Category Archives: Cabernet

PASO ROBLES WINE COUNTRY

Paso Robles is located at, approximately halfway between the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Paso Robles is where the region of Southern California ends. The elevation of Paso Robles ranges from 675 to 1,100 feet (340 m), but the majority of the main downtown area of the city sits at about 740 feet (230 m) above sea level.

The topography of the area consists of gentle rolling hills on the eastern half of the city, and foothill peaks which rise in elevation to the Santa Lucia Coastal Range on the west, which are all blanketed in the Californian chaparral environment, which is mainly dry grassland and oak woodland. Simply “Paso,” as it is referred to by locals, sits on the eastern foothills of the Santa Lucia Coastal Mountain Range, which lies directly to the West of the city, and runs in a North-South direction, starting at Monterey, then runs down South to its terminus, in the San Luis Obispo area. The city is located at the southern end of the fertile Salinas River Valley.  Paso Robles sits at the border where northern San Luis Obispo County and southern Monterey County meet, and is situated roughly 24 miles (39 km), or 20 minutes, inland from the Pacific Ocean.

For a time, Paso Robles was known as the “Almond City” because the local almond growers created the largest concentration of almond orchards in the world.

Paso Robles’ wine industry has a long history within the area. Wine grapes were introduced to the Paso Robles soil in 1797 by the Spanish conquistadors and Franciscan missionaries. Spanish explorer Francisco Cortez envisioned an abundant wine-producing operation and encouraged settlers from Mexico and other parts of California to cultivate the land. The first vineyardists in the area were the Padres of the Mission San Miguel, and their old fermentation vats and grapevine artwork can still be seen at the Mission, north of the city of Paso Robles.

Commercial winemaking was introduced to the Paso Robles region in 1882 when Andrew York, a settler from Indiana, began planting vineyards and established the Ascension Winery at what is now York Mountain Winery.

Following Andrew York’s early success in the wine business, Gerd and Ilsabe Klintworth planted a vineyard in the Geneseo/Linne area in approximately 1886. They were licensed to sell jugs of Zinfandel, Port, and Muscatel, as well as some of the area’s first white wine made from Burger grapes. The Casteel Vineyards in the Willow Creek area were planted just prior to 1908. Casteel wines were stored and aged in a cave cellar. Cuttings from the old vines provided the start for other vineyards, still producing in the area today.

As the popularity of wines began to grow, so did the Paso Robles wine region.  The Templeton Winery was the area’s first to be bonded following the repeal of Prohibition.

The Paso Robles wine region gained more notoriety when Ignace Paderewski, the famous Polish statesman and concert pianist, visited Paso Robles, became enchanted with the area, and purchased 2,000 acres In the early 1920s, he planted Petite Sirah and Zinfandel on his Rancho San Ignacio vineyard in the Adelaide area. Following Prohibition, Paderewski’s wine was made at York Mountain Winery. The wines produced from grapes grown on Rancho San Ignacio went on to become award-winners.  Paso Robles’ reputation as a premier wine region became firmly established as a result of this and later successes.

2015 Bordeaux First Impressions

2015: the dawn of a great vintage

Located on the 45th parallel, the northern limit for the world’s great red wine regions, Bordeaux likes sunny summers to produce great vintages. The months of May, June, and July 2015 were among the hottest and driest on record. Water stress, so important for stopping vegetative growth and starting the ripening process, took place early, in July, and brought on a magnificent véraison (colour change) in early August. I have not seen such an early, even véraison since 2009. All our grapes were red by the 15th of August and many of them were already deeply-­‐colored.

Fortunately, the month of August was less hot and more wet, which gave a certain vigor to the vines.

Drywhitewines

This month of August enabled the grapes, especially the white wine grapes, to “breathe” and retain their freshness. The first grapes were picked at the end August. Their juices were superb and the weather forecast for the next two weeks is looking excellent… We are thus quite confident this will be a great year!!!

Redwines

The Merlot grapes will be harvested the last ten days of September and the Cabernets the first two weeks of October. These are showing magnificent potential, but we still need six weeks without a major disturbance.

Sweet whitewines

The Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes are slowly reaching perfect ripeness. As with every vintage, botrytis will call all the shots, but the conditions conducive to its development are all there.

It has been several years since Bordeaux has seen the dawn of such a beautiful vintage…

There are still a few weeks of suspense left before this promise is fulfilled.

Article by Union des Grand Cru Bordeaux

CONCHA Y TORO GRAND RESERVA

On Febuaray 27th, 2015 I had the opportunity to have lunch with Grand Reserve head wine maker Marcio Ramirez.  Marcio explained the reasons why the Grand Reserve a riverbank series of wines were so special.   Marcio explain that the wines come from 3 very unique rivers beds Rapel, Cachapoal, and Tinguiririca which provides very distinct and different qualities to each wine.  All the Gran Reserva series wines start with the triple Marine Mediterranean advantage.

*  Areas which have a cool breeze close to the coast,

* Areas with a temperature between cold ocean air and warm air current from the valley combine to produce cooling winds.

* Ancient river banks or oil, mineral rich free draining and unfertile.

Marcio has been the wine maker at Concha Y Toro since he graduated from Universidad de Chile in 1997 degree in Oenology, he is a well-traveled and a well educated winemaker spending time in Bordeaux, Napa Valley, Mendoza, Spain St Emilion Pomerol District.   We Tasted through several of the Gran Reserva series.

The Gran Reserva series Sauvignon Blanc 2014, was well rounded on the palate with a long lingering finish.

The Gran Reserva 2013 Chardonnay was golden in color, ripe pineapple fruit, balanced acidity and just a lovely wine.

Gran Reserva 2011 Carmenere displayed a deep ruby color blackberry/ blueberry fruit with a hint of chocolate on the palate, a well structured complex wine.  Also in my opinion the best wine of the luncheon .

The Gran Reserva Malbec 2012 and 13 were deep ruby in color, the fruit comes from the river bed area Tinguiririca which is layered in red clay, I thought it was a very good expression of a very good Malbec.

Last was the Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon  2013 and 14 these wines were very young but the 2014 has signs of being a star because of its complexity and structure, finished with well rounded firm tannin.

 

Contributing editor Alyssa Alvarez, @Tipsygypsea