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Villa Creek James Berry Vineyard High Road 2011

Rhone Red Blends from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
  • RP94
0% ABV
  • RP94
  • RP91
  • RP93
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Winemaker Notes

Vibrant aromatics of candied orange peel, boysenberry, and pomegranate, lead one into the voluptuous palate. Red berry pie topped with vanilla bean and black pepper ice cream, is followed by a meaty finish (dessert before dinner is okay sometimes!). It is exquisitely balanced and will give years of pleasure. High Road is always a blend of our best barrels off the spectacular James Berry Vineyard. This particular vintage is no less than a stunning representation of the power of this site. We are among the fortunate few that have access to this fruit. Vibrant aromatics of candied orange peel, boysenberry, and pomegranate, lead one into the voluptuous palate. Red berry pie topped with vanilla bean and black pepper ice cream, is followed by a meaty finish (dessert before dinner is okay sometimes!). It is exquisitely balanced and will give years of pleasure. Drink 2013-2025.

Blend: 40% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The most impressive of the lineup and only slightly less impressive than the brilliant 2010, the 2011 High Road James Berry Vineyard checks in as a blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 20% Mourvedre that was fermented with 40% whole cluster and aged in 50% new French oak. Great stuff, with rich cassis, creamy licorice, spice, toast and tinges of chocolate, it’s massive and rich on the palate, with layers of fruit, no hard edges and a very drinkable profile. I don't think it will make incredibly old bones, but certainly a decade is well within reason here. Drink now-2021.
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Villa Creek

Villa Creek

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Villa Creek, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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Cris and JoAnn Cherry moved to Paso Robles in 1996 to open a restaurant, partake in the burgeoning wine scene and raise their children in the country. In 2001, they purchased their first grapes to make wine for their restaurant. And so began Villa Creek Cellars, their best expression of west Paso Robles' Rhone grape varieties.

Today, they farm their own certified biodynamic and certified organic vineyard, the MAHA Estate in the hills west of Paso Robles. They continue to purchase grapes from the region's most esteemed vineyards and strive to create exciting wines that reflect the land from which they originated.

The MAHA Estate is 8 miles west of Paso Robles. Extreme topography of south and west facing slopes that climb to 1800 feet continue to captivate Cris and JoAnn with the dynamic views of the coastal mountain range. The winery was erected in 2003 to house the production of roughly 3000 cases of wine each year. Monterey shale and siliceous shale provide an ideal foundation for the Rhone grape varieties planted in 2012 and 2013. Sustaining the vibrancy and the health of the land by farming the grapes under organic and biodynamic principles will, in turn, make vibrant wines. The soil is abundant in micro organisms and is the perfect host to the vines, the family and their flock of 30 Dorper sheep that graze the vineyard in the winter and spring. The energy of this site is palpable.

Paso Robles

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Paso Robles has made a name for itself as a source of supple, powerful, fruit-driven wines 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.

Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, red Rhône blends originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley. Grenache, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre typically form the base of the blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. With some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in Priorat, Washington, Australia and California.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit and a plush texture. Syrah supplies dark fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy and earthy notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume and earthy flavor as well as structure and a healthy dose of color. New World examples tend to be fruit-forward in style, while those from the Old World will often have more earth, structure and herbal components on top of ripe red and blue fruit.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. These can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes, playing equally well with beef, pork, lamb or game. Braised beef cheeks, grilled steak or sausages, roasted pork and squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the red Rhône blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.

JFK139391_2011 Item# 139391