We played a game the other day in the Pulchella Tasting Room. Winemaker Steve Lemley removed his tasting notes and we spent nearly two hours talking winemaking practices, the effects of the past 2010 and 2011 cold Paso years and that these wines we were to taste were from the “2012 No Excuses” vintage – Steve dubbed the new releases this way because after five years Steve, along with co-owner and co-winemaker Nate Hasper, had the warmer weather they wanted, grown personal relationships with the growers and were enjoying the “fruits” of their long-term contracts with farms.
Aroma: Crushed cherries, Jordan almonds, vanilla, unmasked oak and menthol cigarette.
Taste: Cherry, dark plums on the back palate, peppermint, Grenache stands out, tingly finish.
2012 “ILLUSIONIST” GRENACHE: Paso Robles
100% La Vista Vineyard (Westside). 91 percent Grenache / 9 percent Syrah. 16% alcohol.
Aroma: Hello chocolate! Followed by bursting raspberry, wild flowers, shelled almonds, Almond Joy candy bar.
Taste: Raspberry chocolate mousse with a kick, a drying palate, soft tannings, will change your mind about Grenache if you are not a fan.
2012 “highs & lows” blend: Paso Robles
100% La Vista Vineyard (Westside). 33 percent Grenache / 67 percent Syrah. 15.9% alcohol.
Aroma: Sweet black cherry, local plum jam, campfire smoke, wet earth.
Taste: Palate drying, intense, medium toast oak barrels would be my guess, chewy, condensed fruit.
2012 “Relentless” Syrah: Paso Robles
100% Rancho De Volidores Vineyard (Westside) Syrah. 16.2% alcohol.
Aroma: Red to blue concentrated fruits, smoky, leather, sticky cotton candy – if you could make a fresh cut bouquet with big plump grapes it would smell like this wine.
Taste: Tangy, tannic, smoke, berries, they’re all there. I would lay this one down or serve with food if I wanted it now.
2012 “distinguished” Cabernet Sauvignon: Paso Robles
100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from Halter Ranch Vineyard. 15.2% alcohol.
Aroma: Juicy blackberry, chocolate-covered marshmallows, felled tree, cool linen sheets, black currant and cloves.
Taste: Red cherry, youthful, zingy mouthfeel. Reminded me of a Chianti and I would serve with pasta in a marinara sauce.
wine club members ONLY 2012 “GRIFTER 25” reserve PETITE SIRAH: Paso Robles
Gorgio Vineyard. 100% Petite Sirah. 16.3% alcohol.
Aroma: Milk chocolate shavings, sugar plums, smooth and velvety.
Taste: The fruit, chocolate and smoke are all in perfect union. Steve’s baby, only one barrel, single vineyard, will release to members in their fall shipments after a little more time in bottle. This was my favorite of the tasting.
wine club members ONLY 2012 “AWAKENING” reserve blend: Paso Robles
66 percent La Vista Vineyard Syrah and 33 percent Gorgio vineyard Petite Sirah. 16.3% alcohol.
Aroma: Resounding black fruit, cream, tobacco and wild game.
Taste: Tangy dark fruits, lots of tannins, chewy and firm. Want to have this one with salami and prosciutto.
(Joining us on our search for descriptors was Steve’s wife Megan.)