Vina Robles founder/proprietor Hans Nef and Managing Partner Hans — R. Michel, both natives of Switzerland, operate their Paso Robles winery according to one essential maxim: “European Inspiration — California Character.” Two of their current-release red wines — crafted by winemaker Kevin Willenborg — provide a revealing — and pleasing — taste of how Vina Robles straddles the line, ever so deftly, between Old World and New World sensibilities. We offer our tasting notes, below.
Vina Robles Petite Sirah | 2012
93 Points | Highly Recommended
The 2012 Petite Sirah, sourced from three estate vineyards, strikes a keen balance between dense, ripe fruit and earthy minerality. It is vividly aromatic, with suggestions of dried blueberry, coffee bean, and baking spice on the nose; and on the palate, notions of brandied fruit, ripe black cherry, and dark chocolate covered blueberry — all accented with hints of bacon and roasted vanilla bean over a savory finish. The wine is dry and full-bodied, with moderate tannins and acidity framed by cedary oak; it aged for 20 months in mostly French oak barrels. At once deeply concentrated and elegant on the palate, this is a Petite Sirah with considerable depth and nuance — indeed, a profound expression of the variety.
| $29 | 3,001 Cases Produced | 14.3% ABV |
Vina Robles Cabernet Sauvignon | 2013
91 Points | Highly Recommended
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon consists of 80%
Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Petit Verdot sourced from two estate vineyards. This is an aromatic, unapologetically herbaceous Cabernet (not underripe or “green”), with seductive aromas of Crème de cassis, black tea leaf, and peppery oak, followed by extracted flavors of blackberry, red grapefruit zest, and dried herbs — all laced with notions of sweet cured tobacco and wood smoke. The wine is dry and full-bodied, with firm tannins and moderate acidity framed by toasty oak; it aged for 20 months in mostly French oak barrels. It is young, firm, and a little edgy right now, but enjoyable with an hour’s (or longer) decant; and it promises to yield greater rewards in several years’ time. This Cabernet offers much character and refinement for the modest price.
| $24 | 13,682 Cases Produced | 14.6% ABV |
Food Pairing: We suggest serving both the Petite Sirah and the Cabernet Sauvignon with sharp cheeses, charcuterie, grilled or braised meats and vegetables, savory winter stews and casseroles, dark chocolate, and other hearty fare.
Availability: Vina Robles is a large producer and distributes its wines nationwide. Ask your favorite wine merchant about local availability, or visit Vina Robles virtually at www.vinarobles.com to order online if direct shipping is available in your area. If you find yourself in Paso Robles, visit the Vina Robles tasting room located at 3700 Mill Road.