Born in Michoacan, Mexico, winemaker Edgar Torres has lived in the coastal town of Cambria, California since the age of 8. As it seems to happen to many people who live close to Paso Robles, he fell in love with wine and decided to make his livelihood in the wine business. Hey…can you blame him?!? He has worked with many of the superstars of the Central Coast, including Matt Garretson, Augie Hug, Alta Maria Vineyards, Barrel 27, and McPrice Myers. We sampled his latest releases a few months ago, and they really knocked our socks off! The intensity of these wines are rivaled by few here in the United States, and we suggest you check out what Edgar can do!
A combination of two great vineyards, Alta Mesa vineyard in Santa Barbara and Kimsey Vineyard in Santa Ynez. This wine screams aromas of red flowers, dark cranberries, cherries, pomegranate, hints of grilled herbs, and leather. The palate mimics much of the nose with a great freshness and minerality, and has good grippy tannins making it worthy of aging. This wine is big and pairs well with meat or seared tuna. Enjoy now or lay it down for 7-9 years.
A blend of 50% Garnacha, 33% Carignan, and 17% Tempranillo from the Paper Street Vineyard. The 2016 Mi Montsant was my favorite of these offerings from Bodega De Edgar, offering up lovely aromas of blackberry, spice, cherry, dried flowers and burning embers. On the palate, it's full-bodied, rich and layered, with a lavish core of fruit but also lovely energy and definition. The finish is long and finely tannic.
JEB DUNNUCK 95-97 POINTS - "I loved the 2017 Oublie. This blend of 53% Grenache, 22% Mourvedre, 21% Syrah and the rest a mix of varieties offers a layered, silky, seamless profile. Giving up more black and blue fruits, peppery herbs, and floral overtones, it has silky tannins, medium to full body, and a great finish. It’s another beautiful wine."
A ripe, rich blend of 47% Grenache, 47% Tannat, and 6% Syrah.
Tannat is justly famous for its huge tannins and dark, inky color. It can be a rough wine, lacking charm and complexity, but in a cuvée, it adds undeniable power, grip and palate weight. We chose Grenache and Syrah to soften the Tannat’s grip and add layers of fruit to the Tannat’s spice and coal notes.
Planted in 1999, Denner Vineyards is a winegrowing estate on the far western border of the Paso Robles AVA. Their 156 acres press up against the Santa Lucia Range, giving the site great diversity of elevation, aspect and soil. Previously dry farmed barley, the estate is nestled into the Templeton Gap, an East/West corridor where the marine layer can reach the inland valleys. As a result they receive large diurnal temperature swings without high moisture pressure, giving us a near perfect growing climate.
The 108 acres under vine are comprised of 19 different varieties in 26 unique blocks. Each block is farmed with painstaking attention to detail, allowing only for the best possible grapes to reach the winery. Aron Nevarez, their vineyard manager, is committed to environmentally friendly farming practices, using only sustainable inputs and minimal irrigation.
Cotes de Paso is Halter Ranch's Rhone-style blend that is a combination of four varietals from their sustainably farmed estate vineyard. A blend of 75% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 8% Mourvedre, and 7% Tannat . Grenache provides a bright fruit-forward entry, Mourvedre adds spice notes, while Syrah brings some weight to the mid-palate, and Tannat ties everything together with color, tannin and acidity. Loaded with aromas of dried strawberry, cinnamon sticks and potpourri, this delicious wine has an elegant palate that leads to a long smooth finish.
This is the personal wine of Anthony Yount, who also makes the incredible wines at Denner. The Royal Nonesuch Farm is dedicated to making a singular wine from their seven-acre vineyard on York Mountain. Yet, the Royal Nonesuch Farm is so much more than a seven-acre vineyard. It is where three-generations of the Yount Family live and play; where they raise their live-stock and grow their fruits and vegetables. It is their home. For this and so many other reasons they never use herbicides, chemical fertilizers or pesticides on the farm.
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."
JEB DUNNUCK 98 POINTS - "Consistently thrilling wines come from l'Aventure, which is run with incredible talent and passion by St. Emilion native Stephan Asseo. His 2016s are incredible efforts, and the 2017 more Rhone blends are certainly in the same ballpark. Due to the heat spikes at harvest, Bordeaux varieties were much more difficult and hit or miss."
"The 2016 Cote a Cote is blockbuster and one of the wines of the vintage. A blend of 55% Grenache, 25% Mourvedre, and the rest Syrah, brought up in a mix of 30% new French oak, 28% once used barrels, and the rest in amphora and concrete tanks, it offers a heavenly perfume of blueberries, blackberries, crushed violets, wild strawberries, ground pepper, and spring flowers. About as pure and seamless as it gets, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a multi-dimensional texture, no hard edges, and a huge finish. I finished my note on this wine with "Killer stuff!" You can drink this today or cellar it for 10-15 years."
