Joining us for lunch at Thomas Hill Organics were Alex and Monica Villicana, the owners and operators of Villicana Winery (pictured above). They were very nice people, personable and charming. Their winery is very small, producing less than 1800 cases, and with future plans to produce no more than 5000 cases a year. They own about 72 acres in the westside of Paso Robles, but their vineyards cover only about 13 acres, planted with Cabernet Franc Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Merlot, Mourvedre, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Zinfandel. They also purchase some fruit to make some of their wines.
The 2009 Viognier ($24) is one of their wines where they purchase grapes from a grower in the Templeton Gap area, one of the coolest areas in Paso Robles. The wine is made with Alsatian yeast, has an alcohol content of 14.3%, and 20% sees new French oak for about 6 months. Only 29 cases of this wine were produced. Though I am often not a fan of 100% Viognier wines, this was appealing. It had an aromatic nose, a nice crispness and some delicious apple and melon flavors. Plus, it went very well with our appetizers.
A much bigger wine was their 2007 Estate Syrah ($30), a blend of 80% Syrah, 10% Grenache, and 10% Mourvedre. This wine sees about 33% new French & Russian oak, and 67% neutral French & American oak. It also has an alcohol content of 15.74% and only 125 cases were produced. This dark red wine has lots of spice, dark berry flavors and smoky notes. It is a full-bodied wine, with a long finish and good complexity. It borders on the line of using too much oak, so much will depend on your preferences on the use of oak. But, I think it complemented well my burger.
My favorite of their wines though was easily the 2009 Vin Rosé ($18), and it was also one of my favorite wines of my visit to Paso Robles. First, Syrah (45%) was whole cluster pressed and then blended with a saignée of Mourvèdre (35%) and Grenache (15%), while a small bit of Viognier (5%) was added. The wine has an alcohol content of 14.7%, sees no oak, and only 167 cases were produced. It reminded me of an Old World Rosé, dry with restrained red fruit flavors. It had nice acidity, prominent strawberry flavor, and was quite refreshing. It was also an excellent food wine, pairing well with most everything we had to eat. With such a tiny production, you may not get the opportunity to taste this wine, but if you do, seize the moment.