Late August of 2018, I flew over to southern France for an extensive course with Entav. Entav is the French government entity we work with to import the best plant material from the Old World. Think of it like a dog with the finest pedigree. We can trace these grapevines in California back to one original plant in France. As part of this program, we also worked with the agricultural extension departments in the south to see what work was being done to improve plant material and viticulture regionally. I had a life-changing day in the northern Rhone Valley. We spent the day on the flats in Crozes Hermitage. The main grape grown there is Syrah, but not the type of Syrah we typically see in Paso Robles. These wines are elegant and have a ton of finesse. Just the right amount of savory flavors complemented by dark fruits.
I came home wanting to make this type of wine. I made some phone calls to folks I think have dirt suitable to make this wine, and got lucky — I was able to get a few tons from these specific small plots. The winner of the trial was Zabala. The Zabala family had one of the original Spanish land grants in southern Monterey County. The property makes up the eastern end of the Arroyo Seco. The rockiest vineyard that I know of in California. We can’t even plant vines here with shovels, digging bars only. We selected the best 6 barrels to showcase this special site that matched our concept perfectly.
Plums, Game, White Pepper, Tapenade