The newly emerging wine district of Paso Robles is garnering considerable interest among experts and amateurs alike.

The fine wine districts of Napa and Sonoma have delayed the development of the other areas because their wines were praised, celebrated and respected to such an extent that most of the other districts were forced to live in their shadow.

The recognition of Paso Robles wines began with some of the varieties that were not considered de rigor in regal wine districts such as Petite Sirah and Grenache. It didn't take long before the vintners were experimenting with the more popular varieties such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, chardonnay and riesling. Some of these wines can be enjoyed in the new Project Paso wines.

Project Paso 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ($14.99)
The proof is in the tasting, and the tasting will be a surprise.

This wine has the depth of a Napa cabernet with the finesse and softness of one from Sonoma. It's worth far more than its very affordable price.

The Project Paso 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-flavored, medium-bodied wine presenting everything one seeks in a fine cabernet, no matter where it comes from.

It displays a bright ruby color, with intense dark cherry, cedar, vanilla and cinnamon aromas. Plum, boysenberry, cranberry and cherry flavors blend with an earthy, mineral element. The wine ends in a velvety soft finish which is incredibly fruity, soft and of long duration.

We feel that his wine can stand head and shoulder with any of the better cabs, even those at twice the price.

Project Paso 2010 Red Blend ($14)
This delightful wine has been made from a laundry list of Paso Robles grape varieties: 22 percent grenache, 17 percent petite sirah, 16 percent syrah, 15 percent merlot, 9 percent zinfandel, 8 percent tempranillo, 7 percent malbec, 4 percent barbera and 2 percent touriga nacional. Whew.

This is not a random assembly of grapes, but rather it is a carefully planned and properly executed red wine.

What is interesting is that you can detect each of the varieties by their particular flavor and aroma. The grenache introduces a red cherry flavor, while the petite sirah, zinfandel and syrah share their signature wild raspberry and pomegranate. There are also hints of spices, coffee and white pepper. The finish is long and equally as fruity as the flavor.

We feel that this is a wine you should not miss.

Apothic White Blend ($14)
We were wrong, totally, irrevocably and without any doubt, wrong about this wine, which comes from Apothic.

When we took a first quick glance at a recently received bottle of wine, we both thought the label read “Apathetic White Blend.” Now, who in their right mind would label their wine with a word whose dictionary definition is “showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm or concern?" We blinked, looked at each other in disbelief and then back at the bottle. We read it wrong. The wine was actually labeled Apothic White Blend.

A bit of explication is definitely called for here. More than 800 years ago, alchemists stored their most coveted concoctions in a mysterious place called the Apotheca. Today, the name “apotheker,” or something like it, is used for a pharmacy in many languages, so we were not too far off.

This wine is a novel and impressive blend of chardonnay, riesling and moscato wines that produce a very nice all-around wine that can accompany a great many foods or food combinations.

We found it to be a standout when used as an aperitif or with seafood salads.

While not completely dry, this wine is, to say the least, bold in its presentation of its fruit flavors and aromas. Both the aroma and flavor reflect peach, pineapple, apricot, honey and vanilla, which, as one might expect, carry right on through to the long and interesting finish.

Nixa resident Bennet Bodenstein is a wine columnist and helps manage ArticlesOnWine.com with his wife, Sheila. He can be reached at frojhe@suddenlink.net.