Friday, May 17, 2013

Summer Wines From Tower 15 Winery

Tower 15 Winery was launched in 2011 by Tim Perr and Scott Knight, the guys behind the Pinot Noirs of Pali Wine Co.  Having already shown what they can do with the fruit of Santa Barbara County, they let their Lompoc-based Tower 15 line explore grapes from the Westside of Paso Robles.  Winemaker Aaron Walker and consulting winemaker Kenneth Juhasz do great work with the Pali Pinot, and they show their expertise with warmer-climate varieties, too.  The iconic label art for the Tower 15 wines is done by by Santa Monica artist Michael Giliberti.

In the same way that the name for Pali Wines is the nickname of Perr and Knight's hometown, Pacific Palisades, Tower 15's name also comes from nostalgia.  Lifeguard tower 15 - along the Pali coastline - has been a family meeting point through the years, and it serves as the inspiration for the label and is a symbol of friendship and good times.

The Tower 15 Sauvignon Blanc 2012 is made from 100% Paso Robles Sauvignon Blanc grapes.  The wine spends three months in neutral oak barrels and was bottled in February 2013.  Retail price is $18.50.

This is a great summer wine, and it's not bad for spring, either.  Three months in neutral oak lends a bit of weight, while the acidity is really the main attraction here.  Fresh, grassy aromas join tropical pineapple, lime and banana on the nose.  The palate also shows the oak's effect, with gentle spices layering the fruit in the flavor profile.  The brilliant freshness remains a player into the finish.  I also note a slightly frizzante quality, with bubbles clinging to the side of the glass for several minutes.

Sunset Rosé 2012

A salmon-pink blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvèdre from Paso Robles, Sunset rosé spends four months in neutral oak barrels.  It was bottled in February 2013.  The retail price is the same as its sibling, $18.50.

Sunset's nose features wonderful, earthy notes alongside the smells of strawberry, cranberry and melon.  As in the Sauvignon Blanc, the acidity takes center stage on the palate.  It's razor sharp at room temperature and only slightly less when carrying a chill.  There is also some bubbling around the rim, as in the white wine.  Flavor-wise, it's a pretty meaty rosé.  It displays a slightly lighter resemblance to the red grapes used to make it.  There's cherry, raspberry, a hint of cranberry and just a little savory undercurrent.  Pair it with a salad for sure, but make it a tri-tip salad.

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