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 94 POINTS - "Deep bright-rimmed ruby. Intensely perfumed red and blue fruit, floral pastille, cola and allspice aromas are sharpened by a powerful mineral note. Juicy and densely packed on the palate, offering sappy black currant and cherry-vanilla flavors that take on a spicy nuance with aeration. Finishes sweet, smooth and impressively long, displaying lingering spiciness and smooth, well-knit tannins."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The 2016 Cote a Cote from L'Aventure offers up aromas of black cherries, clove, anise and dark chocolate. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, rich and expansive, with a broad attack, a sweet, rounded mid-palate and a firm, chewy finish that shows a bit of stem tannin. There's a nice juiciness and purity to this large-scaled, powerful effort that's a blend of 55% Grenache, 25% Mourvedre and 20% Syrah."
JEB DUNNUCK 93-95 POINTS - "Consistently thrilling wines come from l'Aventure, which is run with incredible talent and passion by St. Emilion native Stephan Asseo. His 2016s are incredible efforts, and the 2017 more Rhone blends are certainly in the same ballpark. Due to the heat spikes at harvest, Bordeaux varieties were much more difficult and hit or miss."
"Another elegant and seamless wine is the 2017 Cote a Cote (48% Grenache, 32% Mourvedre, and the balance Syrah) has an exotic, perfumed style in its cassis and strawberry fruits, and it's full-bodied, nicely concentrated, and layered on the palate. I love its tannin quality, it's balanced, and is going to drink nicely right out of the gate."
Located in the Paso Robles AVA, Law Family Vineyards sits at 1800 feet of elevation, higher than most vineyards in the area. This gives Law Estate distinct microclimates in an appellation already known to have a greater day-to-night temperature swing than any other in California. Calcareous soils with high lime content make these vineyards the best of the best. John Crossland at Vineyard Professional Services, with input from the Laws and winemaker Scott Hawley, designed and planted the thirty-two acres of Rhone varietals in 2008. Eighty percent of the vineyard is planted in multiple clones of Grenache and Syrah with smaller blocks of Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Carignane and Tempranillo. Sustainable farming with minimal applications results in premium fruit.
A blend of 86% Grenache and 14% Syrah, and always a charmer, the 2016 Beguiling is as rich as it is complex, with dark cherry and hints of cranberry making their home in a copia of wild florals and herbs. From the core, its juicy freshness rides along an impressive wave of acidity which provides balance to the weight of this powerful, yet beautifully finessed wine. On the finish, there is a resurgence of fruit and engulfing tannin, that will keep not only your palate, but all your senses fully engaged with every sip.
A blend of 36% Grenache, 34% Syrah, and 30% Mourvedre, the 2016 Sagacious provides the most complete depiction of Law's estate vineyard as a whole, and the sensational complexity that stems from the combination of the three varieties housed in this trademark Paso-style blend. It's hard to name a better trio, with the dark berries, both fresh and dried sage, heaps of spice and zest like freshness. Strong and structured, its powdered tannins encompass an incredibly long finish that keeps this wine energized to carry its killer density effortlessly.
A blend of 71% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, and 14% Syrah, this showcases great aromatics typical of it's Grenache vineyard in the Adelaida District AVA in West Side Paso Robles. On the nose is spicy red fruits, fresh cherries and hints of chocolate. On the palate its combines a new world juiciness and some old world Chateauneuf-du-Pape like floral notes and firm tannins. The Syrah component from a hillside vineyard in the Willow Creek AVA complements, but still allows the Grenache to be in the driver seat of this blend. We think you'll enjoy its freshness and structure now as well as benefit from several years of cellaring to experience its progression.
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 92 POINTS - "(15% whole clusters; 40% new French oak) Saturated ruby. Heady, mineral-accented red berry liqueur and floral scents show excellent clarity and a smoky topnote. Sweet and sharply focused on the palate, offering ripe raspberry and cola flavors and a spicy hint of white pepper. Shows excellent finishing cut and floral persistence, with rounded tannins coming in late."
A blend of 76% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, and 4% Counoise, the 2018 Patelin de Tablas Rose is a vibrant light peach color. On the nose are spicy aromatics of nectarine, grapefruit pith, sea spray, and crushed rock. The mouth is bright with flavors of yellow raspberry and blood orange, with mouthwatering acidity giving focus to a long finish with flavors of lemon drop, briny mineral, and a little rose petal florality. Drink now and over the next year.
Tablas Creek Vineyard was founded by the Perrin family of Chateau de Beaucastel and Robert Haas of Vineyard Brands to produce California's best examples of southern Rhone varietals and Chateauneuf du Pape style blends. The partners chose a 120-acre property in the limestone hills of west Paso Robles and imported new clones of Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, etc., from the Beaucastel estate, and farms their estate organically.
The vineyards and resulting wines showed such purity, intensity, and complexity that the neighbors of Tablas Creek began to plant new vineyards using vines that were propagated from those Beaucastel vines. Tablas Creek's Patelin red, white, and rose are made from grapes harvested from their neighbors' vineyards, and these have become some of the best values in the entire Paso Robles region! This year, it was their rose that stood out like a full moon on a clear night.
When you drink French rose, Grenache or Mourvedre are typically the dominant grapes, so it makes sense that Paso Robles (being a hotbed for Rhone varietals) would make their own roses. We have sampled quite a few of them this year, and while there are definitely some winners, Tablas Creek's is at the top of our list! Dry, crisp, and lower in alcohol (13.0%), this wine definitely is French in style!