This wine floored us from the very first sip! Ancient Peaks sits in the Paso Robles appellation, 22 miles south of the city itself, and just 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Here, the surrounding peaks of the Santa Lucia Mountain Range act as a gateway between one region to the south that is exceedingly ocean-cooled, and another to the north that is much, much warmer (sometimes downright hot!). When the days heat up in the areas north and east of Margarita Vineyard, the air rises to create a vacuum that pulls marine breezes and fog inland over the peaks, and right through the vineyard. This means the fruit gets ripe, without any "off" flavors, yet the cooling afternoon breezes help the resulting wine to retain freshness and acidity.
The Renegade is a blend of 32% Syrah, 25% Zinfandel, 20% Malbec, 19% Petit Verdot, and 4% Petite Sirah, the wine is loaded with deep berry aromas that reveal accents of toasty oak, baking spice, cedar and tobacco. The texture is broad and velvety, offering concentrated flavors of boysenberry, blueberry, black cherry and cocoa that are powerfully framed by savory notes of bacon fat and pepper. Plush tannins and lengthy fruit converge into a smooth, seamless finish.
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!
The "La Guera" bottling is comprised of 75% Albarino and 25% Chardonnay. With an aroma of fresh white flowers such as honey suckle, lemon blossoms and pineapple this wine bursts from the glass. Followed by similar notes on the palate including citrus and apple notes that compliment the acidity and minerality behind it. Perfect to pair with fresh seafood, a perfect summer salad or cheese. Drink now or save up to 5 years.
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."
JEB DUNNUCK 96-98 POINTS - "Lastly, the 2017 Vertigo checks in as 63% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre, 4% Grenache, and the balance Petite Sirah that's still aging in 65% new French oak. One of the more voluptuous, sexy 2017s from Jenson, it boasts loads of black and blue fruits, ground pepper, and spring flower aromas and flavors. Deep, full-bodied, ultra-pure, and with a big finish, it's killer wine in the making."
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.
A blend of 52% Syrah, 21% Grenache, 12% Petite Sirah, 8% Tannat, and 7% Mourvedre, the life of the party has just arrived and is setting up shop in your mouth. It's approachable, as all good party guests should be, with lively flavors of blackberries, cherries and strawberries to get things started. And this Paso red blend knows how to mingle, introducing milk chocolate, caramel and leather to all those beautiful fruits. It's going to be an interesting night.
A blend of 64% Petite Sirah, 23% Syrah, 10% Zinfandel, 2% Lagrein, and 1% Tannat, the 2017 Pessimist has a powerful and intensely aromatic nose that ascends to greet you with blueberry, boysenberry and black plum fragrance. Evolving layers reveal elderberry and truffle, with cocoa and cardamom spice accents, further augmented by hints of eucalyptus, leather, cherry pipe tobacco and grilled meats. Broad and expansive on the palate, bestowing lush and generous flavors of black cherry, blueberry, creme de cassis and damp forest floor. Notes of lavender, anise and black olives complement the rich fruit. Massive in weight yet elegantly structured, this wine is a powerhouse that reveals itself in controlled stages .
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.
The "Dirt Worshipper" is a blend of 97% Syrah, 2% Roussanne, and 1% Viognier. An explosion of violets, black olives, plums, white pepper, and forest floor are a stunning introduction to this hedonistic beast. Flavors of seared ribeye, menthol, rolling tobacco, and blueberry dance around on the visceral palate. The mid-palate offers profound depth and power, but brightens as it evolves into a graceful and extraordinarily long finish.
Winery's Tasting Notes: "Juicy peach, lemon oil and orange marmalade are supported with hints of flint and mineral notes. The palate is full bodied, with flavors of nectarine, buttered brioche and honey. The rich, complex flavors are cut with a touch of tannin and bright acidity on the long fresh finish."
Grenache Blanc excels in Halter Ranch's limestone rich soils on the Westside of Paso Robles. Reminiscent of the wines of Southern France, this Grenache Blanc has aromas and flavors of honey, white flower, melons and pear. Delicious on its own, this wine also pairs beautifully with hearty salads, prosciutto and melon, and anything from the sea.
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 62% Grenache, 17% Mourvedre, 11% Syrah, and 10% 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.
For Russell P. From, Paso is a place to push new frontiers in the exploration of full-force flavor. Milk and Honey is a blend of 34% Tempranillo, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Syrah, 14% Petit Verdot, and 6% Grenache, and exposes the best of the promised land. Tempranillo was chosen as the base of this blend due to its similarity to one of Paso's new keystone varietals, Grenache, while also giving a nod to the region's stylistic similarities to Ribero del Duero. While Paso is an emerald city for some, it is also home to derelicts and grifters and ne'er–do–wells, for whom the artwork is an homage.
Russell writes his tasting notes like a story, and this one reads: "As you journey El Camino de Santiago de Compostela through the spectacular Galician countryside, you take respite in a quaint hamlet whose inhabitants welcome you with warm smiles and amazing refreshment. Beef Cecina dipped in olive oil, hearty bean stew and acorn-fed Jamon. A voluptuous local woman o.ers you the wine from the vineyard on the hillside. As you taste the paprika-spiced oak, you wonder if you could end the journey here, lost in the eyes of this dark-haired beauty. Instead, it is a cup of Cafe con Queimada and a few hours of daylight to go. The journey continues, regardless of the destination."
