Epoch Winery is a phenomenal new label from Paso Robles. Limited.
98 Points Jeb Dunnuck: "Along the same lines, the 2017 Syrah Block B is 100% Syrah from the Paderewski Vineyard. It's always a more masculine, powerful Syrah, and the 2017 is no exception. It delivers loads of black fruits, bloody meat, marine-like salinity and minerality, full-bodied richness, sweet tannins, and a blockbuster of a finish. This shows the sexy, ripe style of the vintage, and while it's a joy to drink today, it certainly has a solid decade of life ahead of it."
97 Points Antonio Galloni: "Inky violet. Expansive, spice-accented cassis, cherry liqueur, fruitcake and floral aromas pick up vanilla and smoky bacon nuances with air. Juicy, seamless and energetic in style, offering palate-staining, appealingly sweet black/blue fruit preserve, violet pastille, allspice and mocha flavors that become deeper as the wine opens up. The floral and mineral notes repeat emphatically on an extremely long, juicy finish that features mounting tannins and a touch of bitter chocolate. 27% whole clusters and 71% new oak."
95 Points Robert Parker: "The 2017 Block B is 100% Syrah from the Paderewski vineyard, where grapes are planted on limestone on steep slopes. It was aged 19 months in 71% new French oak barrels and puncheons. It has an opaque ruby-purple color and bursts with aromas of bacon fat, cassis and boysenberry pie with notions of graphite, spearmint and garrigue. The palate is full-bodied and fully fruited with a ripe, pixelated frame, and it finishes long with good freshness and nuance. 479 cases produced."
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."
New York Times: "This red blend is a perpetually excellent value from Bedrock Wine Company which makes a wide variety of terrific, unmanipulated wines from old California vineyards. The array of groups includes zinfandel, carignan, syrah and petite sirah, and vintages are mixed as well, a welcome tactic. The result is an easygoing, lively wine that is delicious and versatile. Too often, inexpensive California reds are inflated with oak flavorings and other enhancements intended to imitate the characteristics of more expensive wines. Not this one, and it makes you think about how good these humble wines could be if other producers would permit them the dignity of authenticity."
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."