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.
Winemaker Erik miller was inspired to begin this new project by an emerging style of California wines that are lighter in alcohol, crunchy in acidity, and bright in appearance. Erik was originally introduced to this style of wine by Cru Beaujolais, and decided to craft their own interpretation of this from two of their favorite varietals, Zinfandel and Grenache. The defining characteristic is whole-cluster fermentation (carbonic maceration), which lends a crunchy, herbaceous character to the wine. The goal is a very hands-off approach to winemaking that highlights the purity of fruit, and deliciousness of a lighter bodied red wine that preferably should be served slightly chilled.
The defining characteristic is whole-cluster fermentation (carbonic maceration). They use all native yeast for spontaneous fermentation, all native bacteria for malolactic fermentation, and add no Sulphur throughout fermentation. The goal is a very hands-off approach to winemaking that highlights the purity of fruit, and deliciousness of a lighterbodied red wine. The result is a fresh, crisp wine, that preferably should be served slightly chilled, which has a back bone of acidity and an unmistakable minerality that leaves your palate wanting more.
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.
Jordan gives respect to to Rose, as it can be perfectly balanced and complex. Her rendition is a blend of 62% Mourvedre, 21% Grenache, and 17% Syrah. With delicate notes of strawberry, hay, honeysuckle, crisp peach, and sweet lemon/lime, Mourvedre makes a huge impression at 62% of this irresistible MGS Rhône Rose blend. As the aromas continue to evolve and the wine warms in your glass, this Rose soars across the palate in a yin/yang balance between fruit, flowers, wet stones, saline, and zingy acid. This is a wine that we crave all day long.
This is an insane value from Curt Schalchlin; the owner and winemaker of SANS LIEGE. After several years learning from and working for some of the Central Coast's most sought-after producers, Curt decided to go his own way. The wines he puts under the Sans Liege label have received lofty praise from other winemakers and consumers, and his Groundwork label is on the way to becoming one of the better values in California's Central Coast!
Hahn's GSM (60% Grenache, 37% Syrah, and 3% Mourvedre) takes its inspiration from the Rhone Valley of southern France where Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre are some of the most popular grape types grown. Each of the three grape types blended into this wine adds distinctive aromas and flavors. Grenache contributes raspberry, strawberry and cherry flavors, while Syrah lends color, tannins and hints of blueberry and black pepper. The Mourvedre adds richness to the mid-palate and lengthens the dry finish.
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.
This is a blend of 40% Syrah, 35% Mourvedre, 19% Grenache, 4% Carignan, and 2% Tannat. Russel writes his tasting notes like a story, and he writes: "You never thought you'd get this far, but the wood-paneled bar with neon-lit signs has dissolved into your apartment balcony, where she's hungry and waiting. Frying up a grilled cheese in the kitchen you realize you're not kids anymore, so you're trying to channel your inner Thomas Keller, chopping fresh rosemary and sage, sizzling bacon, spreading pepper jelly. She hand-rolls a cigarette as you split the sandwich. Miles away, thunder rolls. The air turns earthy and sweet. Let it fill the space between you until the rain begins."
JEB DUNNUCK 96 POINTS - "More inky colored, the 2017 Casual Encounters checks in as 40% Syrah, 35% Mourvedre, 19% Grenache, and tiny amounts of Carignan and Tannat. Lots of mulled black fruits, smoked meat, barbecue, and peppery notes emerge from the glass. It's full-bodied, super-rich, and concentrated, yet still stays light on its feet and beautifully balanced. It's a classic, sweetly fruited, sexy 2017 to enjoy over the coming 5-7 years or so."
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.
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.
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 94 POINTS - "Deep vivid ruby. Assertive cherry and raspberry liqueur aromas are complemented by suggestions of baking spices and candied flowers. Sappy and expansive in the mouth, offering appealingly sweet red and blue fruit preserve and candied lavender flavors that are energized by a spicy touch of white pepper. Shows impressive depth as well as energy and finishes impressively long and smooth, with well-knit tannins and strong, floral-driven persistence. 15% whole clusters and once-used French oak."
JEB DUNNUCK 93 POINTS - "In the same ballpark, yet more Grenache-dominated, the 2016 Acceleration (85% Grenache and 15% Syrah) boasts a deep ruby color as well as notes of kirsch, dried soil, and savory spices. Medium to full-bodied, seamless, and elegant, it's another beautiful wine from winemaker Aaron Jackson that will cruise in the cellar on its balance and purity."
