What We Say 2006 Romantique Reserve
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Mission Codename: Romancing the Nobles
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Locate a superior Paso Robles Red Blend that delivers unique characteristics of the terroir – without stressing the bank account
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Villa San-Juliette
Wine Subject: 2004 Romantique Reserve – Red Blend
Backgrounder: Wine Spies Operatives love great red blends, especially blends with a superior Q.P.R. (Quality to Price Ratio). Today we send Agent Red to Paso Robles, in search of the perfect high-value Red Blend. There, he unexpectedly meets up with long-time winemaker friend, Adam LaZarre, the newly appointed winemaker for Paso Robles Villa San-Juliette Winery.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Beautiful light burgundy, with deeply concentrated color through to the lilac-colored edges of the wine. When swirled, this wine presents a tight and springy surface that settles quickly after swirling – leaving behind super-tightly packed skinny legs that move very steadily down the glass
Smell – Dark stonefruit leads off, followed by smoky cherry, coffee bean and cocoa, followed by soft smoked meat aroma and even a hint of soft French cheese and subtle fresh garden herbs
Feel – Big and slightly angular on the entry, then softer across the mid-palate. The wine leads off bright, and then medium tannins take hold, drying and coating the mouth slightly
Taste – Dark, dusky-fruity and delicious, with layers of rich flavors of smoky stone fruit, dark mixed berries and seared meats. Follow-on flavors of strawberry, coffee, subtle bay leaf and subtle green peppercorn emerge as the wine reaches back palate
Finish – Light at first, then something exciting happens! Flavors that start off light seem to ramp way up – and then tail off slowly, leaving behind a mouth-watering dryness
Conclusion – A great blend, made even better with a little decanting, this somewhat youthful wine shows off its potential on first sip. Ready to drink now, this dark beauty will reward the patient. Drink a few bottles now and cellar a few for the next several years. With enough brightness to allow pairing with most foods, this wine gets my recommendation as a drink-or-hold wine that is sure to impress your holiday guests this year – and for years to come.
Those who have been operatives for a while know that one of our favorite winemakers is a ‘gentleman’, and I use that term very loosely, by the name of Adam LaZarre – AKA Agent Orange (we’ll let you interpret that name). Problem was, that Orange had gone off the reservation. Rumors ran rampant. He was AWOL… He was in Beaune working on a French project… He was sailing around the world.. He had decided to become a Rock Star… Nobody knew what really happened to him.
OPS had been tracking some SIG-INT on Orange but none of the leads proved credible, including the APB issued in the Beverly Hills area for a winemaker run amok at a very famous mansion after a scandalous party…
That’s where I come in. I was trying to stay off the radar for a few days. We had a big mission in Europe coming up and I wanted to get my affairs in order before we left. My communicator was sent to VIP only, which restricts all incoming calls from just about everyone except OPS, Agent Blush and a few select people that we deemed as ‘important’… So when the encrypted message came in, I was stunned…
LA FARMERS MKT / LOT ON CBS SIDE / 2045 UTC / BRING ANALYSIS KIT
Roughly translated, I was to head to the Farmer’s Market in Los Angeles, go to the parking lot on the CBS Studio side of the area and be there by 12:45 PM. No worries, my safe house is only a few minutes away, so I packed my field kit and headed out.
Upon arrival I almost crashed my car when I saw who was there. And only guarded by one PP (personal protection) staffer, a woman, no less, Agent Orange I mouthed as if to scream it! I pulled up next to there car and rolled down the window. Orange, said, _"[censored] will be one guard, come to the back of the car." I got out and by the time I walked around to the back, Orange had already poured the first of several barrel samples he had just poured for his new leadership, the good folks at Villa San-Juliette Winery in Paso Robles (names I’m sure you’d recognize -see the winery says side for details). Here we were, doing a TOP SECRET tasting in the public parking lot at the Farmer’s Market.
“White, you’re the first to taste this outside of our inner circle, what do you think?”_ Adam continued to pour tastings as our P.P. kept watch. Swirling, sipping, spitting, and a even some swallowing, I just love barrel samples!
I don’t know if the wine was that good or I was still in shock, but it didn’t matter. Agent Orange had been brought back into the fold, at least for a few days. He’s not the kind of guy to sit still for too long.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Villa San-Juliette Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Villa San-Juliette Winery (OLD)
About This Wine:
This superior wine is a classic blend of two noble grapes – Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Matured for two years in French oak, this wine expresses a velvety mouth feel and a bold finish. The aromas displayed suggest that of cocoa, coffee, and rich dark fruits. Romantique is a wine for lovers – and for lovers of wine.
About The Winery:
The story begins with a little show called Corkscrewed….. The reality show “Corkscrewed: The Wrath of Grapes” starred the owners of the vineyard Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick. “Corkscrewed: The Wrath of Grapes” was a reality series following the trials and exploits of award-winning entertainment producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick as they make a major investment in a long held dream – owning their own vineyard. From childhood friends in the backstreets of Liverpool to producing the huge US primetime hit, American Idol, Ken and Nigel are a phenomenal success story. Nigel is currently executive producer and “judge” on FOX Broadcasting’s summer hit So You Think You Can Dance, and Ken is executive producer of the head to head ratings rival, NBC’s America’s Got Talent and they are both enjoying the rewards and Hollywood lifestyle that come with a string of prime-time US network hits. Originally the purchase of the vineyard was planned as a consortium of buyers including Ryan Seacrest, Randy Jackson, Simon Cowell and Simon Fuller, one by one the investors pulled out leaving Nigel and Ken to purchase the beautiful 168 acre vineyard in Paso Robles, California alone.
Problems arose from the outset. Arriving at the vineyard dressed in designer clothing, Lythgoe and Warwick try to convince the jeans-clad owner of their interest in horticulture. From there the hilarities and struggles persist; business collaborations go south; wild boars cause chaos; potential profits dive; and vines become infested with rot. In 2007 the vineyard went into full transformation. Ken and Nigel hired Tony Domingos, a local vineyard consultant in the area. Blocks of the older vineyard are being replaced by new rootstock and slowly but surely the vineyard is being revitalized.
In May of 2008 the first Estate grown bottling was made. We have released five wines under the Villa San-Juliette Label. The wines have been very well received and are currently being poured and sold at various restaurants and wine shops across the state.
While things have been crazy Nigel and Ken refuse to give up on their lifelong dream…..Villa San-Juliette vineyard and winery is slowly developing into what will someday be a HUGE Success!
About The Winermaker:
September 1, 2008 Adam LaZarre came on board as winemaker of Villa San-Juliette Winery. Adam is making the transition from Hahn Estates Winery were he has been the winemaker for the last 8 1/2 years. Adam first got a taste for California wines while serving in the Navy, stationed in Alameda California. Upon leaving the Navy Adam attended California State University Fresno. Adam is very passionate about taking the best fruit that the vineyard has to offer and crafting a very special wine. When first meeting Ken and Nigel and walking through the vineyard it didn’t take long for both parties to decide that Villa San-Juliette was to be his new home. Both Adam and his fiance Angie, who also works in the wine business here on the Central Coast, are excited to be planted in beautiful Paso Robles and everyone at Villa San-Juliette is excited to have him in charge of our team.