What We Say 2004 Paso Robles Pinot Noir
LIBRARY RAID ALERT:
We recently raided Maloy O’Neill’s secret stash – and retrieved the final remaining bottles of today’s fantastic 2004 Pinot Noir. You can’t buy this wine at the winery – or anywhere but right here, right now!
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT + QPR ALERT:
This wine is well worthy of this special alert; Not only are we the only ones to be showcasing this great wine, but the wine is superb – and also a great value. We have the best-ever price on the wine – and once its gone, its gone forever.
SECRET SAVINGS ALERT:
Subscribe to our Daily Dispatch (above) and you’ll always know what our Top Secret coupon code of the day is. Every day we issue a new members-only code that entitles you to have Ground Shipping included on orders of six or more bottles and, sometimes, an added discount!
Mission Codename: The Greatest Raid
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Operative favorite, Maloy O’Neill, in Paso Robles, where the winery is rumored to be hoarding a small stash of their outstanding 2004 Pinot Noir. Secure all remaining cases for our Operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Maloy O’Neill
Wine Subject: 2004 Pinot Noir, Paso Robles
Winemaker: Shannon O’Neill
Backgrounder: Paso Robles has long been established as a wine producing region that give other California regions a run for their money. With a climate and soils that make for perfect growing conditions for grapes, it is no wonder. Winemakers in Paso are a somewhat unique breed, often declaring themselves to be the renegades of Cali wine. A meeting with Shannon O’Neill, winemaker and owner of Maloy O’Neill affirms this sentiment. A warm, excited and deeply passionate man, Shannon makes wines that reflect his personality. Join Agent Red as he visits Shannon – and returns with an exclusive supply cache of Shannon’s inspiring 2005 Maloy O’Neill Essere Grato, a delicious blend of 45% Aglianico, 45% Sangiovese and 10% Syrah, for our O’Neill-loving Operatives.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark garnet with hues and opacity that remind us of fresh cherry juice. The edges of the wine are red and perfectly clear. At its heart, the wine is just slightly opaque. When swirled, tall columns of tightly-spaced tears move slowly down to the surface of the wine.
Smell – Bold and lush, leading with the clear and perfect aroma of fresh crushed cherries. This gorgeous note is quickly joined by earthy bramble, overripe blackberry, tomato stem, cassis, subtle cigar box (less tobacco and more cedar in character) and soft spice.
Feel – Soft and round on the initial attack, then quickly grippy as a medium body is revealed. A moment after swallowing the wine, a gradual dryness spreads throughout the mouth, leaving a subtle hint of slate.
Taste – Deep and delicious, lead by that natural cherry juice from the nose! This flavor sits just atop flavors of blackberry, mulberry, sweet cranberry, smoky blueberry and a hint of red plum. These are followed by a very subtle hint of brown spice and dry slate minerals.
Finish – Long and delicious, with big cherry yielding to mixed berries, softest spice and a lovely dry slate mineral component at the very end.
Conclusion – This is a juicy, extracted and delicious Pinot Noir from our good friend Shannon O’Neill. If you have never had the opportunity to enjoy a Paso Pinot, please take this opportunity. The wine exhibits the fine winemaking skills of its winemaker, but also the classic Paso Robles Terroir. The wine is very flavorful, as are most wines from the region and Pinot Noir from here is a unique treat – if done correctly. Today’s wine is done perfectly. Led by big cherry that tastes and smells like real cherry, this wine shows additional complexity as other unique characteristics soon follow the cherry. This is a fun wine to drink, and any fan of Pinot Noir will be well pleased. Any fan of Paso Pinot will be very very pleased.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Shannon O’Neill
WINE EDUCATION: B.S. Fermentation Science, U.C.Davis
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: 1982-Present, Vice President, Vineyard Operations, O’Neill Vineyards, Paso Robles, CA; 1999-Present, President, Winemaker, Maloy O’Neill Vineyards, Paso Robles, CA; 2005- Present, Wine Production Consultant For Various Start Up Wineries on the Central Coast of California.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Making great wine while developing one on one customer relationships.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “I love making big, extracted, intense varietal character wines, and lots of them”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 1999
AGENT RED: Greetings, Shannon. We are thrilled to be showing your 2005 Essere Grato today. Every time we feature your wines, our Operatives love them. You’ve become very popular among our covert wine lovers. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
SHANNON: The pleasure is all mine!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
SHANNON: I think my horticulture class in the 5th grade, started my love for growing things. That developed into growing grapes when my family purchased 180 acres in Paso Robles in 1980. My sister convinced me to go to UC Davis because they needed winemakers for the new developing wine industry in the early 1980’s. She was in her 2nd year as a Viticulture major and I had just graduated high school and had plans to take over my father’s medical practice. My efforts to get into a premed university were daunting despite my great GPA and SAT scores. My sister suggested I sign up for the Fermentation Science Program at Davis which was the exact same first two years curriculum as a premed Biology major consisting of basically, lots of math and science. She told after your second year, transferring to a pre-med school would be very easy at that point. She was right, because there were only 13 students that signed up that year, and I slid right in. The only thing she was wrong about was, once I found out how cool being a winemaker was, med school was out!
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
SHANNON: Making Cabernet Sauvignon is the Holy Grail of winemaking. Cabernet has always been the backbone of my winemaking style and the history of my wines. Thank god, O’Neill Vineyards has been a never ending supply of high quality fruit for this endeavor!
