Sauvignon Blanc 50% | Viognier 28% | Grenache Blanc 22%
The only white, the 2013 Field Day is a solid blend of 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 28% Viognier and 22% Grenache Blanc that spent 4 monthsin French oak and stainless steel. It offers up pretty, exotic notes of leafy herbs, lavender and citrus rind to go with a medium-bodied, juicy, fresh and lively style. It’s a prefect meal-starter and should be consumed over the coming year. — Wine Advocate, issue #214 aug
Sauvignon Blanc 59% | Viognier 41%
Pale gold. High-pitched citrus and floral aromas are complicated by suggestions of anise and dusty minerals. Fresh, sharply focused Meyer lemon and honeysuckle flavors show good depth, with zesty minerality adding bite. Finishes tangy and dry, with the floral element clinging nicely. — S.T.
Sauvignon Blanc 75% | Viognier 25%
This delicious, complex wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. It draws strength from both varieties, with a clean, minerally feeling and crisp acidity framing lime, kiwi, tropical fruit and peach flavors. — S.H.
Rosé of Tempranillo
This Tempranillo-based pinkie is quite inviting and tightly textured, with aromas of orange shave ice, strawberry cream, watermelon and cement. It is extremely zesty and lively once sipped, offering easy-to-drink raspberry and melon notes. It's great for all sorts of food, from spicy to rich.
Rosé of Tempranillo
Made all from a direct press of Tempranillo, the 2014 Indie Rose from ONX Wines is a sensational, ethereal rosé that gives up tons of peach, strawberry and citrus aromatics. These flow nicely to a medium-bodied, fresh and lively rosé that has both vibrant acidity and solid depth and length. Count me a fan – this is well worth seeking out. I'd drink it over the coming summer months, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it drinking nicely next year either.
Rosé of Tempranillo
Tempranillo is not the most common base for California rosé, but this might change some minds. It veers into the orange spectrum of pink color, and smells like a grapefruit spritzer. On the palate, there’s lemon bar, almond paste, and bubblegum, but any perceived sweetness is wiped away by brisk acidity and a slightly bitter quality too. The layers of flavor are impressive.
Syrah 41% | Mourvedre 32% | Grenache 27%
Description Coming Soon
Bright violet. Pungent aromas of dark berries, cherry pit, peppery spices and woodsmoke, plus a sexy hint of violet pastille. Smooth blackberry and boysenberry flavors show very good depth, appealing sweetness and spicy lift. Closes broad, sappy and very long; slow-building tannins lend shape and grip.
Another outstanding wine is the 2014 Crux, which is a blend of 41% Syrah, 32% Mourvedre and the rest Grenache that saw 16-17 months in a mixture of French oak puncheons and barrels, 35% being new. Giving up notes of spice, kirsch, blackberries, dried herbs and loamy soil characteristics, it has medium-bodied richness, savory tannin, solid mid-palate depth and gushes fruit on the finish. It's a pleasure-bent beauty to drink over the coming 4-6 years.
Syrah 33% | Grenache 33% | Mourvedre 30% | Alicante Bouschet 4%
The 2013 Crux is a smoking blend of close to equal parts Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre, with a splash of Alicante Bouschet in there as well. Aged 17 months in French oak, it offers outstanding notes of black raspberry, currants, licorice, and gamy meats. Medium to full-bodied, balanced, nicely textured and an all around complete, beautifully made wine, it should evolve nicely through 2023.
Bright purple. Pungent aromas of raspberry, candied flowers and smoky minerals carry a bright, spicy overtone. Silky and seamless on the palate, offering very good focus and energy to the red berry, floral pastille and spice cake flavors. Smooth, sweet and lively in style; silky tannins add shape to a long, red-fruit-driven finish.
Syrah 43% | Mourvedre 31% | Grenache 23% | Alicante Bouschet 3%
A step up, the 2012 Crux offers beautiful black raspberry, cassis, licorice, underbrush and hints of leather to go with a medium to full-bodied, supple and seriously textured style on the palate. [...] It has outstanding purity of fruit, solid overall balance and a classy feel. Drink it over the coming 4-5 years or so.
