Maloy O'Neill Vineyards
2006 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon •Windy Hill Vineyard
California: Paso Robles
What We Say
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Mission Codename: The Windy Hill
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Revisit our good friends at Maloy O’Neill Vineyards and acquire their wine club exclusive Windy Hill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Maloy O’Neill Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2006 Paso Robles Windy Hill Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Shannon O’Neill
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 purple and nearly black but still clear in its dense core. Hints of garnet show in its heart and along the edges and when swirled, slow thin legs ring the side of the glass.
Smell – Bold and spicy with rich jammy black fruit including black cherry, black berry and dark plum. Sweet spice, cigar box and toasted oak along with savory notes rounds out the ripe and fruity nose.
Feel – Very smooth, rich and expansive, this full-bodied dry wine has ripe tannins and initially tangy acidity that softens as it breathes. A touch of dark minerals dries the palate and lingers into the finish.
Taste – Fruit forward flavors of jammy black cherry, blackberry and other dark fruits are framed by a sturdy toasted oak component. Savory notes meld with hot and peppery spice, dark earthy minerals, soft green herbs and a touch of cigar tobacco adding a very approachable complexity to this wine.
Finish – Long and lush with lingering dark fruit, oak, spice and dark earthy minerals initially fading leaving behind plush hints as the palate dries and makes the mouth water for another sip.
Conclusion – Fans of rich and ripe fruit forward Cabs with love the 2006 Maloy O’Neill Vineyards Paso Robles Windy Hill Cabernet Sauvignon. Plush and generous with plenty of ripe jammy fruit on the nose and palate and a firm but not overbearing mouthfeel to hold it all together. We paired this delicious pan-seared prime rib on-the-bone with all the fixings. Enjoy now or for the next five to seven years.
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 2006 Windy Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 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 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon “Windy Hill” is from our Estate
Vineyards on Union Road, here in Paso Robles. The vines are deficit irrigated, which basically means that the vines are only given enough water to survive through the growing season. This technique reduces the water content in the berries when the grapes are harvested, making for a much more concentrated wine, with intense varietal flavors. It also drastically reduces the yields. These vines only produce 1 ton/acre, and are hand harvested, making for wines with great color and intensity.
- SHANNON:* New York Steak, with a red wine, blue cheese reduction.
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: Racking, Topping, and Bottling. And repeat!
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!
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
SHANNON: I would just like to thank The Wine Spies – and your Operatives – 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
About This Wine:
The first thing one notices in the 2006 Windy Hill Cabernet Sauvignon is the deep purple color that coats the glass. When swirling the wine, the nose is dominated by a combination of both cassis and crushed red currants, with notes of black cherry, cedar, and a hint of vanilla. On the palate, the balanced extraction is exhibited with loads of red and black fruit, followed by subtle nuances of sweet tobacco leaf, leather and minerals. The tannins, while very present, have already integrated into the wine’s mouthfeel, with the trademark kiss of acidity all great Cabernets are known to possess. The wine is drinking fabulously right now, but will age gracefully over the next decade.
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.