I visited a winery in Paso Robles last weekend which will change your opinion of tasting wine in Paso Robles. Well… let’s clarify: If you’re into the bling of downtown, the pristine sidewalks of Tin City, the carnival atmosphere surrounding most out-of-town destinations, this will be a big disappointment. But if you–like me–long for a quieter time, a visit with the wine-maker, an un-cluttered experience up in the hills, on a dirt road, with no flat-brims, no art, no live music, no catered sit-down tastings, no club-pressure–JUST THE WINE–this is the place. I know this is not a popular opinion these days, but for me, it represents EXACTLY what I am looking for–and the scarcity of spots like this why I rarely go wine-tasting anymore. And the best part? The wines are good.
Glorious dark clear ruby out to the pinkish rim, with careful sediment beginning to evolve. Rich cab beauty fills the nose, blended with briar and woodsy scents, a deep mineral craving packing all corners. Oak an angel’s kiss on blackberry, black cherry and black walnut–everything thick and wondrous to smell–all without touristy sluttiness.
Grainy, dusky fruit on the palate, ethereally balanced with lightness of concentration but depth of spirit. A shrill acidic streak brings harsh briar to the fore-front, but nothing to scare away even the most-timid of modern red wine drinkers. Pitch-perfect pine-pitch, chaparral and manzanita bring the whole hill-side sourcing of fruit together, with more oak-leaves than oak-staves apparent. Being a meritage, blending has smoothed cabby brashness, but plenty of it remains for ages in the cellar. Dirty leather–saline-stained and earthy–bring base-lines full-circle, causing a finish so smooth you have to LOOK for tannin. This is the way wine is supposed to be made, causing visions of St. Helena and Calistoga in the 80’s and Sonoma in the 90’s.
2018 DUNNING VINEYARDS ‘Meritage’ Cab/ME/CF 70/20/10 Willow Creek Dist. Paso Robles 14.5