A couple weeks ago, I did a lengthy writeup about my recent visit to Paso Robles. But I didn’t highlight any of the specific wines I tasted there. Tonight I want to touch on a few wines I tasted on that visit, from Villacana Winery.
Villacana is a small winery run by a husband and wife team, Alex and Monica Villacana. Of course “small” is all relative. The property, which they purchased in 1996, is 72 acres on the west side of Paso Robles. Now you may be thinking that 72 acres seems big not small, but only 13 acres of the property are vineyards and their total production is under 2,000 cases. Therefore, I’d say they officially qualify as a “small winery.”
The soil in the vineyard varies from calcareous soils to acidic shales and the Villacanas have chosen locations for different varieties of vines where they will perform the best. They produce a combination of Rhone varietals, which do better on the calcareous soils, and Bordeaux varietals, which do best with the shale. The vineyards are also at a high elevation, which brings some challenging winds.
Part of their philosophy in wine production, consistent with others I met in Paso Robles, is they let each vintage express the wine uniquely. They don’t want to manipulate the juice to achieve consistency from one vintage to the next.
In addition to their wines, they are making plans to get a still so that they can produce grappa and vodka.
I had the opportunity to taste three of their wines, the viognier, the cabernet sauvignon and the syrah. Here are my notes on each. I should point out that because I didn’t taste these in my normal environment, with my normal process, I did not score the wines. But, I assure you that they were all good.
Villacana Viognier 2010
This wine has a light, almost watery appearance, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s going to be a thin wine. The nose has good intensity with very nice floral aromatics, apricot and a touch of mineral. On the palate, it shows a pleasant apricot and lime flavor, with good concentration to the fruit. Priced at $24.00, it’s a nice wine.
Villacana Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
The appearance of this wine is a shimmering brick red color. It has outstanding intensity on the nose, with big black cherry aromas and a hint of red raspberry. The palate offers deep black cherry flavors without being jammy. The acidity is excellent. It has a very long, very rich finish, filled with fruit and vibrant acidity.
The wine is a blend of 80% cabernet sauvignon with 20% merlot. It was oaked in neutral barrels. This is a very good wine and sells for $28.00.
Villacana Syrah 2008
Purplish-red in color, this wine shows complex aromas on the nose, including smoked meats, blackberry, cherry and nutmeg. On the palate it has a really nice mouthfeel with rich tannins. The acidity makes it lively too. The flavors are ripe blackberries and spice. It has a long finish with plenty of berry flavors. This is another tasty wine and sells for $30.00.
Disclosure: I visited Paso Robles on a press junket with the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. My travel and accommodations where covered as a part of this trip and these wines were provided as samples. I was not required to write about Paso Robles or Villacana. The opinions expressed here are 100% my own.