Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Ancient Peaks Petit Verdot

Earlier this year I paid a visit to Ancient Peaks Winery in Santa Margarita, California and was given the tour of their property.  The Margarita Vineyard, looked over by the ancient mountain peaks of the Santa Lucia range from which the winery takes its name, is of particular note. 

This sustainably-farmed vineyard has been geologically blessed with five distinct soil types: ancient sea bed, 
sedimentary, shale, volcanic and granitic.  This array of soil composition is credited for giving the grapes within their complex aromas and flavors once they have been vinified.
Ancient Peaks winemaker Michael Sinor says their mission is to let "the soil speak through the grapes, and eventually into thewine."
The '08 Ancient Peaks Petit Verdot is a 100% varietal wine with some heft.  It tips the scales at 15.2% abv,  a number which is not all that high for the Paso Robles AVA.  The grapes are taken largely from the cool Margarita Vineyard with a bit from the warmer Wittstrom Vineyard northwest of Paso Robles.  The wine retails for $35.
On the nose, aromas of cassis show prominently, with the minerality for which the vineyard is known.  Some of that 15.2% shows up at first, too.  The mouthfeel is quite full, with very firm tannins, very dark fruit and strong minerality.  It's delightful to find that, after all that brawn, there’s a light sense of violets on the finish.
Once the bottle has been open for a while, the wine opens up beautifully and takes on a tarry note along with the intense dark fruit and earth.  The tannins remain firm, though.

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