2016 Écluse Ensemble ($48)
This Bordeaux red blend from Écluse in Paso Robles is truly an ensemble of varietals. It’s produced from 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Cab Franc, 15% Petit Verdot, 14% Merlot, 14% Malbec and 7% Carignane. A little bit of everything!
And the result is quite tasty. It has bright red fruit flavors such as cherry but also has hints of pepper, licorice and other spices.
Écluse has masterfully blended this wine to be big in flavor and smooth on the finish.
If you’re passing through Paso Robles on Highway 101, Écluse is just a couple of minutes away and well worth the stop. And, you’re likely to find the warm and friendly owner Steve Lock (Lock is Écluse in French) in the serving room.
This is a really good one! Cheers!
2013 Alexander Valley Vineyards “Cyrus” ($52)
This is a wonderful Bordeaux blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cab Franc, 7% Merlot, 5% Malbec and 4% Petit Verdot.
This wine is named for the founder of Alexander Valley, Cyrus Alexander. And today, Alexander Valley Vineyards (AVV) is located on his original homestead. If you look closely on the hilltop above the AVV wine cave, you’ll see Cyrus’ final resting place.
This is a wonderfully complex blend that’s easy on the palette and really exemplifies the wines of Alexander Valley.
2013 Miner “The Oracle” ($99)
Well, it just doesn’t get much better than this one! This Bordeaux blend is 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Cab Franc, 17% Merlot, 2% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot. And it’s wonderful. From the Stagecoach Vineyard grapes, this blend from Napa is so complex, has multiple depths of character and is just velvet on the finish. A real treat and worth it!
2013 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon ($75)
This is an old dependable Cab from Alexander Valley in Sonoma. You can’t go wrong with this one. It’s oak aging adds to the aromas and deep, rich, complex flavors. And, they have a beautiful new site in Alexander Valley that worth just a visit. This one’s a standard and an easy go-to for an excellent Cab for any occasion.
2016 Lion Tamer Red - The Hess Collection ($45)
This red blend comes from The Hess Collection of wines from Napa Valley.
Hess Family wines was founded by Donald Hess in 1978. Today, Tim Persson (Donald’s son in law) and his wife Sabrina are owners of Hess Family Wine Estates and are the fifth generation of the Hess family to lead the company.
The Lion Tamer is part of a new collection of wines that are not Hess branded. But it certainly represents the tradition and heritage of Hess wines.
This red blend is comprised of 40% Malbec, 27% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Mourvedre, 1% Petite Verdot and 1% Merlot.
While the Lion has been the emblem of the Hess Family for nine generations and the name Lion Tamer has become the nickname for Malbec because of their use of Malbec to ‘tame’ the tannin in their Cabernet Sauvignon wines.
The Malbec certainly does its job in taming this wine. It’s amazingly smooth and full of big juicy dark fruit flavors of black plum, black currant, cassis and boysenberry. This wine is a delight and oh so easy to drink.