Impenetrable black, with a hint of garnet at the rim. Huge concentrated nose, thick on creamy, rich peppery oak, and carrying dusky berry far into Grand Reserva territory. Raisin and prune play on heady alcohol, with waves of thick black cherry concentrate coming off the top and inundating the entire bouquet. It’s a leathery, greasy-black wine, definitely ripe, and plying monstrous arenas.
In the mouth, thick, placcid Paso concentration is again the name of the game. It enters block-buster massive, clogging every pore with roasted berry puree. Things run their respective directions over the middle: the fruit taking on pomegranate acridness; the cherry blossoming into sharp pie filling; acid bolstering the oak and tannin starting to clang un-ignorably. The oak goes briar-and-earth, its fingers prodding the delirious fruit from below while licking it in the front. This is a GIGANTIC wine on one hand bowing to the *bigger-is-better* Paso crowd and at the same time–if you think deeper–claiming individuality in varietal-context on the next level. I think this wine is relying far more on finesse than out-right bamboozlement. I don’t think it is much over 14-oh. But we’ll see.
This is not Crianza or Rioja Reserva. This takes Tempranillo into areas only the grandest estates put into their supreme bottles. Shockingly tannic, although considerable heat in the finish, black pepper and black walnut and black cherry and black oblivion rule the day here. And yet: there’s an old-worldy sort of funky nuance invading the California tendencies. There’s literally no describing this wine on the palate. The concentration of flavors DEFY the best of Iberia and do NOT necessarily depend on new world sunshine–as is so often accused–to get their point across.
Edna Valley slightly to the south is already becoming the Albarino capitol of California; could Paso Robles become a Tempranillo place-mark??? I don’t see any reason to vote against it.
2018 CIRCLE B VINEYARD Tempranillo ‘Reserve’ Paso Robles 13.4