Courtesy of Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance
We debut Tasting Notes this month with award-winning Chef Mark Tarbell whose passionate pursuit of the next great wine knows no limit.
Napa Valley is beloved and produces some of the best wines. The wineries are producing the dominant wine style in America’s red wine, which have changed in nuanced ways over the past three decades. There are still many different approaches to the crafting of the style that ends up in the bottle. The center of everyone’s target is a dark, thick, deep red fruit-forward style with underlying soft tannin and structure.
Courtesy of Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance
The center of everyone’s target is a dark, thick, deep red fruit-forward style with underlying soft tannin and structure.
The Paso Robles wine region in Southern California has the ability to produce wines of many different styles and with an exciting variety of grapes. It also is an area that can achieve the same lushness and depth of the great Napa reds. It’s long been the one to watch in the California wine world. Napa, watch out!
Here is a yummy sampling of what’s out there.
CAYMUS VINEYARDS CABERNET SAUVIGNON, NAPA VALLEY 2018
$99.99 to $129.99
Caymus is the standard-bearer for great and classic Napa Cabernet. It’s filled with rich black fruit, velvety tannins and cacao. The Wagner family has been a staple in Napa Valley for decades. Chuck Wagner, owner and winemaker, continues to make Cabernet Sauvignons with great integrity that are approachable and delicious in their youth, as well as age-able. His ability to make wine so approachable in its youth enables many people to enjoy a true expression of Napa Valley’s famed Cabernet Sauvignon.
His approach is to make approachable Cabernets that sing true of their terroir, focusing on its complexity, structure and balance.
QUILT CABERNET SAUVIGNON, NAPA VALLEY 2017
$34.99 to $39.99
Quilt wine is thee “value” Napa Cab made by Chuck Wagner’s son Joey in his own winery. This wine has blackberries, cacao, vanilla, rhubarb, chocolate brownie and oak spices. Joe Wagner, son of Chuck Wagner, is a fifth-generation winemaker and a native to Napa Valley. After learning from his dad, Joe decided to start his own winery. His approach is to make approachable Cabernets that sing true of their terroir, focusing on its complexity, structure and balance.
ZD WINES RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015
$284.99 to $325.99
This wine has sweet, toasty vanilla, anise, violet, blackberry and plum. ZD Wines was founded in 1969 and continues to be operated by the deLeuze family. They are dedicated to making world-class wine with gracious hospitality that strives to express their values in their business as well as the community.
MIRA STAGS LEAP NAPA, CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013
Price: $65.99 to $74.99
This wine has plum, coffee beans, sweet cacao and anise. Mira strives to make all-natural, terroir-driven, hand crafted wines that express the grapes in the best way possible. Their technique allows for an approachable wine that simultaneously has the ability to age with the best of wines.
LARKMEAD VINEYARDS FIREBELLE RED, NAPA VALLEY 2014
$169.99 to $174.99
This wine has red fruit, spices, clove, blackberry and a touch of sassafras. Larkmead is one of the oldest family-owned wineries in Napa Valley. It was originally founded in 1895, and although it has changed ownership, it continues to enlighten the world on how remarkable Napa Cabernet is.
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Robert Craig Winery
ROBERT CRAIG WINERY SPRING MOUNTAIN DISTRICT CABERNET SAUVIGNON, NAPA VALLEY 2014
$74.99 to $84.99
This wine has deep black and blue fruits, balanced oak spices and vanilla. Robert Craig was founded by Bob Craig during the 1990s and has been an influence in Napa Valley ever since. Bob’s passion for mountain fruit resolved in him spearheading the official recognition of both the Spring Mountain District and Mount Veeder AVAs, for which we are truly thankful today. Although Bob is now retired, Robert Craig winery is continuing to flourish and make exquisite wines.
L’AVENTURE ESTATE CUVEE, PASO ROBLES 2016
$139.99 to $149.99
This wine has dusty tannins, blue and black fruits, pipe tobacco and black cherries. Stephan Asseo, a French winemaker, made his way to Paso Robles in 1998 and founded L’Aventure. He studied winemaking in Burgundy before his family purchased its first estate in Bordeaux—Domaine de Courteillac. Stephan saw opportunities in the U.S. and decided to take his expertise to Paso Robles where the terroir and climate greatly impressed him.
Mark Tarbell is an award-winning chef and owner of Tarbell’s since 1994, along with The Tavern, The Wine Store, and Tarbell’s Catering. He is the Emmy-award-winning host of the PBS show “Plate and Pour” and an Iron Chef America Winner. He was nominated Best Chef Southwest by the James Beard Foundation and Food & Wine magazine named Tarbell’s Best Restaurant. Tarbell studied in Paris at the Ecole du Cuisine La Varenne where he earned a Grande Diplôme d’Etude Culinaire. While in Paris, he also studied wine at Steven Spurrier’s l’Academie du Vin. In addition to being an expert and irreverent food and wine personality, he is extraordinarily charitable in his community, and we look forward to his Tasting Notes on iconiclife.com monthly.