• SumoMe

The next stop on our virtual tour of California Bordeaux is Paso Robles. The area is gaining more and more attention each year as one of the premier growing regions in the state. The potential for 40-50 degree daily temperature swings along with a wide range of soil types has led to a great deal of quality and diversity among the Bordeaux grape varieties grown there. Thus, individual varietals and Bordeaux-style blends coming out of the region are top-notch.

The wines we rounded up only furthered Paso’s standing in our minds, so we’d highly recommend trying a few bottles from the area. Given what we tasted, there are plenty of great choices for you.

 

Daou 2010 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Grape(s): 77% Cabernet, 12% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 55-60

Review:

Aromas of blackberries and currants meld with suggestions of mocha, all-spice, and violets on the nose. A sip reveals flavors of blackberry, boysenberry, and cherry accented by notes of dark chocolate, oak, and sweet spice. A rich, nicely structured red with layers of complexity, it’s a fine example of how good Paso Cab can be. Enjoy now if you like more body. Lay it down for a few years if you’re after more mellow.

Rating: 91

 

Daou 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

Grape(s): 79% Cabernet, 18% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 25-30

Review:

Notes of blackberries and cherries blend with aromas of leather, sweet spice, and cocoa on the nose. The palate delivers flavors of blackberry, currant, and boysenberry with accents of dark chocolate, barrel spice, and anise. Balanced fruit and tannins make this a very approachable wine.

Rating: 89

Daou 2010 Reserve Seventeen Forty Blend

Grape(s): 67% Cabernet Franc, 33% Merlot

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 55-60

Review:

A bouquet of bramble fruit, plums, clove, and mocha rises up from a glass. Flavors of cherry, blueberry, and plum come together with notes of all-spice, cedar, and dark chocolate on the palate. An elegant, layered wine, fans of smooth Bordeaux blends will enjoy this bottle very much.

Rating: 90

Derby Estates 2007 Implico

Grape(s): 39% Cabernet, 22% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc, 17% Petit Verdot

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 30-35

Review:

Aromas of cherries, blackberries, and plums meld with suggestions of coffee, chocolate, and vanilla on the nose. Flavors of cherry, cassis, and blackberry come together with notes of cedar, anise, and minerals on the palate. A rich, layered Bordeaux-style blend, fans of lush reds with a highlight of minerality will enjoy this bottle. 565 cases produced.

Rating: 91

Hearst Ranch 2010 “Babicora” Malbec

Grape(s): 81% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 25-30

Review:

Aromas of blueberries, black cherries, and raspberry jam combine with suggestions of herbs and earth on the nose. Flavors of blackberry and cherry with accents of sweet spice, earth, and floral notes unfold on the palate. A fairly mellow Malbec, fans of smooth reds with a dark fruit character and slightly earthy accent will enjoy this bottle very much.

Rating: 90

Hearst Ranch 2008 “Lone Tree” Cabernet Franc

Grape(s): 93% Cabernet Franc, 7% Petit Verdot

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 30-35

Review:

Aromatics of cherries and blackberry jam accented by hints of leather and pepper rise up from a glass. The palate delivers flavors of blackberry, cherry, and blueberry along with suggestions of spice, anise, and dark chocolate. A fairly lively wine, with smooth tannins, fans of fruit-driven reds with a nice highlight of spice will enjoy this bottle. Drink now.

Rating: 90

Hunt Cellars 2006 “Unforgettable” Merlot

Grape(s): 100% Merlot

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 40–45

Review:

Aromas of black cherry, currants, and plums meld with suggestions of vanilla and caramel. Cherry, plum, and cassis flavors are accented by chocolate, sweet spice, and coffee. A smooth, layered wine that proves Merlots need not be boring; fans of elegant reds must try this wine.

