Browse Tag

paso robles

Carapace & skeleton

Edmunds St. John 2003 “Shell and Bone” Red (Paso Robles) – 13.8%. All shell, no bone. It’s white-hued and brittle, showing almost nothing at this stage, with a very long finish full of the promise of…wait, what’s that? What did it say? It’s not quite audible. If you own this, do not drink it now. I have 100% confidence in its future based on its youth, but its present is a different story. (6/08)

Fur Côtes

[bottle]Tablas Creek 2005 Côtes de Tablas Blanc (Paso Robles) – Lushly aromatic and broad, edging towards fat, yet with a firm enough grip to retain its hold on balance. It’s not exactly riesling, though. The usual stone fruit has mostly given way to nut oils, but it’s an appealing wine nonetheless. (2/08)

zap! pow!

[grapes]Edmunds St. John 2002 “blonk!” (Paso Robles) – Fat and shy, showing about 50% of its potential stone fruit and honeysuckle goodness, and a little more structurally-exposed than I’d like. It’s probably just closed. (1/08)


Ridge 1999 Paso Robles Zinfandel (Paso Robles) – Smoky cedar, thick and slightly hot, with concentrated blackberry cider forming a long, concentrated finish. Somewhat Scotchy, but then that’s not unusual for this bottling, which is a pretty fair effort for one of my least favorite Ridge zins. (1/08)

Tannat’s the night

[label]Tablas Creek 2004 Tannat (Paso Robles) – 92% tannat, 8% cabernet sauvignon. This is my first domestic tannat; the only other examples I’ve tasted have been from France, Uruguay, and New Zealand. And if this is any indication, there’s great potential for this grape, though I can’t imagine the marketing nightmare it might represent. Deep, dark, mysterious, and even a little murky, with enticements of black licorice and blackcurrant, there’s the expected quantity of tannin here, but none of the usual qualities of tannin one expects from this legendarily tannic grape; instead, the structure is leathery, ripe, and…well, lush. It does calcify a bit on the finish, though…tannat fans need not worry overmuch…while the wine veers into an iron-rich, blood-like phase. There’s a touch of heat throughout, but only a touch. Terrific, and obviously quite ageable. (1/08)

Clos call

[label]Tablas Creek 2000 “Clos Blanc” (Paso Robles) – 45% roussanne, 19% viognier, 19% marsanne, and 17% grenache blanc. Definitely showing signs of age, with a buttered caramel, lactic character dominating the nose. The palate, too, has turned to fat without sufficient substance. However, things are not quite so dire once one really works their way into the wine, which shows intense Rainier cherry, strawberry and apricot warmed by the hot Paso Robles sun. And then, things turn strange again, with an angular, somewhat distorted finish. I wouldn’t hold this any longer, if you’ve still got any. (1/08)

Chocolate grenache

[label]Tablas Creek 2005 Grenache Blanc (Paso Robles) – Stone fruit and almond oil with hints of acacia. Crisp apples dominate the midpalate, which brightens and freshens everything before a denser finish of blood orange rind. This is a really nice wine, with more life and vivacity than one might expect from a Rhônish white, and it would appear to have some medium-term aging potential as well. (1/08)

Rouge gallery

[label]Tablas Creek 2004 “Côtes de Tablas” Rouge (Paso Robles) – 64% grenache, 16% syrah, 13% counoise, 7% mourvèdre. This feels a little lighter than previous vintages, but that may just be the influence of aggressive food. Dark fruit and a slim but present structure dominate, with a dusting of fennel pollen and the very slightest edge of volatile acidity hovering atop the aromatics; nothing that anyone not oversensitive (like me) will notice, though. Soft and accessible throughout, though it seems to fill out on the finish. A typically solid, reliable, good-quality effort. (1/08)

Sacré red!

[label]Tablas Creek 2005 Vin de Paille “Sacrérouge” (Paso Robles) – A dried-grape sweet wine made from mourvèdre. And it tastes like…figs! Black Mission figs, to be precise, in an almost uncannily accurate alcoholic form. Vague suggestions of strawberry jam, plum, or even prune are quickly dismissed by the figgy assault, and the wine has the texture of the seedy pulp left over from squeezing fruit as a preliminary step towards producing jelly. It’s relatively balanced and really, really fun. Will it age? Maybe, but I defy anyone to stop drinking it, once they’ve opened a bottle. (1/08)