Monday, December 7, 2015

A Chardonnay And Merlot To Hit You Broadside

A few years ago, I saw a Cabernet Sauvignon on a wine list at a Santa Monica wine bar, and I was drawn to order it. I usually don't order a Cab - something a little more adventurous, please - but this one was from Margarita Vineyard in the Paso Robles AVA. The grapes of this vineyard were familiar to me through the wines of Ancient Peaks Winery, so I had to try it. I loved it. It was from a winery called Broadside.

There was a recent virtual tasting event dedicated to a few new vintages of the Broadside line, and those who participated through social media were impressed. The Broadside wines tasted and discussed:

Broadside Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2014 ($20)
Broadside Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($18)
Broadside Margarita Vineyard Merlot 2013 ($22)
Broadside Margarita Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($25)

Broadside Wine is actually Paso power couple Brian and Stephy Terrizzi, who hosted the virtual tasting event. Brian is the minimalist winemaker focusing on varietal purity and vineyard expression. Stephy is the viticulturalist waving the banner for bio-organic viticulture in Paso Robles. Jon Bonné writes that she "has become the area’s great alternative vineyardist." When she is not busy with her Broadside work, she wins over Paso grape growers to the side of organic and sustainable farming and certifications.

Broadside Central Coast Chardonnay Wild Ferment 2014
The grapes for this wine are sourced from San Luis Obispo County. The wine hits a moderate 13.5% abv and retails for $20.

This golden Chardonnay has a muted nose - tropical fruit and apple are just noticeable - while the palate has the fruit more pronounced. Pineapple and pear flavors come through, with a hint of apricot. The fruit profile is quite interesting, and an earthy, savory quality adds complexity. The acidity is nice, but not overwhelming. It's not a fat Chardonnay, but it's not real lean, either.

Pair the Broadside Chardonnay with chicken, potatoes, veggies and cheese in any combination. Salads and fish will definitely work in combination with this wine.

Broadside Paso Robles Merlot, Margarita Vineyard 2013

A little more heft in the Merlot, at 14.4% abv and carries a $22 price tag.

Publicity blurbs don't always tell the true nature of their subjects, but the one for Margarita Vineyard does. "You can feel the presence of the Pacific Ocean here," it says, "both in the sudden chill of the maritime air, and the white, fossilized marine shells that pockmark the limestone soils." This patch of Paso Robles land looks different from other vineyards, and the wines it yields allow us to taste that difference.

The ‘13 Broadside Merlot is so dark that no light gets through. The nose is fabulously deep, with big cassis aromas playing fast and loose with coffee, cocoa, licorice, sage and a puff of campfire smoke. Fruit flavors dominate the palate - blue and black berries, plums and black currants. There is a layer of holiday spice on a layer of chunky minerality wrapped in a lovely acidity and tied up with tannins that are almost as smooth as silk.

You can read about the two Broadside Cabernet Sauvignons we tasted in an upcoming article.


Follow Randy Fuller on Twitter