DAOU Vineyards Soul of a Lion 2016 Front Label
DAOU Vineyards Soul of a Lion 2016 Front LabelDAOU Vineyards Soul of a Lion 2016  Front Bottle Shot

DAOU Vineyards Soul of a Lion 2016

  • JD98
  • RP96
  • WE95
  • JS94
  • CG90
750ML / 14.7% ABV
Other Vintages
  • JD97
  • WE96
  • TP96
  • RP94
  • WS93
  • WE96
  • RP95
  • WS93
  • RP96
  • WW94
  • WS90
  • WE95
  • CG94
  • RP93
  • WW92
  • WS92
  • WW98
  • RP96
  • WE92
  • CG91
  • WS90
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4.9 7 Ratings
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4.9 7 Ratings
750ML / 14.7% ABV

Winemaker Notes

In the glass, this wine appears inky-black with a velvety core. On the nose, however, you are treated to the lightness of fresh violets, crushed blueberries, and cocoa. Complexity is confirmed on the palate with a combination of ripe blueberries and blackberries dusted with hints of cedar, tobacco, spice, and ash. Bright acidity, firm tannins, and moderate alcohol create a balanced structure with a long and seamless finish hinting of toasted vanilla and hazelnuts. Made from the best vines on DAOU Mountain, this wine beautifully showcases the characteristics of Cabernet Sauvignon as a varietal.

Critical Acclaim

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JD 98
Jeb Dunnuck
Also bottled the week before this tasting, the 2016 Soul of a Lion includes more Cabernet Sauvignon than the 2014 and 2015 and is 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot. It’s an incredible achievement and has sensational notes of crème de cassis, graphite, violets, and lead pencil shavings. Made in a pure California, pedal-to-the-metal style, with full body and loads of fruit, it stays balanced, has ultra-fine tannins, and a layered, seamless style that just glides over the palate. Don’t think Paso Robles can make world-class Cabernet Sauvignon? Try this wine.
RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Slated for bottling in August, the 2016 Soul Of A Lion is another immensely promising example of this Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated cuvée. Tasted from barrel, the wine reveals a deep and complex bouquet of smoky cassis, incense, ripe plums and rich soil. On the palate, it's full-bodied, layered and complete, with imposing power and savory structure framing a deep core of fruit. There's more depth and dimension here than in the 2015 rendition, and I suspect it will be even better.
Range: 94-96
WE 95
Wine Enthusiast

Aromas of coffee bean, charred meat, blackberry and toast show on the nose of this blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot. There is compelling density to the palate, which offers flavors of espresso, cocoa, charred toast and blackberry.

JS 94
James Suckling

Super dark with a ton of bitter chocolate and cocoa powder, plus smoke and a hint of gunpowder. This has a great balance of full, powdery tannins and earthy power. Long, really complex finish. You could drink this now, but if you wait until at least 2021, it will give even more pleasure.

CG 90
Connoisseurs' Guide

10% Cabernet Franc; 4% Petit Verdot. Dense and extracted with an abundance of very ripe fruit that inclines more to black cherries than currants and decked out with a broad sweep of sweet oak, this slightly supple, full-bodied working sports a fine spine of integral tannin that, at the moment, imparts an edge of dryness to its lingering, ever so slightly hot finish. Unquestionably rich, but still very young and wanting time to smooth and for its parts to fully knit, it is sure to reward a stay of some six to eight years in the cellar.

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DAOU Vineyards

DAOU Vineyards

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DAOU Vineyards, California
DAOU Vineyards Walk with DAOU Vineyards Winery Video

In the golden, oak-studded hills of Paso Robles' fabled west side, not far from William Randolph Hearst's magnificent castle, there is a man with a Homeric vision. His name is Daniel Daou and he is devoting his life and every imaginable resource to creating, first and foremost, a Cabernet Sauvignon that rivals the very best in the world.

Gracefully perched atop a stunning promontory at 2,200 feet, the DAOU Spanish Colonial style winery is embraced by a tangible serenity. Hawks wheel and bank while the all-day sun caresses close planted rows of lush, emerald green vines. The 100 percent calcareous soil makes no sound as it passes out nourishment and only a gentle breeze flows up through the Templeton Gap from the Pacific. The quiet is bewitching; you want to lay down roots here, just as the four-year-old vines have done. But the sense of peace belies the serious industry at work on this 100 acre estate. No effort is spared to create the luscious varietals and blends that flow from this limited production winery. This kind of synergy happens rarely: superlative climate and terroir, super intensive vineyard culture, and cutting edge viticultural practice. You're more likely to find it in Bordeaux than Central California. Coupled with the infectious passion and gracious, family style hospitality of the Daou brothers, Georges and Daniel, the result is pure magic. The kind of magic that comes in a bottle.

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Covering the Santa Lucia Range in the northwestern portion of the greater Paso Robles appellation, the Adelaida District AVA reaches from 900 feet to over 2,000 feet in elevation. The appellation does well with Rhone and Bordeaux varieties as well as Zinfandel.

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends

Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines, modeled after the Right Bank, are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure.

Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secrets for Bordeaux Blends

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

SOU935052_2016 Item# 522044

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