Rating: 94

Hunt Cellars 2007 Cab-Ovation

Grape(s): Cabernet

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 70-75

Review:

A bouquet of blackberries, cherries, and currants is accented by suggestions of chocolate, oak, vanilla, and sweet spice. A sip unfurls flavors of cassis and blackberry that meld with notes of dark-chocolate, caramel, vanilla, toasty oak, and sweet spice. A wine where rich fruit meets lively, dusty oak, it’s best with food and will age wonderfully. Let it breathe for an hour and enjoy with steak.

Rating: 96

Hunt Cellars 2006 Rhapsody in Red

Grape(s): Cabernet, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 70-75

Review

A captivating nose of cherry, dark chocolate, vanilla, and hint of oak greet you. On the palate, cherry and currants meld with coffee, vanilla, and sweet oak. Excellent depth and balanced tannins make this a very nice wine.

Rating: 94

 

Hunt Cellars 2006 “Opulence” Cabernet Franc

Grape(s): 100% Cabernet Franc

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 65-70

Review

The nose is lovely, with ripe red berries, cocoa, clove, coffee, herbs, and sweet oak combining for a memorable bouquet. On the palate, the wine is light, lush, and approachable, offering flavors of cherry, strawberry-jam, coffee, clove, and a touch of oak. One of the best Cab Francs you are likely to try.

Rating: 95

J & J Cellars 2009 Merlot

Grape(s): 100% Merlot

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 15-20

Review:

Aromas of black cherries and plums meld with suggestions of herbs and spice on the nose. A sip delivers flavors of cherry and plum with accents of oak, cocoa, and fennel seed. Offering enough structure for food, but still light enough to enjoy on its own, fans of balanced Merlots will enjoy this wine. 298 cases were produced.

Rating: 88

J & J Cellars 2010 Estate Cuveee

Grape(s): 80% Cabernet, 9% Malbec, 7% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 15-20

Review:

A bouquet of blackberries, cherries, chocolate, and spice greets the senses. Flavors of black cherry, cassis, and blackberry are accented by hints of dark chocolate, oak, and white pepper. A food-friendly red offering rich fruit and tannins, fans of full-bodied blends should try this bottle.

Rating: 89

J & J Cellars 2009 Malbec

Grape(s): 100% Malbec

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 15-20

Review:

Aromatics of blueberries, cherries, and blackberries come together with notes of leather and spice on the nose. The palate delivers flavors of blueberry and blackberry with accents of pepper and sweet spice. Fairly smooth with supple tannins, fans of dark fruit and an earthy character will enjoy this bottle.

Rating: 88

Justin 2009 Isoceles

Grape(s): 94% Cabernet, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 60-65

Review:

A bouquet of dark fruit, clove, and creamy oak greets the senses. Rich flavors of blackberry, cherry, and cassis unfold into suggestions of dark chocolate, sweet spice, and cedar. Concentrated flavors and supple tannins make for a compelling expression of flavors with a round, syrupy mouthfeel.

Rating: 90

Justin 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

Grape(s): 100% Cabernet

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 20-25

Review:

Aromas of currants, blackberry, and cherry meld with notes of spice, smoky oak, and game on the nose. Flavors of currants, bing cherry, and boysenberry are accented by suggestions of oak, leather, and vanilla on the palate. A smooth wine with mellow tannins, fans of Cabs with a softer character will enjoy this bottle.

Rating: 88

Midnight Cellars 2007 Zenith

Grape(s): 60% Cabernet, 23% Merlot, 17% Petit Verdot

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 60-65

Review:

The nose offers aromas of ripe plum, black cherry, and cassis along with hints of earth. A sip reveals flavors of plum, cherry, and medjool dates accented by dusty earth and oak. A lively blend, with rich tannins, fans of bright, minerally reds will enjoy this wine on its own or it’s ideal to pair with food. Very limited production.

