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 recent release wines — estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc — 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. Both are very good values at their price points and would make enjoyable additions to the dinner table over the holidays and beyond. We offer our tasting notes, below.
Cabernet Sauvignon | 2014
91 Points | “Highly Recommended”
This is a fruit-intense and rather succulent Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced from two Vina Robles estate vineyards in Paso Robles — Huerhuero and Creston Valley. It is vividly aromatic, with notions of blackberry preserve, fig cake, and chocolate ganache on the nose; and richly textured, with senses of brandied fruit, ginseng, and sweet cured tobacco on the palate — all interwoven with hints of dried cherry and graphite over a savory finish. It is dry and full-bodied, with approachable tannins and balanced acidity. The oak is cedary but subtle; it was aged for 20 months in French, American, and Hungarian oak barrels. A 17% ration of Petit Verdot was blended with the Cabernet to lend depth and structure. It is a generous, food-friendly Cabernet that will serve your table with versatility. Pair it with any selection of hearty dishes such as grilled meats, seared duck breast, and holiday roasts.
$26 | 16, 225 Cases Produced | 14.6% ABV
Sauvignon Blanc | 2015
87 Points | “Recommended”
This is a juicy, thirst-quenching Sauvignon Blanc sourced from Vina Robles’ Jardine Vineyard. It is fresh on the nose, with aromas of tropical fruit, sea spray, and wet stone; and lively on the palate, with flavors that suggest grapefruit, lemon verbena, and orange zest — all accented with notions of ginger and coriander over a mouthwatering finish. It is dry and light-bodied, with sprightly acidity. The Sauvignon Blanc was fermented in stainless steel tanks and kept on the lees to enhance mouthfeel. It would serve well as an apéritif with any assortment of fruit and cheeses, and at table with lighter fare — especially seafood, and most particularly shellfish.
$16 | 2,219 Cases Produced | 14.5% ABV
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.