Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Renegade 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Dark in the glass, this blend of 37% Syrah, 24% Malbec, 16% Petit Verdot, 13% Zinfandel and 10% Petite Sirah is intense in aromas of black fruit, loamy soil and wet herbs. It lands on the palate with a hearty mouthfeel, delivering flavors of black currant, roasted meat, black pepper and toasty oak.
Big, bold and versatile, Renegade is a gutsy Paso Robles blend marrying the unlikely bedfellows of Syrah, Malbec and Zinfandel. Dark with brooding black fruit, this is earth-driven showcasing a herbal and somewhat meaty character while sporting intense aromas and a full-body alongside black pepper and toasty oak notes through the powerful, persistent finish.
While it may account for but slightly more than a third of this blend’s mixed cepage that also includes healthy amounts of Malbec, Zinfandel, Petit Verdot and Petite Sirah, Syrah nonetheless comes through clearly in the wine’s ripe and slightly gamy and peppery aromas as well as its substantial, mouthfilling flavors. While, as has been the case in the past, this year’s Renegade is little concerned with restraint and is a heady, full-bodied effort that places the emphasis on unabashed richness, it does not cross the line into over-the-top excess and has the structure to age for at least five or six years. Drink it sooner with the likes of braised lamb shanks or hearty hunks of beef, but we would very confidently bet on its future, and, given its modest price, we would bet big.
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.
Composed of steep mountain slopes of ancient Salinas River origins at 900 to 1,400 feet in elevation, Santa Margarita Ranch is in the southern portion of the greater Paso Robles AVA.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended red wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged resulting in a wide variety of red wine styles. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a red wine blend variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.
How to Serve Red Wine
A common piece of advice is to serve red wine at “room temperature,” but this suggestion is imprecise. After all, room temperature in January is likely to be quite different than in August, even considering the possible effect of central heating and air conditioning systems. The proper temperature to aim for is 55° F to 60° F for lighter-bodied reds and 60° F to 65° F for fuller-bodied wines. How much does this matter?
How Long Does Red Wine Last?
Once opened and re-corked, a bottle stored in a cool, dark environment (like your fridge) will stay fresh and nicely drinkable for a day or two. There are products available that can extend that period by a couple of days. As for unopened bottles, optimal storage means keeping them on their sides in a moderately humid environment at about 57° F. Red wines stored in this manner will stay good – and possibly improve – for anywhere from one year to multiple decades. Assessing how long to hold on to a bottle is a complicated science. If you are planning long-term storage of your reds, seek the advice of a wine professional.