2001 Los Robles Viejos Red Wine

Like its predecessor from the 2000 vintage, the '01 Los Robles Viejos Red is surprising experienced wine people who never imagined a California wine that could so successfully pass itself off as a neighborhood wine in a tasting in Chateauneuf du Pape. There are good reasons behind this phenomenon, first and foremost of which is the vineyard itself (see FRUIT SOURCE, below), and, of course, the varieties from which it's comprised. I'll take a little credit, myself, for making the wine the old-fashioned way, turning a deaf ear to the Sirens of HIGH EXTRACT, NEW OAK, and BIG POINTS! The grapes, themselves, seemed to have plenty to say, and I felt compelled to listen.

FRUIT SOURCE: Rozet Vineyard, Paso Robles. Planted in 1998, in limestone soils, roughly a mile west of Highway 101, in the Paso Robles hills. It's hot in Paso in the summertime, with daytime temperatures reaching into the 100"s, yet by mid-afternoon, the westerlies begin to come into play—strong cooling winds racing through the famed "Templeton Gap," and bringing the mercury down overnight into the 50s (and sometimes below). The limestone soil seems to give wines of both firm structure and great finesse. It also lends a "minerally" side to the aroma and taste profiles of the wines grown in it.

The Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Counoise grown at Rozet are farmed with great attention to vine balance and the restriction of yields to maximize the intensity of expression in the fruit.

WINEMAKING NOTES: Grapes destemmed into open-top fermenters, cuvaisons averaging 12-15 days, caps punched down 2-4 times daily. Each lot pressed directly into older French puncheons (averaging 15-20 years age), where malolactic fermentation occurred naturally. Wines left undisturbed until March or April '02 (except for topping barrels), when first racking was undertaken, and blend (49% Mourvèdre, 28% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 8% Counoise) was made. Racked twice more prior to '02 harvest, then into stainless, prior to bottling (May, 2004).

WINEMAKER'S TASTING NOTES: It's a strong, deep, ruby-crimson red, a bit darker than the 2000. There are intense, "sauvage" aromas of raspberry, cherry, roasted plumskin, dried rose-petal, black pepper, smoke and grilled meat, a whiff of lavender, a dash of thyme. Texture is silky; there are flavors of red and black fruits, great spiciness, absolutely perfect balance, and really exceptional length to the finish. Much to recommend it already, but it's clearly well-built for the long haul.



RELEASE DATE: September, 2004

Under the direction of Steve Edmunds, winemaker.