97 points - new release
Epoch Winery is a phenomenal new label from Paso Robles. Justin Smith of SAXUM is the winemaker - not to be missed while still available.
97 Points Jeb Dunnuck: "Seeing the largest percentage of whole clusters of all the cuvées, the 2014 Authenticity is a blend of 89% Syrah and 11% Mourvèdre that was fermented with close to 40% stems and brought up in 66% new French oak. Its inky color is followed by a huge, unctuous, seriously decadent red that offers notes of blackberries, creme de cassis, barbecue smoke, white chocolate and spring flowers. With a stacked mid-palate and impressive concentration, as well as sensational purity and notable structure, it’s a killer wine. I like it today, but I suspect it will be even better in another year or two. – August, 2017
96 Points Robert Parker: "The 2014 Authenticity Proprietary Red checks in as a Syrah-dominated blend that incorporates 11% Mourvedre, all of which comes from the limestone soils of the estate Paderewski vineyard. It was fermented with close to 40% whole clusters and aged 17 months in 66% new French oak barrels and puncheons. Black fruits, smoked herbs, melted licorice and caramelized meats all emerge from this pedal to the metal, layered, concentrated and perfectly balanced beauty that has everything you could want from a Paso blend. More broad, sexy and expansive than the 2013, with a drink-me-now feel, it should shine right out of the gate."
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."