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French Invasion

July 12, 2017

In honor of Bastille Day (July 14), we recognize our French-born winemakers and growers who came across the sea and settled in Paso Robles Wine Country.

Stephan Asseo, L’Aventure Winery, Bastien Leduc, Seven Oxen Estate Wines, Roger Nicolas, RN Estate Vineyard & Winery, and Guillaume Fabre, Clos Solène open up about the benefits of making wine in Paso and share their personal Bastille Day celebration stories.

 

 

Stephan Asseo, L'Aventure Winery

Vintner and Owner

Where are your from in France? Bordeaux

When did you move to Paso? July 1998

Why Paso? Because after visiting Napa, I didn’t know I was so poor 😊 When I discovered Paso Robles, I definitely fell in love with the type of soil and terroir.

How do you celebrate Bastille Day? With having a good dinner, good wine, good friends and of course fireworks!!

On 4th of July, Americans celebrate with hotdogs, hamburgers, and fireworks? How does Bastille Day differ? It’s very similar. Instead of hot dogs and hamburgers, we might just do meat on the barbecue with some salads but the idea is the same.

What wine will you be drinking to celebrate? With this weather, I will stick to Rose and Champagne.

What do you love about making wine in Paso Robles vs. France? The freedom. I can make wine from my estate with my inspirations and not have to make a wine from a big AVA where I have to respect all the rules. Also the climate!!

What is your biggest challenge in living/working in Paso Robles? No challenge, I love it.

Quick fire questions:

  1. French toast or American Toast? American toast
  2. French Fries or Freedom Fries? French fries
  3. French bulldogs or American bulldogs? French bulldog
  4. French kiss or American kiss? French kiss with an American Hug
  5. Beret, baseball cap or cowboy hat? No hat, I have thick hair 😊

Bastien Leduc, Seven Oxen Estate Wines

VINEYARD MANAGER AND WINEMAKER

Where are your from in France? Castelnau de Montmiral in the wine growing region of Gaillac (southwest France)

When did you move to Paso? May 2012

Why Paso? One of the rare places in the US to have a great climate for Rhône varietals and limestone soil, which gives great typicality in wines

How do you celebrate Bastille Day? I didn’t used to in France. While this might seem strange, it’s a cultural thing. But now that I live here, in Paso, it means a little bit more to me and it reminds me of where I’m from and to be proud of that.

What wine will you be drinking to celebrate? Probably my latest release, which is a Grenache rosé.

What do you love about making wine in Paso Robles vs. France? The freedom to work differently, I like to set and follow my own standards.

What are the main differences between your (Mourvedre) from Paso Robles vs. France? Mourvèdre is one of the latest ripening varietal of all grapes. One of the great specs of Paso is having this long summer with potentially no rain until November sometimes. That gives the freedom to ripen Mourvèdre to its full maturity and get the best out of it.

France is of course known for fabulous bread, pastries, chocolate, cheese and more. Name some places in SLO County where you can get a taste of home? Sourdough bread from Hush Harbor (Atascadero), cheese from Fromagerie Sophie (in SLO) or directly from Stepladder Ranch (Cambria) or Alcea Rosea Farm (Templeton), chocolate croissants from Kitchenette (Templeton), salami from Alle-pia (Atascadero)

Quick fire questions:

  1. French toast or American Toast? What’s American toast?
  2. French Fries or Freedom Fries? French fries (homemade with fresh potatoes please)
  3. French bulldogs or American bulldogs? I’m partial to the Australian Shepherd
  4. French kiss or American kiss? French kiss
  5. Beret, baseball cap or cowboy hat? Baseball cap

Roger Nicolas, RN Estate Vineyard & Winery

Grower and Winemaker

Where are your from in France? South coast of Brittany

When did you move to Paso? 2000

Why Paso? Because Paso reminded me of how the town of Sonoma used to be and I wanted to live here and grow grapes.

How do you celebrate Bastille Day? By drinking French style wines produced in Paso Robles.

On 4th of July, Americans celebrate with hotdogs, hamburgers, and fireworks? How does Bastille Day differ? In France: Charcuterie, Foie Gras, Steak Frites and Champagne.

What do you love about making wine in Paso Robles vs. France? Fewer regulations allow us to express more artistry and creativity.

What is your biggest challenge in living/working in Paso Robles? Working in the vineyard at 110 degree days and hand harvesting at night.

What are the main differences between wine from Paso Robles vs. France? Paso Robles wines are readier to drink at a younger age than French wines, however, they will not age as long.

Quick fire questions:

  1. French toast or American Toast? French toast
  2. French Fries or Freedom Fries? French fries
  3. French bulldogs or American bulldogs? Both
  4. French kiss or American kiss? Definitely French kiss!
  5. Beret, baseball cap or cowboy hat? Beret

Guillaume Fabre, Clos Solène

GROWER AND WINEMAKER

Where are your from in France? Southeast. Languedoc-Roussillon: Corbières

When did you move to Paso? 2004

Why Paso? Luck and craziness! Stephan at L’Aventure Winery took me as an intern on his undeveloped project, and from there I was able to learn about Paso!

How do you celebrate Bastille Day? Spending special time with family.

On 4th of July, Americans celebrate with hotdogs, hamburgers, and fireworks? How does Bastille Day differ? It’s more like a full seated meal with friends and family with usually fireworks and dancing time after.

What wine will you be drinking to celebrate? I’m sure some Rosé!

What do you love about making wine in Paso Robles vs. France? Freedom and the complexity of our terroir and climate to do awesome Rhônes, Cabernets and many others.

What are the main differences between wine from Paso Robles vs. France? With most varietals here, they will be more complex with a lot of layers. The same varietals in France are much more earthy and very close to the varietal typicity.

Quick fire questions:

  1. French toast or American Toast? French Toast
  2. French Fries or Freedom Fries? French fries
  3. French bulldogs or American bulldogs? French bulldogs
  4. French kiss or American kiss? French kiss
  5. Beret, baseball cap or cowboy hat? Beret