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Wine of the Week: 2010 Halter Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon

We've all heard the supposed sage advice, "don't change horses in midstream," a phrase popularized by a former U.S. President, whose likeness is found on that dusty five-dollar bill in your wallet.  A phrase that had a lot less to do with actual horses or water; it had a whole lot more to do with not changing leaders or positions in an activity whether that be political leaders or in this case winemakers. This of course can be especially true when it appears it maybe difficult to make a change; after so much had been invested in another direction.

Before receiving samples the other-day [few weeks ago now] from a PR group representing Halter Ranch in Paso Robles; we were all-but strangers, oh Mrs. Cuvee and I had stopped by there a couple years ago, but left a bit dissatisfied and really never wanted to re-visit, but now we really want to re-visit for chance to get to know them better. We did however take a bottle of their 2008 Cotes-de-Paso, which I reviewed earlier this year, it really “wowed” me. Whether they knew it or not; I think it could be said, there was mutual thirst for a change in direction—a primary factor in their selection of their new winemaker, Kevin Sass who has recently came on board after spending eleven years with the wine-savvy folks at Justin Vineyards and Winery in Paso Robles.

Kevin commented on his new position as the winemaker of Halter Ranch “I’m excited to be involved in this amazing, long-term project at Halter Ranch. My previous experience with the Halter Ranch estate fruit, combined with a new [soon-to-open], state-of- the-art facility, will allow me to showcase what this property has to offer.” After sampling their Halter Ranch [$28] 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon; a tasty blend  with just under 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and nearly equal parts Malbec and Merlot rounding out the flavor profile, I'm really digging their new direction.

As soon as this wine is uncorked it's dressed to impress, no decanting is needed [but is still recommended] as the wine spilled into my glass wonderful aromatics escaped easily, filling the air with black/red fruit essence, a subtle crème de cassis, slapping my nose with exotic spice, rich earth and enticing florals. After getting my first big-gulp, delightful and elegant flavors engulf you taste-buds, you'll easily find rich blackberry, currant, anise and subtle oak fla­vors that are dry and complex. This is a great food wine, which will easily pair with many styles and types of food; especially great for summer backyard barbeque's, stylistically a wine made in a drink now and drink often style. I scored this wine 91 points and highly recommend that you give this wine a swirl for yourself. 

I asked winemaker Kevin Sass, what he might suggest pairing with the newly released 2010 Halter Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon? Kevin’s suggests the wine to be paired with grilled steak, lamb, prime rib, venison stew and any other hearty meat dish; it will also age beautifully for another 10-15 years. 

If you're interested in visiting for a tasting, they are easily found on Paso's west-side at 8910 Adelaida Road near the intersection of Vineyard Drive, just a short drive from downtown Paso Robles. I'd also invite you to follow them on twitter, catch up with on Facebook or if you want to see what else they are up to, check out their easy to navigate website, where you can also purchase their wines.  

They also sent me a sample of their 2011 Halter Ranch Rosé, which is light, lean and has an appealing crispness, dried rose petals, strawberry and cherry flavors dominate, a wonderfully refreshing wine, well suited for a warm afternoon on the back patio, while tending to barbecue duties. And word has it from the "Ranch" that this wine will be featured in the August issue of Sunset Magazine along
side seven other, "California-Pinks". Have a great weekend everyone; until next time folks continue sip long and prosper, cheers!

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