Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Merlot 2014
Blend: 83% Merlot, 17% Malbec
We are a family-owned winery specializing in estate-grown wines from Margarita Vineyard, the southernmost vineyard in the Paso Robles appellation on California’s Central Coast.
Just look at a map of Paso Robles wineries and at the very southern tip you will find our Vineyard. Here, amid the rugged Santa Lucia mountain range just 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean, Margarita Vineyard stands alone as the only vineyard in its vicinity, and thus the only vineyard to benefit from the extraordinary growing conditions of the area. Margarita Vineyard resides in the historic Santa Margarita Ranch, which was first planted to vines by Franciscan missionaries in 1774.
Ancient Peaks and Margarita Vineyard are owned by three longtime local winegrowing families—the Filipponis, Rossis and Wittstroms—who are actively involved in the daily operations of the vineyard and winery. Ancient Peaks wines are crafted under the guidance of Mike Sinor, a local winemaking veteran and one of the highest-rated winemakers on the Central Coast.
Ancient Peaks implements numerous sustainable viticultural practices to ensure natural quality in their wines while protecting the rich, native environment surrounding the Margarita Vineyard. Their practices have earned SIP (Sustainability in Practice) Certification for Margarita Vineyard, the leading standard for viticultural sustainability.
Paso Robles has made a name for itself as a source of supple, powerful, fruit-driven wines. But with eleven smaller sub-AVAs, there is actually quite a bit of diversity to be found in this inland portion of California’s Central Coast.
Just east over the Santa Lucia Mountains from the chilly Pacific Ocean, lie the coolest in the region: Adelaida, Templeton Gap and (Paso Robles) Willow Creek Districts, as well as York Mountain AVA and Santa Margarita Ranch. These all experience more ocean fog, wind and precipitation compared to the rest of the Paso sub-appellations. The San Miguel, (Paso Robles) Estrella, (Paso Robles) Geneso, (Paso Robles) Highlands, El Pomar and Creston Districts, along with San Juan Creek, are the hotter, more western appellations of the greater Paso Robles AVA.
This is mostly red wine country, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel standing out as the star performers. Other popular varieties include Merlot, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Grenache and Rhône blends, both red and white. There is a fairly uniform tendency here towards wines that are unapologetically bold and opulently fruit-driven, albeit with a surprising amount of acidity thanks to the region’s chilly nighttime temperatures.
With generous fruit and supple tannins, Merlot is made in a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol, where it is often blended with Cabernet Franc to spectacular result. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly in California’s Napa Valley. Somm Secret—As much as Miles derided the variety in the 2004 film, Sideways, his prized 1961 Château Cheval Blanc is actually a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.