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2006 Caparone Aglianico

This wine is made from 100% estate Aglianico fruit planted in Paso Robles by father and son Dave and Marc Caparone. This planting has the distinction of being the first North American planting of the variety. This wine is bottled unfiltered and unfined after spending 24 months in small oak barrels. This Aglianico opened with big leather, but not clearly barn-like aromas (perhaps a mix of Brett and long oak exposure?). Floral notes and faint jammy berry aromas followed. In the mouth, this medium-bodied wine was kaleidoscope of berries, leather and oak. The mouthfeel was plush, rich and round with good acids and notably dusty and grippy tannins. This led into a drying finish with some heat and faint fruit dominated by leather. Overnight, bretty aromas seemed to become more sharply defined and were accompanied by some light blackberry. In the mouth, vague berry flavors were accompanied by a horseblanket-like character. The structure kept its form with dusty textures, good acids and some heat. The finish was rather drying but juicy and then hot on the second day. The astringency was tamed by both brisket and BBQ ribs. (13% ABV, 2 bottles tasted, production volume unknown).
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2005 Penman Springs Vineyard Meritage

This is a very pleasantly juicy, reasonably-priced meritage. Cherries overly blackcurrant flavors, while dark chocolate, tobacco, and eucalyptus appear on the mid-palate. Tannins and acids are well balanced, and moderate, and the finish has a pleasant mintiness behind the mixed red and black fruits. Drink with duck.
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2005 Penman Springs Vineyard Meritage

This is a very pleasantly juicy, reasonably-priced meritage. Cherries overly blackcurrant flavors, while dark chocolate, tobacco, and eucalyptus appear on the mid-palate. Tannins and acids are well balanced, and moderate, and the finish has a pleasant mintiness behind the mixed red and black fruits. Drink with duck.
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A Family Winery, From Growers to Empire Via One Guy

Grape growers and winemakers in Paso started trying out a few different wine styles, including Rhône and Bordeaux. This meant, basically, syrah-based wines and cabernet-based wines. Then some mavericks came in and mixed the two, creating cabernet-syrah blends. Traditionalists cringed, but people started trying the wines and found they were pretty darn good.
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Rhone Rangers Tasting at Pier 59 Studios

“In a world of recognizable Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Syrah ends up being a consumer’s third choice,” says Steffanie Anglim. Still a tough sell for wholesalers and restaurants, Syrah tends to sell well in the tasting room, a common observation among wineries. As a former wine bartender, this fact makes sense to me.
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Rhône Rangers: Distinctive California Wines from Old World Varieties

Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the 13th annual Rhône Rangers Grand Tasting in San Francisco, featuring over 500 wines from more than 100 wineries. Rhône Rangers has grown from the original 13 producers to include 200 wineries from California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Michigan, and Virginia. In order to join, a winery must produce at least one Rhône-style wine, comprising a minimum of 75% of one or more of the 22 Rhône grape varieties approved in the Cotes-du-Rhône. Probably the best known of these are syrah, grenache, mourvèdre, and the white threesome of viognier, roussanne, and marsanne.