Maloy O'Neill Vineyards
California: Paso Robles
What We Say
FINAL LIBRARY RAID ALERT:
We infiltrated the Maloy O’Neill Library and managed to procure the last remaining cases of today’s wine. After today, it’ll be gone forever…
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!
All of us here at Wine Spies HQ agree: today’s Maloy O’Neill wine is a truly remarkable red blend
SECRET SAVINGS ALERT!
Purchase 6 or more bottles of today’s superb wine, and we’ll reward you with Free Ground shipping. Just enter secret savings code PASOSPY and your savings will be shown at final checkout
Mission Codename: Paso Doulbe
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Maloy O’Neill Vineyards in Paso Robles, uncover their best red blend, secure an amply supply for our blend-thirsty Operatives around the U.S.A.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Maloy O’Neill Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2004 Fremère
Winemakers: 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, tastes his incredible 2004 Fremère, and returns with a cache of the wine for our eager Operatives.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Beautiful garnet to ruby red with an inky dark ruby heart. The wine has a tight and springy surface that settles down fast – but continues to spin – after swirling, leaving behind huge legs that move slowly down the glass
Smell – Full intensity of deep aromatic red fruits and black fruits, featuring dark berry, tart cherry, cassis, raspberry, shaved chocolate, mild pepper, cigar box and sweetwoods
Feel – Full-bodied and voluptuous at the front of the palate – then mouth-coating and slightly dry with beautiful medium tannins that fade slowly to reveal more great flavors
Taste – Juicy, ripe and so delicious, with lush slightly-smoky blackberries and cherries balanced against soft raspberry, dusky sandalwood, and mild spice
Finish – A long, rich and dusky finish that ramps down smoothly and continues to reveal new flavors as it tapers off
Conclusion – This is another beautiful wine from one of the Paso region’s original winemakers, Shannon O’Neill. Maloy O’Neill represents the best that the region has to offer, with wines that are balanced and delivious. While some Paso wines can tend to be overextracted, Shannon shows off the beauty of his fruit and the excellence of his experience by delivering wines that are elegant and full of flavor, without being over the top. This wine is perfectly integrated, with lush aromatics, a sexy mouth feel and flavors that make me smile!
SPECIAL NOTE: We managed to get our hands on the final handful of cases, and today is your last chance to procure this great wine
Below follows an excerpt from Agent Red’s initial recon of Maloy O’Neill Vineyards.
Just a few days ago, I was fortunate to spend time with Shannon O’Neill, one of the founding father’s of the Paso wine scene.
Shannon purchased his first vineyard land back in 1980 and was one of the first dozen vintners planting in the appellation. Today, there are more than 120 Paso wineries and Shannon’s Maloy O’Neill is considered an original – and one of the finest.
The day I met Shannon, the weather was mercifully moderate. The last time I visited the region in the summertime, the weather soared to 106 degrees. That was a year ago, and I was loath to experience another sweltering day. Thank Bacchus for a cooler day.
Shannon told me that the weather this summer had been somewhat unusual, with temperatures bouncing all around. “It’s been an unusual summer to be sure,” Shannon told me. “Day to day, temps have been fluctuating far more than usual.”
When I asked Shannon to tell me how the grapes were doing with these temperature swings, he told me:
“The swings make me a little nervous, particularly when temps soar to 116 as we saw recently. When temps get that high, vines can shut down, putting the grapes in danger. Fortunately, our grapes are all doing great.”
“This is the time of year when we visit the vineyards several times a day to see when they start to get their color. When the first hints of purple appear on the grapes, we know that harvest is right around the corner. Right now, I am ordering all of my harvest supplies and getting my team ready to pick, sort and rush the grapes to the winery.”
As we walked through the vineyards, Shannon pointed out the wide assortment of his grapes. Here, he grows and tends to Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Chardonnay, Muscat Canelli, and Malvasia Bianca, these latter two being more obscure but very interesting grape varietals. We discussed the grapes, picking and tasting as we walked and talked.
I asked Shannon to characterize the differences between wines made in Paso Robles and those from Napa and Sonoma.
“Well, that’s a big question, but I’ll boil it down in simple terms: Because of the hotter temperatures, Paso wines tend to be more deeply extracted and big. The higher temps lead to higher sugars which, in turn, lead to higher alcohol. When making my wines, I strive to deliver big and bold flavors, but also wines that hold up when paired with food. Some of my wines are meant to solo imbibing to be sure, but the Lexicon that you are enjoying is a great food wine. Bright acidity and deep fruit don’t overpower and are perfect with lighter foods or even hearty entrees.”
My afternoon with the winemaker over, I headed back to Central Command, the trunk of my hybrid Spy SUV stuffed with Maloy O’Neill’s great wines. And those were just the wines for my cellar! You’ll have to get your own today, dear Operative, before we run out!
A hearty thank you to Shannon for the great tour!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Maloy O’Neill Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Our Bordeaux–style blend , is 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 15% Cab Franc. A classic ruby red with fruity flavors and a dry finish. There are rich flavors of cassis and tart cherries against a backdrop of toasted oak on the finish. There is significant structure but more than enough fruit to balance it out. The finish is long and dry yet very balanced. This wine is perfect for dinner. We suggest beef or lamb.
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.