2006 Thunderbolt Winery Stargazer Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Paso Robles
What we say
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Mission Codename: Billions and Billions
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Respond to reports of a superb Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon from Twilight Cellars/Thunderbolt Winery. Investigate the winery, and procure their highest-value Cabernet – for our Paso-loving Operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Twilight Cellars/Thunderbolt Winery
Wine Subject: 2006 Stargazer Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Richard Gumerman
Paso Robles, in California’s Southern Central Coast region (San Luis Obisbo County) is one of California’s oldest and also newest wine growing regions. The first vines were planted in the late 1700s by the Spanish missionaries.
Paso’s unique climate, perhaps influences its vine more than any other area in California. The hot, dry weather that is only minimally effected by coastal fog and wine results in grapes that are more concentrated in flavor and intensity. This climate makes Paso uniquely suited to grow the big red varietals including Zinfandel, Syrah and as in this wine, Cabernet Sauvignon.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark ruby hues deepen to a dark black cherry core. At the edge of the glass, lighter red runs a circle around the wine. Slow, thin, wine-stained legs move down the glass after swirling.
Smell – Lush and spicy with rich jammy black fruit of black cherry, plum, blackberry and blueberry. Sweet spice, cigar box , caramel, dark chocolate and vanilla-toasted oak sit beneath. As the wine opens up, savory notes of dried herbs and dried dark flower petals round out the nose.
Feel – Very smooth, rich and soft on entry, this medium-bodied wine has ripe tannins and sweetly tangy acidity that softens as it breathes. A touch of flinty mineral dries the palate, lingering long into the finish.
Taste – Fruit forward, with sweet flavors of jammy blackberry, black cherry, plum and cassis. These are framed by savory notes that mingle flint, dried herbs, black licorice, soft burnt caramel and a hint of green tobacco leaf.
Finish – Long and lush with lingering dark fruit, soft oak, spice, flinty minerals and dried flowers. At the end, the palate is left with a softly dry feel that invites further sipping.
Conclusion – What a great find this 2006 Stargazer Cabernet Sauvignon turned out to be! With its big, fruit-forward style and deep aromatic nose, we enjoyed this balanced wine a great deal. Fruity, earthy and savory all at once, it exhibits great balance. With enough acidity to make it an easy food companion, we’d recommend this wine with a nearly anything grilled, especially a garlic and olive oil rubbed New York steak. Enjoy now or for the next five to seven years, and decant for fresher fruit and a softer drinking experience.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Richard Gumerman
WINE EDUCATION: 5 years apprenticing at Wollersheim Winery during crush. Then 6 years here in Paso Robles making wine for 14 different clients and crushing up to 520 tons of grapes per year.
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF:Grew up in Milwaukee, WI and moved to Newport Beach, CA in 1986. Education at University of Notre Dame in Business Finance and Economics. Worked at many financial institutions including General Electric and Bank of America doing Information Technology jobs. Dabbled in growing wine grapes for over 10 years, especially in Prairie du Sac, WI where I farmed Marechal Foch.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Pick the grapes when they are ripe and make the smoothest full bodied wine you can get and age it a long time in oak barrels.
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 02/10/2006
AGENT RED: Greetings, Richard. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Stargazer Cabernet Sauvignon today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
RICHARD GUMERMAN: Thanks, Agent Red. May this be the first of many joint operations!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
RICHARD: My father was a wine collector all through my childhood. He would teach me about the differences between the different types of wine and where they were from around the world. Then on my honeymoon 22 years ago, we spent two days in Napa Valley and bought 9 cases of wine. We found out a couple of years later that the lowest rated wine that we purchased was 98 out of 100 points on Wine Spectator. So we discovered we knew what the good stuff was.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
RICHARD: Philippe Coquard of Wollersheim Winery in Prairie du Sac, WI. Philippe and I became good friends when we moved back to Wisconsin from California in 1996. He grew up in Beaujolais and told me to stick to the old world ways in making your wines. You can never go wrong making a wine that has already proven itself.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
RICHARD: I make wine mainly for the foodie’s that love to have wine with food. Along the way I also make wine for many other people, both under contract and for the mass market. But my main love is the people that have wine with a meal.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
RICHARD: Stargazer is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and is characterized by dark cherry, subtle caramel and a hint of chocolate on the mid-palate with a delicate fragrant cherry nose and a long, silky finish. It is one of my favorites. The name came to us while we were laying in the back bed of our pickup watching the Perceid Meteor shower.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
RICHARD: My wife Aurora is the food goddess at our place. She writes the food recommendations and she says have it with a thick Filet Mignon or Porterhouse Steak. Also, you can have it with a dark chocolate dessert. (that is her favorite way)
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Paso Robles region so special?
