After regrettably missing out on a wine luncheon orchestrated by Cori Solomon of the #LAWineWriters Cori reached out to the winery and connected me so that I could review a few samples from home. The winery: Oso Libre in Paso Robles.
Nestled in the Santa Lucia Mountains on the far western edge of Paso Robles’ acclaimed Adelaida district, Oso Libre Winery is fast gaining recognition for its rich, complex wines and for the unusual microclimate of the sustainably farmed vineyards that produce them. This small, family-owned estate lies just 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean, which is consistently cooler than the rest of Paso Robles and is proving ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon, Rhone varieties and Primitivo.
Owners Chris and Linda Behr acquired the 90-acre property in 1996 when it was raw land and set about developing it into a sustainable working cattle ranch and vineyard. After more than 10 years of getting to know the region, understanding the property’s unique microclimates and learning how to grow grape vines and make wine, the couple was ready to embark on their next phase—a winery. Their son Jeff Freeland and his wife Elizabeth, with their twin daughters, moved north from Los Angeles in 2007 and two years later the family winery opened for business. (‘Oso Libre’ is Spanish for ‘free bear,’ a combination of their last names and a nod to Linda’s Hispanic heritage.)
Tasting – Aromas and flavors divided by ;
2012 Nativo (100% Estate Primitivo)
Dark browned plum in color. Spiced red apple, plums, dark cherry, mushroom, earth and dark cocoa; bright red fruit, cracked black pepper, dry and good tannins. 90 Eve pts.
2012 Carnal (Grenache, Petite Sirah, Syrah)
Blackberry in color. Smokey blue to black fruit including blueberry, blackberry, black plum, cigar, grilled mushrooms, grilled meat, spice rack; same dark and robust fruit, dust, black pepper, firm balanced tannins. Want another bottle. 92 Eve pts.
2012 Vino d’Oro (Chardonnay)
The color of pale yellow hay. Oak, Meyer lemon, cantaloupe melon unsalted butter; viscous, both cream and tang from the oak, lemon with a long finish. 89 Eve pts.
Visiting Oso Libre
With its distinctive Central Coast location, award-winning wines and picturesque working ranch and vineyards, a visit to Oso Libre Winery offers guests much more than wine. Just off Highway 46 towards Hearst Castle, the mountain setting boasts outdoor patio seating just steps from the vines. The SIP-certified (Sustainability in Progress) estate is powered by solar panels and a wind machine, and Oso Libre practices sustainability in all areas of the business. A spacious and welcoming tasting room is open every day except Tuesdays, and visitors are encouraged to take their time tasting and learning about Oso Libre’s limited production wines. An impressive display of 54 bottles on the tasting room wall, one from each of their neighboring wineries, emphasizes the close ties Oso Libre has to its fellow vintners and the community spirit they all enjoy. The winery is dog and kid-friendly and families can view the “working partners” grazing in the pastoral, mountainous ranch setting. Wine club members are treated to the locally raised dry-aged beef at member gatherings and special events at the winery.
Oso Libre’s wines not only offer a sense of terroir of this coveted Central Coast region, they also embody the winery’s blended beliefs of commitment to sustainability, craftsmanship and charity. Oso Libre prides itself in creating a sustainable and healthy ecosystem for every component of its working ranch.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.