Epoch Winery is a phenomenal new label from Paso Robles. Limited.
98 Points Jeb Dunnuck: "Coming all from a single parcel in the estate Paderewski Vineyard (all Syrah, and clone 174) and raised in 80% new French oak, the 2016 Syrah Block B reveals a saturated purple color as well as a massive bouquet of blackberries, blueberries, bacon fat, graphite, ground pepper, and violets. Deep, rich, and powerful, yet still light on its feet, it's one of the most singular, brilliant Syrahs in the vintage.
97 Points Antonio Galloni: "Youthful purple color. Expansive, deeply perfumed aromas of black and blue fruit preserves, licorice, Moroccan spices, olive paste and potpourri, along with a building suggestion of incense. Stains the palate with densely packed blueberry, cherry-cola, cassis and spicecake flavors that become more energetic as the wine opens up. A violet pastille nuance gains strength with aeration and carries through an extremely long, mineral-accented finish that shows outstanding definition and spicy thrust. (20% whole clusters and 80% new French oak)."
95 Points Robert Parker: "The 100% Syrah 2016 Block B was made with 20% whole cluster and aged 19 months in 80% new French oak. It has a medium to deep ruby-purple color and offers gregarious cassis, olives, fresh violets, cracked peppercorn, bacon fat and chocolate mint with notes of loamy earth, blueberry preserves and red berry sparks. The palate is full-bodied, firm and layered with expertly detailed tannins and juicy freshness to lift the long, dense finish. What a beauty! 438 cases were made.
The proprietors of Epoch, the Armstrong family, have overseen the rebirth of a historic vineyard once owned by the philanthropist and musician, Ignacy Jan Paderewski. This site was dedicated to Zinfandel in the early 1900s. Prohibition put an end to that, but that vineyard is now one of three estate vineyards comprising this 95-acre project. One part of Epoch is near Peachy Canyon, a big chunk of it sits next to the Booker Vineyard, and the rest is on York Mountain. The ambition of the Armstrongs is to produce 100% estate wines, and of the 95 acres, 60 are planted with southern Rhone varietals, and the rest with Tempranillo. Saxum’s Justin Smith, who serves as a consultant, told me that he thinks the micro-climate is slightly warmer than his James Berry vineyard. The first releases, which I tasted, are exceptional, so this looks to be a promising new venture.
A fantastic red from Bedrock winemaker Morgan-Twain Peterson, one of the hottest young winemakers in California.
90 Points Robert Parker "Best Buy": "A Mediterranean blend of Zinfandel, Carignan, Alicante Bouchet, Syrah and assorted mixed blacks fermented with native yeasts and aged in primarily neutral containers (15% in new French oak), it is a California version of a high-class Cotes du Rhone. Lots of berry fruit intermixed with lavender, pepper and meaty black cherry and black currant flavors emerge from this satisfying, round, expansive, generous red. An outstanding, killer value that should provide pleasure over the next 1-2 years. If there is a better value in California wine, I would like to know about it."
....Morgan Twain-Peterson is one of the most impressive young winemakers I have ever met, and it’s not just because he grew up the son of a famous producer. Making wines at this level requires talent, passion, hard work and a great palate, none of which is easily inherited. Along with Mike Officer of Carlisle, Twain-Peterson is on a mission to rediscover what he calls California’s old-vine “heritage” vineyards. These historic sites planted by California’s early immigrants, often home to unknown field blends, remain some of the most fascinating vineyards in California. Officer and Twain-Peterson were tired of seeing these old sites gobbled up by industrial-scale wineries, so they decided to do something about it. Bravo."
An amazing value from the South of France - hurry!
95 Points Decanter: "60% Syrah, 40% Grenache. Lovely rich opulent and floral, black berry and plum nose, the palate is big with well layered fruit, attractively firm but soft tannin and hints of oak, a big wine with a lovely finish. *Gold Medal Winner Decanter Asia Wine Awards.*
Robert Parker: "A blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache, the Cotes du Rhone Saint-Esprit is a screaming value. If offers bold black cherry and blueberry fruit aromas, lively fruit flavors, silky tannins and a crisp, lengthy mocha-tinged finish. Drink this fun, bouncy little wine over the next couple of years."