Establishing great harmony from beginning to end, this full-bodied wine offers compelling aromas of blueberry, black cherry and plum with an underlying layer of cocoa, sage and campfire smoke. The mouthcoating flavors begin with blackberry, black cherry and black currants before transitioning to smoked ham and licorice on the mid-palate, and a long finish of red fruit and sweet toasted oak. All are supported by supple tannins and lively acidity. Age five to eight years.
The heart of the Paso Robles AVA lies 25 miles east of the coastline with mild conditions in winter, spring and fall. Summers are mostly hot and dry, but a break in the coastal range allows a marine layer to move inland in the late afternoon, lowering temperatures and providing the cool evenings and nights that promote well-balanced grape acidity.
Westside Paso is situated at the southern end of the rugged Santa Lucia Mountains, boasting lean calcareous soils that control vine growth and daytime temperatures that are typically 10° F cooler than downtown Paso as a result of the closer proximity to the coast.
Stanger Vineyards lie on four ridges within the revered Journey’s End Ranch and are locally known as the “Stanger Bench”. Nearly five acres of cabernet were planted in 2001 on 6x9’ spacing in a north-to-south configuration at 1,400 feet of elevation. The site features the Westside’s signature calcareous shale soils, warm sunny days, and cool overnight temperatures. These attributes ensure the development of sound acidity and low-toned fruit qualities in the deeply flavored wines.
Sporadic rain fell in early 2009 with 50% of seasonal totals occurring in March. It was the third consecutive drought year and temperatures were slightly below normal. Budbreak was delayed until mid-March while April saw successful bloom and fruit set. April, May and early June showed foggy mornings and below average temperatures, but the latter reached triple digits in mid-June. The heat spike launched a cycle of two scorching weeks followed by 7–10 cool days through most of July, August and September. Seasonable cool mornings and warm days returned in late September, but the vestiges of a Japanese typhoon dropped 3–4 inches of rain on some vineyards. We harvested most of our fruit during the clear three-week period following the storm, and were quite pleased with the results: small berries with good skin color that translates to rich dark wines.