Seriously…why can't more producers make wine this good…and at this price?!?!?! Aaron Jackson grew up in the Paso Robles region, and he's been making wine since he was a teenager (literally!). That being said, he's found many vineyards that are so secluded that other producers don't even know where those vineyards are!
Aaron's second label wine, KEOLA is comprised of barrels and lots from the same vineyards that make up his top-tier AARON wines. These barrels are declassified lots or extra barrels that don't find their way into our top cuvees, and thus make their way into KEOLA and are presented an awesome wine for everyday drinking.
Each of the vineyard lots were hand picked and sorted three times prior to processing into small open top fermentors. Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Grenache were 100% destemmed, while the Graciano was fermented wtih 50% whole clusters. The fruit was chilled to 48F and cold-soaked for 4-8 days, until a spontaneous native fermentation began. Fermentations are kept cool to help retain aromatics in the finished wines. Delastage was performed for the first 7 days, followed by hand punchdowns twice per day over the course of another 3 weeks, totaling 35-40 days of skin contact. Unfined and unfiltered, with only small amounts of sulfites added.
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.
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."
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.
Beautiful Earth is a white Rhone blend comprised of 65% Grenache Blanc and 35% Clairette Blanche grapes grown on the Westside of Paso Robles from Paper Street Vineyard.
Whole cluster pressed, fermented in stainless steel, then aged in newtral French oak barrels for 11 months, the wine shows notes of poached pear, jasmine, white currants, loquat, citrus curd, wet stone, galea melon, sweet fennel, and vanilla cookie. Mid-palate weight with an energetic finish, enjoy this with coconut curry shrimp and jasine rice!
JEB DUNNUCK 94-97 POINTS - "The 2017 My Favorite Neighbor is in the same ballpark and offers terrific notes of creme de cassis, tobacco leaf, lead pencil shavings, and cedary herbs. It's a full-bodied, silky, impeccably balanced beauty that has just subtle background oak, a stacked mid-palate, and terrific purity of fruit."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 93-95 POINTS - "A barrel sample blended of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah and 10% Petit Verdot, the 2017 My Favorite Neighbor Proprietary Blend is deep garnet-purple in color and a little cedary to begin, giving way to fragrant blackcurrants, black cherries and black raspberries with touches of spice cake, Sichuan pepper, violets and hoisin. Full-bodied, densely packed and with velvety tannins, it delivers tons of tightly wound flavors, finishing long."
Patrick McNeil found Paydirt in the western hillsides of Paso Robles and in winemaker McPrice Myers. Patrick and McPrice focus on the cooler sites of Paso Robles, where California's greatest daily shift in temperature and limestone-rich soils provide the ideal environment for extremely rich and balanced zinfandels.
A blend of 84% Zinfandel, 6% Syrah, 4% Grenache, 3% Mourvedre, and 3% Petite Sirah, the nose is filled with ripe blackberries, plum, sweet tobacco, dark chocolate, and cranberry relish. The palate is densely packed with ripe berries, brown spice, sweet Cuban coffee, and chalky minerality. The finish is persistent, layered and vibrant, with a nice touch of spice.
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 93-95 POINTS - "Deep lurid ruby. Ripe red and blue fruit, Moroccan spice and lavender oil aromas are enlivened by a smoky mineral quality as the wine opens up. Sappy and expansive on the palate, offering vibrant, mineral-tinged black raspberry, cola and spicecake flavors that show excellent clarity and thrust. The mineral and spice notes drive an impressively persistent finish that's given shape by smooth, slow-building tannins."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92-94 POINTS - "A barrel sample, the 2017 Esprit de Tablas is made up of 40% Mourvedre, 35% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 5% Counoise. It's pale to medium ruby with aromas of spiced cranberry sauce, red cherry preserves, warm blackberries, orange peel, blueberries and tree bark with accents of bitter chocolate, dusty earth and garrigue plus gobs of juicy red berry notions. It's light to medium-bodied with great intensity, juicy acidity, grainy tannins and a very long finish. This has great potential! 4,090 cases are expected to be produced."
JEB DUNNUCK 91 POINTS - "Recently bottled, the 2017 Esprit De Tablas offers a Rhone-like bouquet of blackberries, garrigue, pepper, and licorice, that develop with time in the glass. Beautifully textured, with fine tannins and good acidity, it's going to benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age and keep for 10-15 years or more if you're so inclined. The blend is 40% Mourvedre, 35% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 5% Counoise, raised mostly in foudre."
Every so often, you'll peruse our newsletter and see that we ask why more people are doing things like Winery "A". Well…this is one of those times! While the noteworthy wines from Tablas Creek are nothing new (but they are still exciting), their Patelin bottlings are new. This blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Counoise comes from their Westside Paso neighbors who have planted vineyards using Tablas clones.
In theory, this Patelin red should be tight, young, and tart…but on the contrary, this wine is rich, concentrated and immensely delicious. In fact, our buyer wouldn't spit this wine out! Deep ruby/garnet in color, the nose is loaded with Asian spices, raspberry, black cherry, and orange marmalade while the palate follows suit and adds hints of grilled meats, graphite, and cocoa. Rich, flavorful, and with silky tannins, this is a great value in wine, and one that just may make you ask yourself why you haven't tried these wines before!
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 90-92 POINTS - "Glass-staining ruby. Perfumed aromas of ripe, spice-tinged dark berries and candied flowers pick up an exotic suggestion of apricot as the wine opens up. Silky and energetic in style, offering sappy black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and a suave touch of Asian spices. Takes a sweet turn on the gently tannic, persistent finish and leaves a note of candied flowers behind."
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."