RECOMMENDED: Project Paso 2010 Red Blend, Don Sebastiani & Sons, Paso Robles. 22% Grenache, 17% Petite Sirah, 16% Syrah, 15% Merlot, 9% Zinfandel, 8% Tempranillo, 7% Malbec, 4% Barbera, 2% Touriga Nacional. 13.8% ABV. $14, available for less than $10.

Y’know how red blends with Cabernet Sauvignon are dominated by the Cab most of the time? That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just the way it is. I mean, if Robin Williams comes to your party, guess who’s going to be the center of attention?

It’s unusual for a red blend not to have either of the Cabernets in it (Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc), but this one doesn’t. And it really works.

It does have a kitchen sink’s worth of several other reds, though, including the Portuguese Touriga Nacional (among the Port grapes). The result is delightful, so why the heck not. Grenache, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, and Tempranillo happen to be among my favorites anyway.

COLOR: Clear dark ruby.
NOSE: Oak, vanilla, big black-red fruits.
FLAVORS: Bright. Smooth yet intense. Focused mid-palate and mid-mouth. Cherries and black cherries. A little bit of caramel and almonds, a hint of cinnamon. Yummy!
FINISH: Slightly spicy with the Syrah zing, moderate finish; softer as the wine opened.
CONCLUSION: A direct, lovely, dangerously drinkable wine with some layers. Enjoy!

Each year, the Project Paso Red Blend composition is different, but it’s hard to go wrong with a Paso wine. We’ve sung the praises of Paso Robles before—the contrasts there make for some great wines because of the temperature stresses, among other things. As this winery’s Web site notes, “This area offers vines a unique growing climate, with calcareous and siliceous rocky soils, and daily temperatures upwards of 90°F [and nights often 40 degrees cooler]. Vines are cooled by nightly ocean breezes, helping to preserve the grapes’ natural acidity. The more eastern section of this area is characterized by slightly more fertile soils, and produces wines that are softer in tannin and lower in acidity than their western cousins, making them more approachable in their youth.”

WINEMAKER’S NOTES: Our 2010 Red Blend begins with strawberry-inflected aromas with light caramel oak. A wide variety of secondary aromas come from the different grapes in this blend: hints of spice and bramble from Merlot and Zinfandel, and light floral notes from the Grenache, Syrah, and Tempranillo. Pure, jammy fruit forms the core of the flavors on the palate, very similar to the 2009 Grenache-based blend. Grenache lends red cherry fruit flavor, complemented by wild raspberry and pomegranate from the Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, and Syrah. Hints of savory spices, coffee, white pepper, and cardamom add complexity without distracting from the fruit-forward appeal. Medium-bodied and fleshy, with a touch of fresh acidity and tannin for balance, this approachable appealing red blend is a sure crowd pleaser.
* Pair this wine with a barbeque chicken pizza, ravioli with marinara sauce, or carne asada soft tacos.

LABEL NOTES: The search for world class grapes led our grandfather to Sam Balakian in Paso Robles 30 years ago. Since the, we have been quietly blending Paso Robles juice to add depth, spice and complexity to our California appellation wines. What started out as a small project has now come to fruition. To pay homage to all the work our families have done over the past three decades, we felt it only proper to keep the name “Project Paso.”

WEB NOTES: The Don & Sons Winemaking Process
* At Don Sebastiani & Sons, we strive to produce quality wine at an approachable price, regardless of the outcome of a particular growing season. Our winemaker Greg Kitchens works to create great wines that our customers identify as a reliable purchase. Kitchens has developed a distinctive character for each one of our brands. Each wine’s individual profile evolves with changes in established vineyard relationships, available fruit and flavor trends in the industry. Our winemaking approach at Don Sebastiani & Sons is to consistently create noteworthy wines in a style which is recognizably our own.
* Winemaker, Greg Kitchens, developed a passion for pairing wine and food early in his educational career. A native of the Napa Valley, Greg earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from UC San Diego. Before coming to Don Sebastiani & Sons in 2001, Greg worked with Beaulieu Vineyards and the Sebastiani family’s original winery in Sonoma.

pH: 3.71
TA 0.66 mg/L


Sample received for review.

This entry was posted in Barbera, California, Grenache/Garnacha, Malbec, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Red Blend, Syrah/Shiraz, Tempranillo, Touriga Nacional, Zinfandel. Bookmark the permalink.

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