Cabs of Distinction 2015, Part Deux
So part 2 of the Cabs of Distinction is all about the winery open houses. Unfortunately I was on a bit of a time limit so I only had an opportunity to attend 2 of the many open houses that day. The two I picked were Adelaida and Daou both established, well-respected wineries and supportive neighbors of each other. The age difference however is vast, with Adelaida having been started 34 years ago after having purchased their 50-year-old HMR vineyard from Doc Hoffman, one of the original pioneers of Paso. The Daou’s on the other hand, purchased and established their winery located atop Hidden Mountain Ranch and also including a part of the HMR vineyards in 2007. Since the winery’s inception, brothers Daniel and Georges have quickly made a name for themselves.
I initially met up with the Adelaida group at the tasting room, where they are in the process of building a brand new winery facility and tasting room. Since I was heading over to Daou after the Adelaida tour, while everyone was still being wrangled I headed over and parked my car at Daou, where the Adelaida shuttle bus kindly picked me up. We went out into the vineyards and took a wonderful tour where we got to see how the vines are affected by the different types of soil and how certain varietals do better in some soils than others.
The soil in the vineyards are made up of chalk, rock, and limestone. After driving around the property we made our way to the top of the upper Viking vineyard where we got out of the shuttle, and walked up to a little spot under a tree with a bench and rows upon rows of Cabernet Franc vines with blooming baby grapes. Everyone was excited and fawning over the tiny clusters in anticipation of the great wines to come. While we were up there looking out over the incredible vista they brought out some wines to try. The day was particularly blustery and a bit chilly. Since we were tasting several wines, the big challenge was to avoid spitting into the wind which kept changing direction; needless to say there were a couple mishaps and a lot of laughter as a result. The topper of the tasting was a 1995 Adelaida Cabernet Sauvignon Glenn (the winery librarian), pulled out of the library.
I was dropped back off at Daou, and went in for the tasting led by Daniel. I was a bit early since they were still on their vineyard tour. I was welcomed with a glass of Daou’s 2013 Chemin de Fleurs a lovely blend of 55% Grenache Blanc, 26% Viognier, and 9% Roussanne, and directed by Georges Daou into the private events room. On a sideboard there were fruit and cheese platters with crostini, and the dining table was set up for the tasting. Daniel and the rest of the group came in moments later and we all sat around the table where Daniel held court and while we tasted, talked about each of the wines. He brought out a secret stash of his own personal Sauvignon Blanc made from 2-year-old 376 clone vines, of which he only has an acre planted. We moved on to the 2013 Reserve Chardonnay that spent 10 months in 50% new French oak. I really enjoyed this wine it was easy drinking, very balanced, with a creamy texture and round mouth feel.
Right about the middle of the tasting Daniel paused his presentation, and had the chef bring out a special treat…a Jamon Serrano that he’d imported from Spain. This dried, and cured ham was just divine with the cheese and various wines we were imbibing.
Next we went on to the reds. First was the 2013 Unbound which I really enjoyed, it’s a fun, deep and complex blend of 74% Petite Sirah, 21% Tannat and 5% Tempernillo that spent 16 months in 40% new French oak. It is very aromatic along with being lush and easy to drink. The 2012 Reserve 1740 is named for the year stamped on the bell that is hanging in the bell tower, at the entrance to the winery. This red wine is definitely on the lighter side, it’s a blend of all estate wine; 70% Cabernet Franc and 30% Merlot that spent 16 months in 70% new French oak. We moved on to the 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon described by Daniel as the “work horse” wine and is the one most sold for the winery. It spends 19 months in 80% new French oak, the medium tannins and acidity add to the character of the wine. Finally, Daniel brought out the barrel sample of the 2014 Soul of the Lion that we had tasted the day before. Once the tasting was done even though we were told that lunch was not being served, the chef surprised us all and brought out a lovely lunch of Salmon, shrimp and asparagus.
These two wineries are a blend of consummate, established Paso history meets the superlative new guys. Both are producing remarkable wines that incorporate the unique characteristics of the land and the winemakers’ passion.
There were more outstanding events at the other wineries, such as exploring the soils, zip lining and then wine tasting at Ancient Peaks; a Power of blending seminar and lunch at J. Lohr; and bench blends of their 2013 Bordeaux blend and Reserve Cab at Brecon Estate. Since unfortunately I couldn’t stay the whole day, I was unable to attend the afternoon sessions like a round table discussion with Gary Eberle at Eberle Winery; an in-depth tour and library tasting at Le Cuvier; and an overview seminar on the 11 Sub-AVAs, and a four district tasting comparing 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Verdot from the Vina Robles estate vineyards. Needless to say these are all singular event opportunities that just add to the entire experience of the Cab Collective and just goes on to further explain why I enjoy this event so much.
One not only drinks the wine, one smells it, observes it, tastes it, sips it and–one talks about it.
~King Edward VII
Great upcoming events: 6/27/15 Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival; 7/10-12/15 7 Sisters Fest; 7/10/15 Central Coast Wine Classic; 7/17-19/15 Bacon and Barrels; 8/15/15 Winemakers’ Cookoff; 8/15/15 Mac and Cheese Fest; 9/12-13/15 Avocado and Margarita Fest; 9/19-20/15 Beaverstock; 9/24-27/15 Savor the Central Coast; 10/2-4/15 BubblyFest; 10/3/15 Morro Bay Harbor Festival; 10/16-18/15 Harvest Wine Weekend; 10/17-19/15 Pismo Clam Fest; 11/6-8/15 SLOwine Harvest on the Coast