Maloy O'Neill Vineyards
2005 Fremère Red Bordeaux Blend
California: Paso Robles
What We Say
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 and, sometimes, an added discount!
Mission Codename: Premier Fremère
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Maloy O’Neill Vineyards in Paso Robles, and secure an ample allocation of their stunning 2005 Lexicon, their best red blend
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Maloy O’Neill Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2005 Fremère Red Bordeaux Blend
Winemakers: Shannon O’Neill
Backgrounder: Our Operatives love Maloy O’Neil wines. For today’s wine, we dispatched Agent Red to secure an allotment of Shannon O’Neill’s 2005 Fremère, a Bordeaux-style blend that shows off Shannon’s ample talents as a Paso winemaker.
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 fantastic 2005 Fremère, and returns with a cache of the wine for our Operatives.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark Burgundy-purple in color, slightly opaque through its deepening heart. At the edges of the wine, red-to-purple hues are visible. The wine shows a springy surface. When swirled, the wine leaves thin, color-stained tears along the inside edges of the glass
Smell – Jammy fruit, with dark mixed berries, plum, black currant and black fig. These are joined by candied orange peel, molasses, leather, white pepper and butterrum candy
Feel – Wet and light, but only initially. Then, the wine becomes more full and mouth-filling, as medium-grained tannins take hold all over the mouth
Taste – Bold and delicious, lead by blackberry, black currant, blueberry tart and kola nut. Follow-on flavors include dried tobacco leaf, smoky allspice and dark Mexican chocolate
Finish – Long and slightly dry, with dark fruit flavors, dark minerals and smoky caramel
Conclusion – Shannon O’Neill’s wines have always impressed me with their bold character, but today’s wine also shows great balance. Long on deep aromatics, and even longer on a plethora of varied flavors, this is a complex wine that will have you pulling out adjective after adjective as you discover the layers of the wine. Rich and bold, but also balanced and food-friendly, this wine is a delight to enjoy with a great meal
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 Fremere today. 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 fathers 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 start up wineries on the central coast.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
SHANNON: The Fremere is our flagship Bordeaux Style blend with its first vintage in 2000. This wine is named after the Fremere family (actually spelled Pfremmer or Pfrimmer), Maureen’s maternal great grandmother’s family line who immigrated to America from Alsace France in the early 1700s. Later as a pioneer family they came west via the Oregon Trail and settled in Idaho and raised livestock, fowl, nuts and even possibly grapes on their family farm for generations.The varietal percentages change from year to year, but usually consist of the main Bordeaux reds, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc. In 2005, I was not able to source enough Petite Verdot for my blend, so I used a small amount of Petite Sirah to add more body, and structure. Using Petite Sirah makes it a non-traditional Bordeaux style blend, but since we do not live in France, I did not think anyone would mind. That being said, The Fremere is 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 12% Petite Sirah, and 10% Malbec. It is a great, food friendly, dinner wine, made in more of the French style. At only 14.2% alcohol, this wine shows a lot of finesse, aged in a combination of new and two year old French oak for two years.. The bigness of the Cab comes through in this wine with dark stone fruit flavors, currant, espresso and the mouth feel of a Cab. The upfront entry gives way to nuances of cigar box, truffles, cinnamon and cloves.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
SHANNON: It goes great with most main courses but, I like it with nice filet, crown roast, or my favorite, a small rack of lamb with mint jelly. Enjoy!
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.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
SHANNON: Racking the new vintages and getting my new wines ready for bottling.
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 your 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!
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Our Bordeaux-style wine is named after the Fremere family (actually spelled Pfremmer or Pfrimmer), Maureen’s maternal great grandmother’s family line who immigrated to America from Alsace France in the early 1700s. Later as a pioneer family they came west via the Oregon Trail and settled in Idaho and raised livestock, fowl, nuts and even possibly grapes on their family farm for generations. The bigness of the Cab comes through in this wine with dark stone fruit flavors, currant, espresso and the mouth feel of a Cab. The upfront entry gives way to nuances of cigar box, truffles, cinnamon and cloves.
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.
Varietals: 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 12% Petite Sirah, 10% Malbec
Production: 170 cases produced