Rating: 90

Midnight Cellars 2007 Mare Nectaris

Grape(s): 50% Cabernet, 16% Merlot, 16% Malbec, 9% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 40-45

Review:

Blackberry and cherry aromas with accents of chocolate, sweet spice, and pie crust can be discovered on the nose. Flavors of blackberries, cherry, and plum meld with notes of clove, vanilla, and minerals on the palate. A smooth red with a highlight of dusty earth, fans of lively blends should try this bottle.

Rating: 90

Midnight Cellars 2008 Estate Merlot

Grape(s): 100% Merlot

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 25-30

Review:

A bouquet of cassis, plums, cherries, and oak greets the senses. The palate delivers flavors of plum, cherry, and raspberry with accents of dusty earth and licorice. A lively Merlot, with an acidity and structure that calls for food, fans of reds with some zip will enjoy this wine. 350 cases produced.

Rating: 88

Midnight Cellars 2009 Nebula Cabernet Sauvignon

Grape(s): 90% Cabernet, 10% Merlot

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 35-40

Review:

Fragrant bramble fruit, earth, and mocha rise up from a glass. With a sip, flavors of blackberry, cassis, and plum merge with notes of chocolate, oak, and minerals. A fairly robust, concentrated Cab it will be enjoyed most with food now or after a bit of aging. 370 cases produced.

Rating: 88

Peachy Caynon 2009 “Ms Behave” Malbec

Grape(s): 75% Malbec, 25% Petite Sirah

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 30-35

Review:

A bouquet of blackberries, boysenberries, earth, and anise rises up from a glass. Flavors of blackberry and dark cherry flow into suggestions of spice, earth, and licorice. A rich, layered red with plush tannins, fans of Malbec will enjoy this bottle very much.

Rating: 90

Peachy Caynon 2009 Para Siempre

Grape(s): 40% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petit Verdot,5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 35-40

Review:

Inviting aromas of cherries, blackberries, and cassis meld with notes of sweet spice and pepper. A sip delivers flavors of blackberry,plum, and cherry accented by suggestions of earth and spice. An approachable, lighter wine, fans of fruit-driven red blends should give this bottle a try.

Rating: 89

Peachy Caynon 2010 “Odd One” Petit Verdot

Grape(s): 100% Petit Verdot

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 40-45

Review:

Aromas of bramble fruit and currants come together with earthy and floral notes. A sip brings forth flavors of blackberry, currants, and cherry accented by suggestions of earth and cocoa. A robust wine, with thick dark fruit and earthy flavors, fans of boldly structured reds will enjoy this bottle.

Rating: 89

Rorbert Hall 2007 Meritage

Grape(s): 50% Cabernet, 30% Cabernet Franc, 14% Petit Verdot 6% Merlot,

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 30-35

Review:

Aromas of blackberries and cherries come together with suggestions of clove and vanilla on the nose. A sip reveals flavors of cherry, blueberry, and plum that are accented by notes of chocolate and oak. A smooth wine, with plush tannins, fans of elegantly styled reds will enjoy this bottle.

Rating: 88

Sculpterra 2008 Maquette

Grape(s): 63% Cabernet, 25% Cabernet Franc, 12% Merlot

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 35-40

Review:

Aromas of bramble fruit, cherry, and plum meld with suggestions of cedar and spice on the nose. A sip reveals flavors of blackberries and cherries pair with accents of leather, earth, and pepper on the palate. A heartier red, fans of lively blends will enjoy this wine. We’d recommend letting it breathe a bit. Less than 200 cases produced.

Rating: 88

Sculpterra 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

Grape(s): 100% Cabernet,

Region: Paso Robles

Price: 30-35

Review:

Aromatics of blackberries, strawberries, and cherries meld with notes of pepper to greet the senses. Flavors of cherry, boysenberry, and plum meld with suggestions cedar, spice, and leather on the palate. A medium-bodied Cab with supple tannins, fans of dark, rich, hearty reds will enjoy this wine.

Rating: 89

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Top photo provided by Ron Bez Photography of Paso Robles.