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John Barker’s family tradition of growing grapes in California (since the 1800’s) and his wife Jill’s Italian heritage blend together perfectly as owners of August Ridge Vineyards. They specialize in (very) small production wines, crafted with Italian grape varieties grown on their farm just east of Paso Robles.  That combination of passion, tradition, and limited quantities helps craft some outstanding wines.

August Ridge 2014 Sangiovese

Grape(s): 100%Sangiovese

Region: Paso Robles, Ca

Price: 30-35

Tasting Notes:

Alluring aromas of cherries, strawberries, clove, and earth greet the senses. Bright red berries come forth on the palate, accented by baking spice and earth. Light and bright, it will pairing nicely with a thin crust veggie pizza. 189 cases produced.

Rating: 90

August Ridge 2014 Barbera

Grape(s): 86% Barbera & 14% Nebbiolo

Region: Paso Robles, Ca

Price: 25-30

Tasting Notes:

Cherries and plums combine with elements of spice, licorice, and minerals on the nose. The palate reveals flavors of bing cherry, raspberry, and plum that interweave among suggestions of white pepper, licorice, and earth. A lively red with soft tannins, a pasta with Italian sausage would be a lovely companion. 158 cases were made.

Rating: 89

August Ridge 2014 “Jovial” Blend

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

Region: Paso Robles, Ca

Price: 55-60

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, lots of plums, red currants, and bing cherries play with expressions of earth and clove. Volumes of dark fruit, mainly cherry and plum, form a nice core that evolves into hints of smoke, sweet spice, and earth on the palate. The wine’s lush fruit is framed nicely by polished tannins, making a creamy or meaty tomato sauce an ideal pairing. Only 81 cases produced.

Rating: 91

August Ridge 2012 “Ingenious” Blend

Grape(s): 69% Nebbiolo, 21% Merlot, & 10% Cabernet

Region: Paso Robles, Ca

Price: 50-55

Tasting Notes:

One is greeted by dried cherries, plums, floral earth, and spice on the nose. Nicely structured, the wine delivers flavors of cherry, boysenberry, and plum that flow into elements of white pepper, rose petal, and smoke on the palate. A lovely balance of fruity and savory, osso bucco would make a ideal pairing. Just 66 cases were made.

Rating: 91

August Ridge 2013 Nebbiolo

Grape(s): 100% Nebbiolo

Region: Paso Robles, Ca

Price: 30-35

Tasting Notes:

An intriguing mix of dried cherries, rose petal, leather, and spice comes up on the nose. The palate offers flavors of cherry and dark raspberry, which harmonize among suggestions of white pepper, earth, and roses. Balanced tannins and a nice acidity make this a ideal wine to pair with food. A roast pork shoulder would do. 95 cases produced.

Rating: 92