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."
Our buyer was visiting/touring/tasting around the Paso Robles region when McPrice Myers was rebranding a few of his wines. Two of the wines were just about to be bottled, and Mac invited our buyer to the winery and taste them, and of course our buyer went (if you've ever had Mac's wines, you know why this was a no brainer). Vis-a-vis their pricepoints, our buyer felt that Mac's "Blue Collar Series" (of which he makes a Cabernet, Syrah, Zinfandel, and Grenache-blend) far exceeded anything else he tasted on that trip!
A blend of 40% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 22% Mourvedre, 6% Petite Sirah and 2% Viognier, aromas of smoky plum, mocha, licorice, and black cherries move towards Rainier cherry, boysenberry, dark chocolate, and brown spice on the palate, betore the lush tannins lead you towards a long, supple finish.
Orin Swift considers this wine to be the culmination of a thirteen-year process. From 2000-2012 Dave Phinney spent countless hours in the vineyards and in blending trials working to perfect The Prisoner. He has taken all that knowledge, both the trials and tribulations, and diligently applied it to Abstract. With The Prisoner chapter of winemaking behind him, orin Swift feels as if a natural progression has been made and an evolution has occurred. Orin Swift's ongoing pursuit of choice vineyards throughout California resulted in some extraordinary Grenache, along with exquisite Petit Sirah, and Syrah that was assembled together into an artful collage both in and outside of the bottle.
Aromatics with gravity, the wine pulls you in with notes of blueberry, black fig,
bloodied strawberry and hints of musk and rhubarb. Bold on the entry, the palate
exudes rich notes of dark plum and ripe framboise with a slightly chalky texture. The
wine transitions effortlessly to a finish of black cherry, sweet licorice and some quick
Owner/winemaker Curt Schalchlin has rapidly made a name for himself within the "Cal-Rhone Community" as one of the best producers of Syrahs, Grenaches, and blends. His Groundwork label presents one heck of a value, and while that is no slouch, the Sans Liege wines really showcase his abilities.
"The Offering" is comprised of 45% Grenache, 33% Syrah, 21% Mourvedre, and 1% Viognier, aged in new, once-used, and neutral French oak. The grapes came from several notable vineyards in Santa Barbara County, including Alta Colina, Zotovich, and White Hawk,, and a few others.
WINE SPECTATOR 92 POINTS - "A brooding core is wrapped in a polished, zesty texture, offering blackberry, cured meat and smoky cracked pepper flavors as this builds toward fine-grained tannins. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Viognier. Drink now through 2030. 2,502 cases made."
ANTONIO GALLONI 95 POINTS - "Jeremy Weintraub has a magic touch in crafting wines that are rich, vibrant and yet also highly site-specific."
"The 2016 Grenache Larner Vineyard is a total rock-star wine. Bold, punchy and explosive, with tremendous fruit density, the 2016 just has so much going on. The purity and depth of the flavors is just tremendous. Ripe red plum, mocha, spice and dried flowers are some of the many aromas and flavors that pulse through this heady, exotic wine. This is a decidedly creamy, sumptuous style, and it works beautifully."
A blend of 76% Grenache, 19% Mourvedre, and 5% Counoise, the 2019 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!
Consisting of 53% Grenache, 43% Mourvedre, and 4% Cinsault, this Bandol-inspired Rose is a beauty, featuring aromas and flavors of citrus and stone fruits, highlighted by cherry, watermelon rind, grapefruit, nectarine and peach flavors. The wine has firm balancing acidity and both inviting aromas and a long finish on the palate. The medium bodied frame is layered, textured, balanced and elegant, and the wine will drink well on release or age for 5-7 years. It is a perfect accompaniment to a wide variety of seafood, pasta and fowl and best served at or slightly above cellar temperature.
2017 is the second year of fruit off the hillside planted Grenache at Zotovich Vineyards. Picked in late October, this wine was slow ripening, and as such, shows a lot of depth throughout. A voluptuous nose of raspberry and cream continues to a body of bright red fruit with enough tannin to give the fruit structure. The finish sees the fruit and tanning meld together to create the feeling you just took a bite of fresh raspberry cake. It was aged in 100% neutral French oak puncheons, and only spent 8 months in barrel before bottling to retain its freshness.