This blend of 43% Syrah, 31% Mourvèdre, 23% Grenache and 3% Alicante Bouschet opens with an elegant and nuanced nose, featuring scents of blackberry crumble, lilac and other purple flowers. The tart, earthy flavors combine black raspberry and vanilla with beet root, black earth and sagebrush. A deep, heady blend.
Paso Robles. 15.2%, 125 cs., 43SR|31MV|23GR|3AB, $45
A nose of dense black cherry, berry and plum accented with notes of salt and licorice. The palate is filled out in a bigger style, with well-polished blackberry, currant and beautiful texture. Notes of sweet pipe tobacco on the finish. Drink 2015 – 2021.
Grenache 51% | Syrah 26% | Mourvedre 16% | Cabernet Sauvignon 7%
This blend is comprised of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cabernet Sauvignon. The GSM combination gives it rich, accessible flavors of cherries, raspberries and red currants, while the Cabernet, at just 7% of the blend, brings dark, brooding fruit notes, as well as depth and tannins. This rich wine combines power with elegance. — S.H.
Syrah 63% | Malbec 21% | Grenache 11% | Petite Sirah 5%
Dark purple. Ripe, dark berries and cherry on the nose, along with hints of violet and cracked pepper that build in the glass. Rich and smoky in character, offering energetic black and blue fruit flavors of good depth and energy. Finishes on a sappy note, featuring good cling and smooth tannins that sneak in late.
Ripe, rich and impressively structured, with huckleberry and smoky cured meat aromas and dense, complex red and blue fruit flavors, accented by hints of crushed rock, licorice and sage. Drink now through 2027.
The 2014 Reckoning checks in as mostly Syrah blended with 21% Malbec, 11% Grenache and 5% Petite Sirah, all of which spent 16-17 months in a mixture of barrels and puncheons (40% new). Notes of blackberries, underbrush, black olive and pepper all emerge from this medium to full-bodied, layered and textured Syrah that has no hard edges, impressive purity and a great finish. It's another terrific wine from Brian Brown to drink through 2024.
Syrah 62% | Petite Sirah 19% | Cabernet Sauvignon 13% | Malbec 6%
The star of the show is the 2013 Reckoning, with is a blend of 62% Syrah, 19% Petite Sirah, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon and a splash of Malbec. The most ripe, voluptuous, seamless and sexy in the lineup, it offers beautiful black raspberry, cassis, roasted herbs and lard notes in its full-bodied, balanced and overall, lively, fresh and irresistible profile. It's already hard to resist and I see no need to delay gratification either.
From Paso’s blending vanguards, this mix of 62% Syrah, 19% Petite Sirah, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon
and 6% Malbec offers an intriguing nose of sesame, soy, cracked pepper, fresh blackberry and
raw beef. There is cedar and toasted pine on the palate as well as smoked meats, black pepper,
teriyaki and an elderberry-blackberry base.
Bright violet color. Ripe blackberry, cherry-cola and potpourri on the intensely perfumed nose. Appealingly sweet, concentrated black and blue fruit and floral pastille flavors put on weight and pick up a smoky nuance with air. Shows very good power and thrust on the gently tannic finish, with the blackberry and cola notes echoing.
Syrah 62% | Petite Sirah 16% | Tempranillo 8% | Grenache 7% | Zinfandel 5% | Malbec 2%
The inky-colored 2012 Reckoning is the star of the lineup [...] this beauty dishes up loads of blueberry, blackberry, spring flowers, licorice and serious minerality to go with a medium to full-bodied, fresh and elegant feel on the palate. The vintage’s purity of fruit is front and center here, and this has a great mix of richness and freshness. It will drink well for 7-8 years.
