ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 98 POINTS - "These latest releases from Charles Smith check in at the top of the pyramid and are flat out incredible wines that I wish every reader could taste."
"A candidate for the wine of the vintage, the 2013 Syrah Royal City is as expansive, sexy and voluptuous as they get in the vintage, hands down. It's deep ruby/purple color is followed by incredible notes of wild herbs, lavender, gamey meats, olive paste and sweet dark berry fruits. Full-bodied, relatively forward and charming, it still packs a wealth of material and has building tannin, all suggesting it will drink nicely for 10-15 years."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 98 POINTS - "The 2015 Syrah Sur Echalas Vineyard is just as striking as its Grenache sibling, unfurling with an equally complex nose of sweet cassis, beef blood, bitter cocoa, peony and violets, with notions of grilled meat and truffle emerging with time. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied and amazingly intense, with a deep and multidimensional core framed by remarkably satiny, layered tannins, concluding with a long, saline finish."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 98 POINTS - "Of these three offerings from Horsepower, the 2015 Syrah The Tribe Vineyard will require the most time, as it's the most tight-knit at this early stage, slowly unwinding in the glass with savory aromas of raw cocoa, tapenade, nori and ripe blackberries. On the palate, it's full-bodied, deep and concentrated, with a rich chassis of satiny structuring tannins and a layered, umami-laden core of fruit. At 13.6% alcohol, it's also beautifully balanced."
JEB DUNNUCK 99 POINTS - "It's always a fun tasting with winemaker Matt Dees and his team, and they continue to keep this estate at the top of the hierarchy in Santa Barbara County. Located in Ballard Canyon AVA, they pull only from their estate vineyard (planted on incredibly sandy soils) and make a wide range of cuvées, from a red and white Bordeaux blends, to a 100% Petit Verdot, Sangiovese and a number of terrific Rhône blends. The common thread is incredible quality."
"Unquestionably the star of the show is the 2014 La Sangre de Jonata, and it's a more finesse driven, elegant, cool climate example of the cuvee than normal. Reminding me of an Hermitage from Bessards, it offers gorgeous notes of blackberries, cassis, leather, scorched earth and pepper. Possessing full-bodied richness, firm, polished tannin and a focused finish, it will be more approachable that most vintage of this cuvee, yet I still wouldn't touch bottles for 3-5 years. If you must drink a bottle over the coming couple of years, give it a 2-hour decant."
JEB DUNNUCK 99 POINTS - "The 2016 La Sangre de Jonata (98% Syrah and 2% Viognier) is a beautiful follow on to the sensational 2015 and has a layered, multi-dimensional, massive profile. Blackcurrants, blackberries, lavender, bacon fat, and spring flower notes all flow to a seriously rich, powerful wine that stays light and graceful, with awesome tannin quality. It's another tour de force that reminds me of the 2007. It shuts down with extended air time (I followed this bottle for two days) and while it can certainly be enjoyed today, it won't hit prime time for another 4-6 years and should keep for two decades or more."
ANTONIO GALLONI 96+ POINTS - "The 2016 La Sangre de Jonata is a wine of real substance and depth. In 2016, the La Sangre is distinguished by its red fruit profile, freshness and vibrant, focused personality, all of which should allow it to age gracefully for a number of years. The 2016 is not as overt as some previous versions have been, but that is probably a very good thing for its longer term prospects. Time in the glass brings out the wine's underlying richness and pedigree."
ANTONIO GALLONI 94-97 POINTS - "The 2017 Syrah Hudson Vineyards is another glorious wine in this range. Rich and inky in the glass, the 2017 offers a compelling interplay of rich fruit allied to a vertical sense of structure. Dark red fruit, spice and floral notes are pushed forward, but it is the wine's total sense of poise that is most impressive today. Unctuous and full-throttle to the core, with head-spinning intensity and exceptional balance, the 2017 Syrah is shaping up to be an absolute jewel of a wine."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94-96+ POINTS - "John Kongsgaard had finished harvest prior to the fires in 2017. While the Atlas Peak fire came dangerously close, the winery was spared and the vineyards received just minimal damage."
"A barrel sample, the deep purple-black colored 2017 Syrah Hudson Vineyard offers black cherries, raspberries, crushed blackberries and tar with hints of anise and a waft of wild thyme. Medium to full-bodied and packed with perfumed fruit, it has lovely rounded tannins and great freshness, finishing long."
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 95 POINTS - "(raised in a combination of new and used French oak barrels, concrete tanks and amphoras) Deep brilliant ruby. An assertively perfumed bouquet evokes fresh black and blue fruits, Moroccan spices, vanilla and smoky minerals, while a suave floral pastille accent builds in the glass. Deeply concentrated yet surprisingly lively on the palate, offering sweet black raspberry, boysenberry, spicecake and mocha flavors that unfold slowly, picking up licorice and vanilla notes on the back half. Shows outstanding clarity and thrust on a supple, strikingly long finish shaped by smooth, building tannins."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 93-95 POINTS - "One of the reference point estates in Paso Robles is unquestionably Stephan Asseo's l'Aventure."
"Leading off the reds from barrel, the full-bodied 2015 Cote a Cote (60% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah) has an elegant, cool climate feel (which can be common in the vintage) as well as pretty, elegant notes of violets, raspberries, peppery herbs and black cherries. The final blend will be a mix of roughly 60% barrels and 40% in concrete and amphora, and it should have a decade of longevity."
