I really enjoy trying new wines… and when I find something I really like, I want to tell the world. So here goes…
I really like Paso Cabs. I have mentioned Justin previously… as well as Chateau Margene. This Cab is aged in new French oak for 10 months and is made from 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec and Petit Verdot. Robert Parker gave this 90-92 points and will age 10-12 years. And the real magic is that this bottle sells for $25 (available at Total Wine, Bevmo), although Costco sells it for $20. They also have a Reserve Cab that sells for $50 ($45 at Costco). I have not had this, but look forward to trying that at some point.
The winery is situated on a hilltop 2200 feet in elevation and run by the Daou brothers. Daniel and Georges Daou are focused on creating best in class Bordeaux style wines. Daniel is actually the winemaker, while Georges keeps his eye on marketing, branding and growing the business.
These quotes are on the DAOU website and they’re worth publishing them here. “It’s rare to have all the elements needed to achieve perfect balance and ripeness in a terroir. We found all these elements on our mountain and work hard to capture that magic from vineyard to bottle.” – Daniel J. Daou
“Love is the most powerful emotion in life and we hope to enhance it when you visit us at DAOU Mountain. In the end, our story and message is in the bottle.” – Georges Daou
The second wine that I recently discovered is from J Ludlow Vineyard in Santa Ynez Valley (Santa Barbara County). Recently, they were selling the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon at Costco for $18 – called Kemsley 1550. What interested me in this wine is that it is aged 22 months in new French oak and then held in the bottle for another year before putting it on the market. Being a 2008, this has been in the bottle longer than a year. It is actually 80% Cab and 20% Merlot. After sitting in a decanter for a couple of hours, this wine opened up beautifully and had a nice intensity and balance. I communicated with winery General Manager Damien Kriteman that the stock in Costco was running low. With only 275 cases produced, he told me that he hopes to have a new vintage plus a merlot going into Costco soon. In the meantime, their wine can be purchased from the winery or their website – http://www.jludlowvineyard.com.
Jane and Allan Jones own the winery and their tasting room is in Los Olivos. The vineyard is located in the prime area of Happy Canyon at Westerly Stud Farms – originally built in 1966 by Fletcher Jones. From the website – “Jane Jones believes that a dedication to the simple processes and great taste and sheer enjoyment of wine are reasons why the Jones family entered the wine world. This dedication is paying off with a slew of awards in recent years from some of the premiere wine competitions in California.”
Another wine that I found to be an absolute delight was San Simeon Cabernet Sauvignon. This Paso Robles wine sells for $20. Aged in 70% new French & American oak for 24 months, it’s full of cherry and berry flavors. Nice tannins for structure so let this breathe for a bit to really experience the velvety texture. They also make a real nice Chardonnay for $16 from Monterey. For the price, this wine is also a nice value with its ripe tropical fruit flavors and a nice touch of oak and vanilla. It is aged in 75% new French and American oak and does go through some malolactic fermentation – which means you will taste a bit of that wonderful soft buttery flavor. It’s a nice, affordable, highly consumable Chardonnay.
San Simeon wines are actually owned by the same people who own Los Angeles’ oldest working winery – San Antonio Winery. They own Riboli Family Wine, Stella Rosa, Maddalena, Kinderwood, and Windstream, among others. They own vineyards in Monterey, Paso Robles and Napa Valley. I’ve written about their Chardonnay in a previous post.
I know that the wine shelves can often be intimidating and overwhelming. But figure out a price point for your comfort level and ask an employee to help you determine what you think you will like. Or just take a gamble and find something that looks good and pop it open. If it’s something that fancies your taste buds and you feel compelled to tell the world, then reply below and let us know!