This mashup of 62% Syrah, 16% Petite Sirah, 8% Tempranillo, 7% Grenache, 5% Zinfandel and 2% Malbec delivers aromas of black cherry and Chinese five spice as well as mint and black earth. The palate picks up blackberry-laced iced tea with sprigs of mint and pinches of cardamom, alongside spicy gingerbread cake.
Glass-staining ruby. Exotic, highly expressive scents of blackberry, mulberry and floral oils, with complicating notes of peppery spices and anise. Supple and expansive on the palate, offering plush black and blue fruit flavors and a touch of smokiness. The floral quality repeats on the gently tannic, very persistent finish.
Red bold and stylish, but still tightly focused, with distinctive aromas of rose petal, smoked meat and dried berry and dense flavors of cracked pepper, plum and licorice. The tannins are big but ripe. Syrah, Petite Sirah, Tempranillo, Grenache, Zinfandel and Malbec. Drink now through 2023.—T.F.
Syrah 64% | Petite Sirah 20% | Zinfandel 8% | Tempranillo 4% | Grenache 4%
There’s a crazy mix of grape varieties in this blend—Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Tempranillo and Grenache—but each grape brings its own unique voice to form a very complex chorus. While any of them, on its own, might be incomplete, the resulting whole is rich, full-bodied, warming and satisfying. The alcohol is admittedly high, but the wine carries it with style. — S.H.
Opaque ruby. Intensely perfumed aromas of blackberry, blueberry, dark chocolate and woodsmoke. The palate displays deep, sweet dark berry flavors and hints of licorice and cola, with slow-building spiciness. The cola and blueberry notes carry through the long, sappy, gently tannic finish, which shows good focus and lift.
A tasty Southern Rhône interpretation, this offers tiers of roasted herb, hot brick, crushed rock and dried berry notes in a tightly knit style. Firmly tannic, maintaining the core flavors throughout. Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Tempranillo and Grenache. Drink now through 2022. 164 cases made. — J.L.
Syrah 79% | Tempranillo 12% | Cabernet Sauvignon 9%
Rich and savory, offering a smooth texture and tight focus that leads to ripe plum, blackberry, beef carpaccio and espresso, with a long, layered finish. Syrah, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2022. 93 cases made. — J.L.
Grenache 45% | Tempranillo 19% | Malbec 18% | Mourvedre 9% | Zinfandel 9%
Another beauty is the 2014 Mad Crush. It's a perfumed, Grenache-dominated blend (there's 19% Tempranillo, 18% Malbec and smaller amounts of Mourvedre and Zinfandel) that exhibits classic notes of kirsch, truffle, olives, spice and sweet black cherries on the nose. Textured, pure, layered and downright sexy, it's a joy to drink, and I see no need to delay gratification either.
Inky purple. A wild, intensely perfumed bouquet evokes primary dark berries, incense and peppery spices. Sweet and expansive on the palate, offering juicy blackberry and blueberry flavors that are sharpened and given lift by a jolt of tangy acidity. Smoothly plays richness off vivacity and finishes sappy and long, displaying a build of spiciness and sneaky tannins that add frame and grip.
Description Coming Soon
Plump and zesty, with floral raspberry and spicy truffle aromas and layered, supple flavors of cherry and spicy cinnamon. Drink now through 2026.
Grenache 43% | Tempranillo 39% | Syrah 9% | Mourvedre 9%
From a winery known for atypical blends, this mix of 43% Grenache, 39% Tempranillo, 9% Syrah and 9% Mourvèdre offers intriguing baked red cherry, rare beef, cinnamon stick and Christmas spices on the nose. The ripe but woody palate starts strong on elderberry fruit before chaparral underbrush and leather elements lead into the finish. —M.K.
Opaque purple. Aromas of ripe dark berries, cola, lavender and peppery spices, with a hint of smokiness in the background. At once juicy and seamless, offering energetic black raspberry and allspice flavors that tighten up on the back half. Fine-grained tannins give structure to a long, sweet finish that echoes the berry and cola notes.
