Carménère: a wine grape that Bordeaux bailed on generations ago has reared its head in Chile, Italy, and eclectic hot pockets of California.
Today’s Carménère comes from Cali and the hands of Dubost winery.
The Dubost family hailed from France in the 1870s, blacksmiths, settled in Adelaida in Central Coast, California, farmed, ranched, grew walnuts, then olives on 320 acres. Finally for us in 2002, son Jacob put grape vines into the ground. Then brother Zachary took on winemaking in 2010. Nearly all Dubost siblings, children, and spouses work the fields, winery, or promotion.
But today’s Dubost wine comes from bought fruit courtesy of Colbert Vineyard, which sits in Paso Robels Estrella District, Paso’s largest, running East of the 101 and north of Paso town through rolling plains of well draining alluvial soil. Temperatures are moderate so Rhône and Bordeaux varieties ripen well. An ideal spot for Bordeauxs long lost grape: Carménère. At least three other wineries make a Colbert Vineyard Carménère, so they must have something that works.
Dubost, Carménère, Colbert Vineyard Estrella District Paso Robles California 2014
The APPEARANCE frames a narrow clear rim of ruby around a deep purple core that hangs on wide tinted legs. Seductive AROMAS of dried fig, a dash of black cherry liquor, a twang of orange zest, cocoa powder, and charcoal carry a medium plus heft.
The PALATE however is serious stuff: dry, bright medium acidity, fine medium tannins, decent alcohol (13 %abv), make for a medium bodied, lithe, unexpectedly refreshing red. Medium plus
FLAVORS match the fig and black cherry aromas but veer off to sharper, brighter, yet rockier territory: citrus peel bounces off flint and tobacco and then mellow into a calm medium length.
Well, that was a pleasant surprise. Often Paso reds strut high alcohols and oodles of jammy fruit. Dubost’s Carmenere, however, works earthy and dark flavors against a tame palate. It is very good (4 of 5) wine: drinkable, inoffensive, interesting, yet not overt or demanding. Enjoy it with red enthusiasts, and try some grilled meats, peppery charcuterie, truffled cheese, and darker chocolates.
Not shabby for a family of farmers.