TAPAS is also the Tempranillo Advocates, Producers and Amigos Society. It is "a nonprofit trade association of over eighty wineries, growers, and amigos, whose mission is to promote Tempranillo and other varietal wine grapes native to the Iberian Peninsula, and wines produced from them in North America." With my own love for grapes native to Iberia, I believe TAPAS is playing a very important role in California, and its members are producing some fantastic wines from these grapes. Some of these grapes were planted over 100 years ago by Iberian immigrants, and are in danger of extinction unless they are nurtured and embraced by local wineries.
One of their members is Bodegas Paso Robles, which I visited last year, and two of their wines made my list of 2010: Top Ten Wines Over $15. These wines included the fantastic 2006 Bodegas Paso Robles Graciano and 2006 Bodegas Paso Robles Pimenteiro. The owner and winemaker, Dorothy Schuler, is passionate and talented, and I strongly recommend her wines. She is concerned about protecting the Iberian grapes planted in California, and has done her part to promote these fine grapes. Thus, such winemakers, especially when they produce compelling wines, deserve our support.
I recently received samples of two of her latest wines, the 2007 Bodegas Paso Robles Viva Tu! and 2007 Bodegas Paso Robles Vaca Negra, and these new wines only solidified my belief in the winery.
The 2007 Bodegas Paso Robles Viva Tu! ($28) is produced from 100% Tempranillo, from the French Camp Vineyard in Paso Robles. The wine spent about 23 months in the barrel, a mix of new and neutral French and American oak. It has an alcohol content of 13.8% and only 125 cases were produced. The wine has a deep red, almost purple color, and an enticing spicy nose. On the palate, the spiciness was strong and appealing, with undercurrent of black fruits, vanilla, and leather. The tannins were moderate and the finish was fairly long, and very satisfying. This wine felt like some of the modern-style Tempranillo wines from Spain and would be perfect for a hearty dish, from a pasta Bolognese to a steak.
The 2007 Bodegas Paso Robles Vaca Negra ($24) is produced from a blend of 50% Tempranillo and 50% Mourvedre, all of the grapes from Vista Creek in Paso Robles. The wine spent about 21 months in new and neutral French oak. It has an alcohol content of 14.5% and only 192 cases were produced. This was a very impressive wine, especially as Mourvedre is one of my favorite grapes. It had a rich red color with a very compelling nose of bright fruit and spice. When you taste it, your mouth is filled with lush fruit, such as black cherry and hints of blueberry, accompanied by a melange of spice notes and an almost elusive earthy component. Though this would make an excellent food wine, I can enjoy it on its own too. The tannins are mild and the lushness of the wine makes you want more and more. I highly recommend this wine!
So support Bodegas Paso Robles and the other members of TAPAS.