Grenache 72% | Mourvedre 16% | Tempranillo 10% | Alicante Bouschet 2%
Wildly complex aromas show on this blend of 72% Grenache, 16% Mourvèdre, 10% Tempranillo and 2% Alicante Bouschet. Ripe raspberry and eucalyptus run into notes of soy sauce and dried lilac. Flavors lean toward purple fruit and ripe raspberry, with bergamot and pencil lead working their way in as well.
Bright ruby. Sexy, high-pitched aromas of raspberry, Asian spices and fresh flowers, with a licorice nuance adding depth. Sappy and penetrating, offering gently sweet red and dark berry flavors and notes of spicecake and succulent herbs. The licorice quality returns on a sappy and incisive finish that's framed by fine-grained tannins.
Paso Robles, 14.7%, 241 cs., 72GR|16MV|10TO|2AB, $45
Has a well-defined nose of lush red raspberry, strawberry and herb. The palate is a sumptuous, dynamic bright red berry leading to a supple, creamy finish of currant and dark cherry. What’s not to love? Drink 2015 – 2019.
All ONX wines are from their 122-acre Estate vineyard located in the Templeton Gap.
Grenache 65% | Tempranillo 21% | Mourvedre 14%
This is one of ONX’s drier, leaner wines. Blended from Grenache, Tempranillo and Mourvèdre, the raspberry and red currant flavors are grounded with notes of roasted meat, leather and tobacco. It’s a fascinating, elegant wine to drink over the next few years. — S.H.
Grenache 50% | Tempranillo 19% | Cabernet Sauvignon 19% | Syrah 12%
Offers ripe, generous plum and blackberry, with touches of spice and mocha. While this appears soft and easygoing, some muscle is evident underneath. Grenache, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Drink now through 2020. 104 cases made. — J.L.
Tempranillo 61% | Malbec 23% | Mourvedre 14% | Alicante Bouschet 2%
An outstanding wine from winemaker Brian Brown, the 2013 Praetorian is an interesting blend of 61% Tempranillo, 23% Malbec, 14% Mourvedre and the rest Alicante Bouschet. Aged 17 months in French oak, it's loaded with notions of spice, cedar plank, mint and black raspberry and sweet cassis fruit. Pure, balanced, with fine tannin and medium to full-bodied richness, drink it over the coming 7-8 years, although it might last longer.
Concentrated in cherry, spiced plum, cola, milk chocolate and beef jerky notes, this wine is a blend of 61% Tempranillo, 23%, Malbec, 14% Mourvèdre and 2% Alicante Bouschet. Soy, blueberry, black plum and black raspberry entertain the palate, where smoke and pepper round out the nuances. —M.K.
Glass-staining ruby. Exotic, perfumed scents of black raspberry, mulberry and incense, with complicating suggestions of peppery spices and woodsmoke. Supple and lively on the palate, offering sappy red and dark berry flavors that become sweeter with air. The red fruit quality drives a long, spicy finish that's shaped by firm but well-knit tannins.
Tempranillo 55% | Grenache 22% | Mourvedre 14% | Malbec 8% | Alicante Bouschet 1%
Inky ruby. Powerful, deeply pitched aromas of blueberry compote, blackcurrant and dried violet, with a spicy overtone. Lush dark fruit flavors show liqueur-like depth but come off as surprisingly lively thanks to zesty mineral lift and cut on the back half. This appealingly sweet, expansive blend finishes with very good breadth and supple tannins.
This blend [...] is a good example of the intriguing blends made by this winery in the Templeton Gap area. An aroma of smoked game combines with tightly wound graphite and purple fruit scents, followed by a palate that blends cured meats with dried herbs and blackberries.
The nose is a beautifully restrained assemblage of lilac, firm raspberry, lavender and carbon. The palate is delicate, yet firm red and purple fruit. Beautifully poised in its lightness, it finishes with a beguiling mouth-coating texture. Drink 2015 – 2020.
