95 points - limited
Epoch Winery is a phenomenal new label from Paso Robles. Justin Smith of SAXUM is the winemaker - not to be missed while still available.
95 Points Robert Parker: "Another blockbuster, the 2012 Ingenuity Proprietary Red is comprised of 58% Syrah, 18% Mourvedre, 14% Grenache and 10% Petite Sirah that was fermented in concrete and stainless steel before spending 18 months in 40% new French oak. Ripe, voluptuous and textured, with beautifully managed tannic grip, it offers lots of black fruits, smoke, licorice, chocolate and hints of spice on the nose, with some saline minerality on the finish. Coming 80% from the Paderewski vineyard and 20% from Catapult Vineyard, it's a killer Paso red to enjoy over the coming 7-8 years...
...Jordan Fiorentini continues to excel as the winemaker at Epoch, and she now has a brand new, state-of-the-art winemaking facility, located just off York Mountain, to grow into. She continues to experiment with different levels of concrete tank (even some amphora) and larger barrels, and I expect the style here to be tweaked as they settle into the new winery and continue developing new vineyards. The wines showed beautifully and had the expected Paso Robles richness to go with excellent purity of fruit."."
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 2016 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."
Introducing Orin Swift's delicious new red from France: Locations "F"!
F-4 is Orin Swift's French Red Wine made from the finest varietals and locations throughout France. Grenache from the Roussillon, Syrah from the Rhone, and assorted Bordeaux varietals have been sensibly blended in an original style that showcases the best of what this historic land has to offer. They come together to form yet another delicious red blend from this cult producer of The Prisoner red. Try this great new release while it's still available.
Tasting Notes: Opaque with ruby accents, the wine is intensely perfumed with aromas of vivid berry, warm spice, plum, kirsch, lavender and subtle oak nuances. The entry is juicy and penetrating with rich flavors of ripe blackberry, racy currant and blueberry that generously coat the palate. Easy drinking, the finish is long and clean with just the right amount of polished tannins to keep the fruit in focus. Extremely well-balanced, this delicious red is ready to open and drink now.