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 95 POINTS - "Saturated ruby. Powerful red and dark berry preserve scents are complemented by suggestions of exotic spices, incense and floral pastilles, and a smoky mineral flourish adds urgency. Sappy and seamless in texture, offering vivacious raspberry and cherry liqueur and spicecake flavors energized by a strong jolt of juicy acidity. The blend of power and energy here is really impressive. Smooth, harmonious tannins build steadily on a strikingly long, seamless finish that leaves behind candied lavender and juicy red berry notes."
JEB DUNNUCK 96 POINTS - "I’ve written it numerous time, but Linne Calodo remains one of the reference point estates in Paso Robles. Winemaker/owner Matt Trevisan consistently puts together exotic and singular blends that deliver opulence as well as balance."
"The 2016 Rising Tides knocks it out of the park in 2016. A blend of 77% Grenache, 14% Mourvedre, and 9% Syrah, this ruby-tinged beauty boasts thrilling notes of black raspberries, crushed flowers, dried herbs, and incense. Beautifully textured, medium to full-bodied, and elegant, it's a sensational Grenache blend that does everything right. Brought up in a mix of concrete tanks and neutral larger French oak barrels, it's one of the finest vintages for this cuvee to date. Drink it any time over the coming 7-8 years."
A blend of 70% Syrah, 9% Mourvedre, 8% Grenache, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petite Sirah, 3% Zinfandel, and 2% Clairette Blanche, Beautiful Earth is Mcprice Myers' flagship Paso Robles Blend, and it represents the best lots from their favorite westside vineyards. Ripe berries, violets, rose petals, sweet tobacco, peach-blackberry cobbler, dried sage, dark chocolate, and leather are all present on the nose. The palate is juicy and voluptuous with hints of cocoa powder, it is opulent and lush with a vibrant beam of energy ushering in a tantalizing finish.
Tablas Creek was founded by the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel and their importer, Robert Haas. The goal was to produce California's best examples of southern Rhône varietals and Chateauneuf-du-Pape style blends. The partners chose a 120-acre property in the hills of westside Paso Robles for its similarities to Chateauneuf-du-Pape: limestone soils, favorable climate, and rugged terrain. Tablas Creek emphasizes dry farming (no watering) to seek maximum expression from their grapes, and they farm organically. Their signature white is named Esprit de Tablas, and is modeled after the Beaucastel wines from the Rhone Valley.
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 93-94 POINTS - "Light green-tinged gold. Mineral-accented tangerine, melon and pear scents on the highly perfumed nose; a floral nuance gains strength as the wine opens up. Vibrant citrus and orchard fruit flavors are joined by bitter quinine and honeysuckle flourishes that build slowly with air. Shows impressive depth as well as nerviness on the finish, which hangs on with strong, mineral-dominated persistence."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The 2017 Esprit Blanc de Tablas is made up of 68% Roussanne, 17% Grenache Blanc, 7% Picpoul Blanc, 4% Picardan and 4% Clairette Blanche. The nose features honey-drizzled apples, lychee, orange peel and musk with warm hay, crushed stone, quince and pie crust notions. Medium to full-bodied with intense honeyed flavors in the mouth, it has great juicy acidity to counter and a long, gently textured finish. "This is the first vintage of the Esprit de Tablas Blanc to have Clairette and Picardin," winemaker Jason Haas says, "because we wanted to include all the white grapes from Châteauneuf-du-Pape." 2,250 cases produced."
JEB DUNNUCK 91 POINTS - "The 2017 Esprit De Tablas Blanc offers more richness and depth, which is largely missing from many of these wines. White peach, quince, honeysuckle, and hints of stone fruits all emerge from the glass, and it's nicely textured, medium-bodied, has good acidity, and a clean finish. The blend is 68% Roussanne, 17% Grenache Blanc, 7% Picpoul Blanc, 4% Picardan, and 4% Clairette."
This wine is a joint venture of wine gurus from two continents. The blend is a true collaboration of winemakers Bob Bertheau of Chateau Ste Michelle, along with two juggernauts from France, Michel Gassier and Philippe Cambie! They have combined their decades of experience to produce a wine that demonstrates why Washington State is one of the best growing regions in the world for Syrah!
Approximately 22% of the lots were fermented as whole clusters, with the remaining
lots fermented as de-stemmed grapes. The inclusion of stems during fermentation
contributes earthy, savory aromas and flavors that perfectly complement the pure fruit
character of the grapes. To further enhance these complexities, about 20% of the lots also
underwent extended maceration. After fermentation, a majority of the young wine was placed into neutral French oak barrels for aging, with the remainder aged in tight-grained new French and American oak barrels. The use of neutral and tighter-grained barrels helps to preserve the unique character of the wine itself. This year the wine is a blend of 90% Syrah, 4% Grenache, 4% Mourvedre, and 2% Viognier.
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 90 POINTS - "Bright, full ruby. Slightly reduced aromas of dark berries, dark chocolate and spices; less expressive and wild than the 2015 version was at the same stage. Concentrated, silky and fine-grained, displaying sexy spice and violet lift to the concentrated dark berry and licorice flavors. I find more sweetness and primary fruit character--and more generosity of texture--than in the 2015 version of this bottling. The long finish hints at chocolatey ripeness but also shows lovely violet lift and a fine dusting of tannins. This needs aeration or a year or two in the cellar to shed its reductive quality. (I should note that a second bottle was a bit less generous and sweet.) (14.5% alcohol)"
A blend of 45% Viognier, 45% Marsanne, and 10% Roussanne, Treana Blanc is a stunning example of a new world Rhone blend with aromas and flavors of pineapple, dried apricot, peach and Clementine orange that combine with floral notes of honeysuckle and elder flower. Sweet notes of marzipan, honey, graham cracker along with cinnamon and vanilla round out this complex, full-bodied and racy wine.