Tempranillo 64% | Malbec 12% | Grenache 12% | Mourvedre 12%
This blend of Tempranillo, Malbec, Grenache and Mourvèdre offers such generosity of fruit, but manages to finish dry and clean. Tannins are grippy in the mouth, but flavors of dried currant, leather and black cherry jam burst through. What a great wine to decant for a few hours and serve up with rich beef dishes. — S.H.
Deep ruby. Smoky raspberry and blackberry aromas are complemented by notes of vanilla, oak and cola. Cherry-cola and sweet chewing tobacco flavors are given clarity and lift by a peppery nuance. This silky, open-knit wine finishes with soft tannins and appealing sweetness and persistence. — S.T.
Tempranillo 42% | Cabernet Sauvignon 30% | Syrah 24% | Grenache 4%
Made from Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Grenache, this lovely wine proves that unusual blends are Paso Robles’s strength. The wine is delicious, with blackberry, cherry, cassis, chocolate, licorice and bacon flavors, wrapped into smooth, gorgeous tannins. High alcohol suggests drinking this wine now for maximum richness. — S.H.
Zinfandel 47% | Malbec 19% | Petite Sirah 17% | Syrah 17%
Offering more spice, toasty notes, cigar wrapper and black raspberry-style fruit, the 2014 Brash (47% Zinfandel, 19% Malbec, 17% Petite Sirah and the rest Syrah) is an outstanding blend that has a sexy, full-bodied, spice-driven and layered style that's hard to resist. Drink it over the coming 4-6 years or so. Winemaker Brian Brown makes a huge number of eclectic blends from Paso Robles, with incredible success.
Zinfandel 70% | Cabernet Sauvignon 25% | Malbec 5%
This blending house adds 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec to boost this Zinfandel-based wine, which shows baked strawberries, blackberry puree, beef char and smoke on the nose. The fruit is tart and black on the palate, with mint and anise notes.
Cabernet Sauvignon 80% | Malbec 20%
Description Coming Soon
Checking in as a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Malbec, the 2014 Caliber is all estate fruit and spent 16 months in roughly 60% new French barrels. Medium to full-bodied, supple, polished and beautifully elegant, it has plenty of blackberry fruit, bay leaf, graphite and cedar aromas and flavors. Like all of winemaker Brian Brown's wines, the texture and tannin quality are impressive.
Petite Sirah 100%
The 2014 Black Orchid (100% Petite Sirah) isn't cheap, yet it has serious levels of ripe fruits, underbrush pepper and sappy herbs, as well as incredible purity and balance on the palate. Possessing a great mid-plate, full body and fine tannin, it will have 15 years or more of longevity.
Opaque purple. Smoke-accented aromas of raspberry and cherry-vanilla show good focus and pick up a spicy nuance with air. Lush and gently sweet, offering fleshy, dark fruit and mocha flavors, accompanied by a refreshingly bitter quality and good back-end thrust. Closes with building tannins and lingering smoke and vanilla notes.
Petite Sirah 100%
Thick and viscous in the glass, this densely loaded wine shows buttery, vanilla-laced French toast on the nose as well as black cherry, blackberry, crushed lavender and marjoram notes. The round palate is relatively tight with elderberry, espresso and black-peppercorn flavors, lifted elegantly by purple flowers.
Petite Sirah 45% | Syrah 33% | Mourvedre 12% | Grenache 10%
The 2014 Level 22 is a seriously good red that's made from an eclectic mix of 45% Petite Sirah, 33% Syrah, 12% Mourvedre and 10% Grenache. Full-bodied, elegant, layered and with fabulous polish to its tannin, it delivers tons of richness in its cassis, tobacco leaf, olive and wild herb aromas and flavors. Aged 18-19 months in French oak puncheons, there are just under 500 cases of this beauty to go around, but it's well worth checking out.
Description Coming Soon
Vivid purple. Smoky, dark berries and a suggestion of incense on the perfumed nose. Sappy blackberry and cherry flavors show very good depth and seamless texture. Closes smooth and sweet, delivering strong persistence and subtle tannins that fold smoothly into the plush fruit.