Monday, January 2, 2017

San Simeon 2013 Stormwatch, Paso Robles

After more than 30 years of winemaking experience in the Paso Robles region of California, the Riboli family has debuted its first super premium red Bordeaux blend, Stormwatch, under the San Simeon brand. Yes, you have my attention!

One Hundred Years Of Winemaking Heritage

The Riboli family established the San Antonio Winery in downtown Los Angeles in 1917, beginning 100 years of winemaking heritage. Since that time the Riboli Family Wine Estates has encompassed four generations of the family, a portfolio of 20 different brands and vineyards in California’s most prestigious regions, including the Rutherford AVA of Napa Valley, Santa Lucia Highlands and Arroyo Seco AVAs of Monterey County and the El Pomar District and Creston AVAs of Paso Robles.

The Riboli family was recently in the news opened a new energy efficient winery in Paso Robles with an emphasis on environmental stewardship.The San Simeon brand has focused on single varietal wines – until now. Stormwatch is a premium Bordeaux style blend, the first for Riboli after more than 30 years of experience in the Paso Robles area.

A Shelter From The Storm

Paso Robles and Bordeaux-style blends are a winning combination. Throw in our love of lighthouses, and this was a bottle I was anxious to uncork.

The bottle itself is impressive, befitting a wine with a $70 price tag. The elegant black and silver label show waves crashing menacingly against the rugged California coast under darkened skies while the lighthouse stands stolidly as a beacon of protection. The bottle itself has a nice heft, on par with those used for premium Cabernet from Napa.

While the storm rages on the coast, I was confident that it was warm and dry with plenty of wine inside the lighthouse. There was only one way to find out!

During our Christmas Eve Eve (no, that’s not a typo) party, we had a number of wines to entertain guests, including Champagne, a pair of Pinot, and a Barolo. The show stopper was undoubtedly the Stormwatch, which we decanted for an hour.

Smooth Sailing After The Storm

San Simeon focuses on producing small lot wines that showcase the terroir from which the grapes come. In this case the grapes come from the El Pomar District of Paso Robles with steep hillsides and rocky soils, which produce wines with intense aromas and flavors. The cooling afternoon breezes of the famed Templeton Gap help ensure the proper conditions for growing premium grapes.

The wine is aged in French oak for 18 months, but didn’t feel tight or overly tannic. The blend is a tasty 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 16% Malbec, 11% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc.
I was pleasantly surprised with the balance between bold flavors and the delicate nuance of the blend. Stormwatch has 14.5% alcohol, but at no point does it taste “hot” or too astringent. It is a rich and smooth experience.

For me the red fruit dominated with swirls of raspberry and an undercurrent of blackberry. The attention to using the best French barrels pays off with complementary tastes of vanilla. The soft texture attests to a finely crafted wine.

Although the bottle pays tribute to the intensity of the storm and the power of the grape, the experience is more like a nice sunset after the storm with the relaxing sound of breakers on the beach.
Ahoy, wine lovers. This is a tremendous bottle of wine. We recommend it highly.

Full disclosure: We received this wine as a marketing sample.

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