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."
JEB DUNNUCK 96 POINTS - "The 2017 White is in the same ballpark and reminds me of a top Hermitage Blanc from Michel Chapoutier. Quince, honeysuckle, buttered citrus, marmalade, and white flower notes all flow to a full-bodied, concentrated, yet beautifully balanced white that does everything right. It's that perfect match of richness and freshness, not to mention awesome purity."
JEB DUNNUCK 94+ POINTS - "Coming from a single vineyard in the cooler Bennett Valley (although the site is so unique they don't label this wine as from Bennett Valley), the 2017 The Integral checks in as 62% Syrah and 38% Mourvedre that had the Syrah mostly destemmed and the Mourvedre fermented with 100% whole clusters. Deep purple-hued with notes of smoke blue fruits, bloody minerality, charcoal, and graphite, it's medium to full-bodied, concentrated, backward, and structured. Hide bottles for 4-5 years and it's going to keep for over a decade."
WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - "A light-footed bruiser, opening with boldly expressive blackberry jam aromas before revealing a structured core wrapped in compelling currant, licorice and smoky beef flavors. Syrah and Mourvedre. Best from 2021 through 2028. 422 cases made."
JEB DUNNUCK 93 POINTS - "Mostly Mourvedre from deep loam and clay soils, it offers tons of smoked dark fruits, licorice, olive, and plenty of meatiness to go with a ripe, textured, sexy style on the palate. It has plenty of tannins and it certainly offers pleasure today, but 2-3 years of bottle age are going to be your friend."
WINE SPECTATOR 92 POINTS - "Refines and tames a gutsy personality, bringing polish to expressive blackberry, wild game and smoked pepper flavors that build toward broad-shouldered tannins. Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Carignane, Alicante Bouschet and Peloursin. Best from 2021 through 2028. 308 cases made."
While many 2017s were picked earlier than their 2016 counterparts, this was one of the few exceptions where Carlisle picked later, despite lower yields. Twenty percent of the fruit was not destemmed to add structure and aromatics. After a five-day cold soak, the wine was fermented with two yeast strains that emphasize varietal character and mouthfeel. Twenty-five days on the skin. Pressed to all French oak, 24% new, and bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Tasting Note: Dark purple-ruby. A floral top note provided by the whole cluster complements aromas of macerated blackberries and roasted meat. Medium-full to full-bodied. While whole cluster can often add additional tannin to a wine, here it seems to have made the wine smoother, more harmonious. With exceptional balance, this wine will have a wide window of enjoyment.
ANTONIO GALLONI 92-95 POINTS - "The 2017 Syrah Papa's Block is dense, powerful and explosive. Blackberry jam, lavender, spice, menthol and game infuse the 2017 with tremendous character. The 20% whole stems add aromatic nuance, but are not especially apparent. Inky and deep, yet also quite nuanced, the Papa's is wonderfully complete, not to mention one of the highlights in this vast range of 2017s from Carlisle and Mike Officer."
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.
Just like the flavorful and refreshing Rieslings grown in Germany, these grapes are grown on steep cliffs, next to a river (in this case, the Columbia River). A cooler site due to river influence, the soils are composed of fragmented basalt, gravel, silt, and caliche deposited during ice age floods. This site produces fruit with sublime mineral character and the acid balance that winemakers dream of. Aromatic, smooth, vibrant and tasty, this gem shows tangerine, pineapple, wet stone, key lime, clove and nectarine. This Kung Fu Girl kicks some serious butt for the money!
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.
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The 2016 Chronology Red is a blend of 30% Petite Sirah, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Grenache, 12% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, 5% Mission, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec and 1% Merlot aged in 14% new French and American oak. Deep garnet-purple colored, it has intense scents of cassis, warm plums, black cherries and violets with hints of black pepper and tilled earth. Full-bodied, rich and velvety, it has a refreshing line and long earth-laced finish. 2,509 cases produced."
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."
Seven is Dragonette's Syrah-based blend, originally named for the seven exceptional cool climate vineyard sites from which it was comprised. They have refined their vineyard sources for this wine over the years, selecting precise blocks and clones to increase aromatic and flavor complexity, rather than sheer fruit power. The 2016 Seven is comprised of 89% Syrah, 10% Grenache and 1% Viognier. The wine is sourced from John Sebastiano Vineyard, Stolpman Vineyard, Larner Vineyard, Kimsey, and Spear. The wine was aged in French oak barrels and puncheons (10% new) for 18 months before blending and bottling.
We are thrilled with the performance of this wine, as it is already beginning to show off explosive, complex aromatics (red, blue and black fruits, spices and meats), a rich, yet lifted palate, smooth texture and a scintillatingly long finish for such a young wine. We expect this wine to continue to develop over the coming years and to last for well over a decade.
JEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS - "There are three Syrahs from Smith. His 2017 Syrah Wild Mountainside comes from a handful of sites in the Russian River and spent 15 months in a mix of one-third new French oak, 20% amphora, and the balance in used barrels. This rocking effort offers classic cool-climate notes of blue fruits, violets, ground pepper, and game. With medium to full body, beautiful tannins, and a seamless texture, it's going to keep for over a decade."
ANTONIO GALLONI 90 POINTS - "Fess Parker's 2017 Syrah (Santa Barbara County) is powerful and bold, with expressive savory and peppery notes that add striking shades of complexity. This is an especially rich, racy style. A touch of sweetness from American oak is a lovely accent to ripe dark cherry, plum, chocolate, licorice and grilled herb flavors."
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 best values in California's Central Coast! This bottling of Grenache Blanc comes from a variety of vineyards in Paso Robles to increase complexity.
white peach skin, river rock minerality, lychee, quince, green tea,
citrus hard candy, lemongrass
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!
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.
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."