Medium ruby with a blue-pink glow. Cheery sweet fruit in the nose with a dusty patina hinting at petrichor and sun-baked dirt, but with enough citrus and briar to cloud those into the background. Rich black cherry and green fig pump up the fruit into standard Paso levels, powered along by thick decomposing vegetal and a hint of amaretto. Crisp and gritty in the nose, an elevation somewhat balancing out the chubby berry.

Sharp and focused on the palate, a texture somewhat matching the bouquet, but lightening and brightening an expected Paso density. Chunky structure wastes no time introducing itself, a gloriously bitter backdrop to the streamlined fruit. Oily floral–wilted lily and jasmine–cap and obscure any anticipated Cab-Franc vegetal, the sharp zing of dryness causing teeth-wiping chewiness–but all in a package quite light in the mouth. It doesn’t feel like Merlot, and it doesn’t feel like Cab-Franc, so in that regard I would say the blend is successful. It’s just a fairly medium-bodied red wine, quite delicious to drink, and with intelligent un-polished edges to contemplate. Heat makes an appearance close to the finish, where the cherry continues its soft, lofty sail. Grainy cigar-savory throughout, spent incense and a definite candied herbaceousness muddling the spicy demeanor of what apparently is Merlot.

A wine of juxtapositions: Light and stuffed. Perfumed and streamlined. Smooth and grainy. Bitter and sweet. It would be fun to taste in a decade. Unlike a lot of things I say about Paso, this one just might stand up. Nicely done. Quite BDX-like in texture.

2019 LXV ‘The Tempo’ ME/CF 70/30 Central Coast 14.4


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