RICHARD: It is a combination of the 50 degree daily temperature swings and the calcareous (limestone) based soils. The vines have to struggle to grow in the limestone and then only get a few hours of heat each day to stretch out the growing season. Thus leading to more structure and flavor in the wines.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
RICHARD: We are getting ready for harvest. It has been quite a cool year here except for the last 10 days. This has pushed us from being 3 to 4 weeks late to a normal harvest season. So we are cleaning and testing all of the equipment for harvest and watching the sugar levels in the grapes closely.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
RICHARD: Because we age our reds at least 22 months in oak before bottling, you can expect our wines to be smoother and softer from the beginning. Our wine is meant to be drank with food so you can count on our wines to be a good pairing at any dinner you make or attend at a friend’s house.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
RICHARD: Our winery will be celebrating its 50 anniversary in late November. It started as HMR Winery back in 1961 as a 1200 acre ranch. They planted Pinot and Cabernet between rock outcroppings of limestone and by 1976 were making award winning wines that received accolades in Europe. A special competition was held in 1979 like the one in 1976 where Stags Leap won and HMR’s 1976 Pinot beat Romaneé-Conte. Then we bought the property in 2005 and have concentrated on Rhône varietals and Cabernet.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
RICHARD: On one final note, I wanted to let your Operatives know that we were forced to change our name earlier this year from Thunderbolt. We chose Twilight Cellars which was the name of our Pinot Noir. I know some people think we did it because of the movies, but we had the name before the movies came out.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Twilight Vineyards Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
About This Wine:
Characterized by dark cherry, subtle caramel and a hint of chocolate on the mid-palate with a delicate fragrant cherry nose and a long, silky finish. Enjoy with Petite Filet Mignon, Château Briand or Porterhouse Steak. For a delightful taste explosion of cherry, complete your meal with a dark chocolate dessert.
Tasting Notes: Dark cherry with subtle blackberry and hint of chocolate on the mid-palate with a delegate fragrant berry nose. Long and Silky finish.
Vineyard Notes: Penman Springs, Reynolds Vineyards
Winemaker Notes: Grapes were picked by hand to get the best clusters to go into this beautiful wine. Aging was done completely in barrels, 80% French, 20% American. The Penman fruit gives the wine more of itÂ’s fruity components while the robustness comes from the tiny Reynolds grapes. Long barrel aging led us to refine the texture of the wine.
Food Pairing Notes: Enjoy with Petite Filet Mignon, Chateau Briand or a Porterhouse Steak. Finish the meal with a Dark Chocolate dessert for a delightful taste explosion of cherry flavor.
About The Winery:
In 1961, with the name Hoffman Mountain Ranch, Dr. Stanley Hoffman and his illustrious winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff began one of the first modern wineries in Paso Robles. In a 1979 Paris wine competition, the 1975 Hoffman Mountain Ranch Pinot Noir placed third in the world in a comparative tasting of 330 wines from 33 countries.1 Their Pinot Noir beat Romanee-Conti in Europe thus securing a place in wine making history. We invite you to visit the winery where it all began. The name has changed to Twilight Cellars but the dedication to craft wine is the same as when Dr. Hoffman and Andre Tchelistcheff began.
Richard and Aurora Gumerman, the new owners, share their passion for food and wine pairings making your visit educational and fun. The winery and grounds are undergoing intensive rebirth. Respect for the land and nature are primary goals for this renovation and beautification. Richard has started replanting the vineyards. So drive down the hill to where history was made.
Twilight Cellars offers Rhone varietals (Syrah, Mourvedre, Rhone blends), Bourdeax varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Alsatian Muscat) and Mundo Viejo and Rapture, exquisitely made Ports.
Richard, a former I.T. consultant, started a small vineyard in the Lake Wisconsin AVA as a hobby. He grew Marechal Foch grapes for Wollersheim Winery in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin. Bob Wollersheim encouraged Richard to pursue his new hobby which later became a true labor of love. Aurora, a former pharmaceutical Representative did food and wine pairings as a hobby and later specialized in international cuisine.
With pioneering spirit, they shed their corporate suits and took upon their shoulders a monumental task. The re-vitalization of a historic winery. So, pardon the dust, and come to enjoy a part of Paso Robles history.
If you are wondering about the thunderbolts, fifteen years ago Richard’s vineyard in Wisconsin got struck by Lightning. Not once, not twice, but three times in the first season. Thunderstorms are not common here in California, but the Midwest has it’s share of them. So Richard came up with the name Thunderbolt for his vineyard when he started selling his fruit to Wollersheim Winery down the street. So if you ever visit his old vineyard, watch out on a blustery day for those lightning bolts. Here at Twilight Cellars follow the Red Thunderbolt signs down the road to find the Tasting Room. Also, watch out, a small Thunderstorm may erupt in the Tasting Room.
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon.
Appellation: Paso Robles.
Harvest Date: November 8, 2006
Sugar: 24.4 Brix
Acid: 6.9 g/L
Aging: 26 months – French & American Oak.
Fermentation: Stainless Steel
Bottling Date: March 15th, 2009.
Residual Sugar: 0.55 g/L.