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
SHANNON: Making Cabernet Sauvignon is the Holy Grail of winemaking. Cabernet has always been the backbone of my winemaking style and the history of my wines. Our two estate vineyards has always been a source of high quality fruit for this endeavor!
RED: Who do you make wine for?
SHANNON: I am the winemaker for our two estate brands, Maloy O’Neill Vineyards and O’Neill Vineyards and have been a production consultant and have done custom crush work for many small startup wineries on the central coast.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
SHANNON: The 2004 Pinot Noir is a bigger style Pinot from our Windy Hill property. It is the Dijon clone, planted from cuttings from the Clos de Vougeot Chateau in Burgundy. At only 1 ton per acre, the super small clusters and berries make a more concentrated wine with intense varietal character.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Paso Region so special?
SHANNON:Paso Robles is unique because of its high diurnal temperature flux and great diversity in soil make up, from area to area. In the growing season, it will be in the mid 90’s during the day and in the 50’s at night. This radical temperature flux creates a wonderful sugar/acid balance that allows the vines in Paso Robles to become physiologically mature before harvest lending to the bigger style reds coming out of the area and a big part of our wineries success. Also, Paso is home to big red wines, and unpretentious tasting rooms – where you can meet the owners and winemakers, great restaurants, inexpensive hotels and just and overall good bang for your buck.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
SHANNON: Bottling like a madman!
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
SHANNON: I make 36 different wines a year so I have a huge portfolio of many different styles and varietals to choose from. There is literally something for everyone. But if your one of those wine drinkers that like big, huge, extracted, intense varietal character reds, than you’re going to love my wines, because that is what I specialize in, and that is where my passion is! The Fremere is delicate dinner wine, that goes good with most foods, but I have many wines that are quaffing wines only, that can be served as the meal, so whatever style you like, go through the list on our website, and I promise you will find what you’re looking for!
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
SHANNON: I would just like to thank all of you for your unending support, and also the wine spies who do a wonderful job at picking wines that are unique and of interest to people who are looking for something more than what is available on the supermarket shelves. The Spies have consistently choose wines from all the different wineries they feature, that are worth checking out, and they also expose wineries who do not have worldwide distribution to and audience that might never get a chance to try new and exciting wines from small mom and pop wineries from many different regions! I welcome all of you to come to Paso Robles to see all the great things going on here, and if you do! Please visit us and say hello. For all of those who take me up on my offer, just mention you’re from the Spies and we will give you an extra discount on all wines and waive your tasting fees! Thank you again, and hope to see you soon!
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!
SHANNON: Thank you and all your customers for your loyal support over the years and enjoy Maloy O’Neill wines.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Maloy O’Neill Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Maloy O'Neill Vineyards
About This Wine:
This wine is a big California Style Pinot Noir. Dark and extracted flavors up front, open up to a raspberry, cherry mid palate with a spicy cedar box finish.
About The Winery:
Maloy O’Neill Vineyards is dedicated to making the highest quality wines in limited quantities while maintaining superior one-to-one client relationships. Through this dedication, the family belives in and aspires to providing a legacy for future generations of the Maloy O’Neill Clan. Maloy O’Neill is a family owned and operated vineyard and winery located in California’s beautiful Central Coast region.
We are dedicated to producing estate-bottled varietals and site-specific wines from our vineyards and other selected vineyards in the Paso Robles area. These vineyards have consistently produced high quality, intensely fruity vintages. Premium wine handcrafted in small lots is our main focus in delivering a unique product to our consumers. Cabernet Sauvignon is our flagship variety, but other premium varietals include Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Muscat Canelli, and Malvasia Bianca.
Making Premium wines has long been the passion of winemaker, Shannon O’Neill. Years of education and experimentation have culminated in the MOV wine collection now available. Shannon is able to focus on small lot artistry utilizing modern wine technology to maximize the potential of the vineyards.The winemaker’s hard work and craftsmanship has been noticed. MOV has been quickly recognized for red wines. We have won multiple Gold and Silver medals for each of vintages from prestigious North American wine competitions.
O’Neill Vineyards has been producing high quality grapes in the Paso Robles area since 1982. We have been a local supplier of grapes for many wineries in the area, as well as wineries in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Lake County. What started out as a 20 acre experiment in 1982, has now grown into 150 acres planted with nine varieties. O’Neill Vineyards has always been family owned and operated, dedicated to producing only the highest quality fruit for our wines and those who buy our fruit. Cabernet Sauvignon is why O’Neill Vineyards has become so well known, but we also currently grow Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese, Chardonnay, Muscat Canelli, and Malvasia Bianca.
The vineyard site consists of over 180 acres, with vines spread across several different soil types and microclimates. Although it has taken years of fine-tuning, many improvements have been made in the vineyard to maximize these different conditions. In 1997 we switched to a vertical shoot position trellis system, and employed canopy management techniques such as leaf, shoot, and cluster thinning to reduce yields and open up the canopy. Soil and water management has also become a top priority. Paso Robles area soils commonly need annual amendments and pH adjustments in order to maintain proper nutrient uptake and overall vine health. The result has been a dramatic increase in quality reflected in the wines from these grapes. There is also a five-acre experimental vineyard on the property, dedicated to varietal, rootstalk, and clonal experimentation. The grapes from these vines are used for small-scale winemaking experiments as well.
Production: 365 Cases