Layers upon layers. A riddle wrapped in an enigma. Dense and deft in equal measure. The ever-present tannins of Tempranillo give Praetorian its powerful, steely, unyielding exterior and backbone. But underneath that frame lies an alert awareness and the resilient flesh that form the true heart of the blend. The cuvee begins with the rich aromas of raspberry and pomegranate before giving way to a backdrop of spicy sarsaparilla and Ceylon cinnamon. On the palate, the layers slowly peel back like emerging Russian nesting dolls, showing hints of slate, lavender, and star anise. The body of the blend is both striking and complex, prominently displaying coarse Tempranillo tannins interwoven with the fine-grained tannins of Malbec. 277 cases produced.
The 2012 vintage bore a sharp contrast to the previous two years here at ONX Estate.
After two challenging, cool, frost-laden years, 2012 marked a return to normalcy for
the Central Coast. The winter was cool and provided some much needed water to
the Templeton Gap region (approximately nine inches fell over the winter and spring
months). This gave our vines ample supply to wake up without ever challenging them
with the overnight frosts of previous vintages. Spring and summer were consistently
warm, but not intensely hot. The cooler conditions of October held out and allowed
ample hang time for full flavor development. Our last pick occurred just before Halloween
on October 30th. Overall, the 2012 vintage should mark a return to the full
bodied, richly textured style that is the hallmark of Paso Robles after a much leaner,
acidically driven 2011 vintage.
Fermentation Fermented in a combination of 1 ton open top tanks and ½ ton open
top French oak puncheons following a five day cold soak. Lots were punched-down by
hand 2–3 times daily, with fermentation lasting 7–12 days. Lots were pressed off the
skins after a total of 12–22 days of skin contact time.
Aging 19 months post fermentation in a mixture of French oak puncheons and barriques
(~45% new oak).