red wines, to optimize environmentally sound winemaking and winegrowing practices and to guarantee worker safety, well, the labels, they made us giggle.
This is a joyful giggle: not a laughing “at” or rolling our eyes up in our head guffaw. The labels for Five Rivers indulge our imagination in the inner workings of the very terroir of the Central Coast: that essential energy of earth, wind, sun and water that combines to identify a winegrowing region.
Rooted in myth and mystery, Five Rivers’s wine labels inspire rather than exploit our attraction to the anecdote. Targeted to the female wine drinker, the artist enlivens the label with grace, the writer entrances with a fable and the feminine side of anyone’s imagination clearly is impacted.
OK – now to the wines.
Five Rivers defines the Central Coast growing region, sourcing fruit from as far north as San Benito (northeast of Monterey) to as far south as Santa Ynez. The 600-acre property in Paso Robles is certified organic and each wine’s persona is well thought out, connecting the dots (and roots) with its best location.
Five Rivers Wines
From the velvety textured Cabernet Sauvignon to the crisply refreshing mineral-backed Chardonnay, we found a lovely approachability in each varietal, characterized by soft, circular weaving of fruit and subtle oak.
Our top pick is Zhone, a romantic tale of the attraction of Zinfandel and Syrah. The clever combination of the “Z” in Zinfandel and the reference to the Rhone – where Syrah is in the limelight – is equally matched in the fusion of the fruits and pepper for which each varietal lays its own claim. Lush and lusty, Zhone is itself an inky purple Goddess that we prize in the business and know her name as “Excellent Value.”
Winemaker’s Whimsy at the 19th Hole
Five Rivers Winemaker Steve Peck takes a break on a cold winter’s day. He focuses over a fountain in front of the winery, where the flag is flapping in the windy vineyard, urging him to swing and aim straight for the hole. But alas, Peck, as a winemaker should be, is “into the drink,” and the golf ball sinks in the water. Blame it on those Pacific breezes: the grapes surely do!