From their 45-acre vineyard in Paso Robles’ distinguished El Pomar District, Burbank Ranch Vineyard & Winery recently released a selection of estate-produced red wines that eloquently express the varied terroir from which they originate.
“We aged this current release of wines primarily in neutral oak so that we could plainly observe the full expression of each varietal,” said Fred Burbank, Proprietor, along with his wife, Melody Burbank. “In their fourth and fifth vintages, these vines consistently confirm our belief in the potential of this vineyard.”
2012 “Morning Fog” Grenache (114 cases produced, $36)
Grenache (or Garnacha, as it’s known in Spanish) originated in the Aragon region of northern Spain. This wine ripens late, so it needs hot, dry summers to fully mature, making it ideal for Paso Robles. Named after the fog that rolls through the Templeton Gap every night and lingers at daybreak on Burbank Ranch, the 2012 “Morning Fog” is light-bodied and brightly-colored with aromas of strawberry, perfume, and pepper, followed by flavors of red fruits, and cola.
2012 “Summer Moon” Mourvèdre (61 cases produced, $39)
Named for an ancient city in Eastern Spain, the Mourvèdre variety has a tendency to both bud and ripen late – it is the last grape to be harvested at Burbank Ranch every year. Preferring “its face in the hot sun and its feet in the water,” Mourvèdre requires very warm weather, low leaf-to-fruit ratio, and adequate water; hence the name “Summer Storm.” The 2012 Mourvèdre offers a complex mélange of aromas, with earthy and herbal notes of thyme and underbrush, as well as floral notes of tuberose and gardenia. On the palate, flavors of grilled plum, smoke, and black pepper accompany fine acids, making this an excellent wine to pair with food.
2012 “Volunteer” Sangiovese (234 cases produced, $32)
The star grape throughout central Italy, Sangiovese comes from the Latin sanguis Jovis or “the blood of Jupiter.” Sangiovese thrives in soils with a high concentration of limestone, which is present throughout the Paso Robles AVA, producing elegant wines with wonderful aromas. Burbank Ranch Sangiovese is named after a little daisy-like flower that blew in with the wind and set up shop between two rows of grapes in the vineyard. The 2012 “Volunteer” shows classic Sangiovese aromas of dust and red fruit – cherry, strawberry – as well as cloves and candy. The grapes’ naturally high acidity manifests on the palate and in the lengthy finish for a casual, elegant, and extremely food-friendly wine.
2012 “ Winter Moon” Tempranillo (47 cases produced, $41)
Tempranillo is the diminutive Spanish word for “little early one,” reflecting its early harvest dates in the Rioja region of Spain. These grapes thrive in extremes of daytime and nighttime temperatures, making them perfectly suited to the climate in Paso Robles. Thick grapeskins from the 2012 “Winter Moon” Tempranillo produced a deeply-hued wine with aromas of red fruit and earth, and on the palate, a velvety texture blanketing firm tannins. This wine is well-paired with grilled meats, game, and aged cheeses.
2012 “Changing Leaves” Red Blend (187 cases produced, $52)
This blend of 43% Merlot, 28% Malbec, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc is named after the vivid colors of grapevines as fall turns to winter in the Burbank Ranch vineyard. Merlot, the principal grape in the blend, comes from the diminutive of the word merle, the French name for a blackbird, perhaps in reference to the color of the grape. Initially planted on the left bank of the Gironde River, it is thought that Merlot, like Cabernet Sauvignon, is the offspring of Cabernet Franc. At Burbank Ranch, this blend produced a dark, fruit-forward wine with effusive primary notes of blackberry jam, plum, cassis and cherry cola, laced with anise and black pepper. Full-bodied, lush and mouth-filling, this wine develops significantly in the glass.
2012 “Hidden Path” Malbec (116 cases produced, $46)
Malbec (meaning “bad mouth” in French) is a complete misnomer for this wonderful, mouth-friendly wine. At Burbank Ranch, the name for this Malbec originates with one of the dry creek beds running through the vineyard, which looks like a path obscured by stately oak trees. Ideal for growth in the Paso Robles AVA, Malbec grapes thrive on sun and heat, which, in the case of the 2012 vintage, produced a dark, concentrated purple-colored wine. Aromas of cherries, dried plums, and huckleberry liqueur meet warm vanilla, toast, leather, rose petals and perfume. Generously-bodied with ripe tannins and a lengthy finish, the 2012 “Hidden Path” Malbec can stand up to spicy Mexican, Cajun, Indian, Thai or Italian fare and pairs perfectly with any barbecue.
2013 “Fall Colors” Zinfandel (373 cases produced, $34)
In the Puglia region of Italy, Zinfandel is known as “Primitivo,” which could translate to “original,” “wild,” or even “savage.” In this case, the Paso Robles terroir produced a rich, dark-colored, full-bodied red wine with hints of raspberry, blackberry, anise, cherry, spice, and pepper. The engaging, velvety texture of this wine complements any dish from grilled meat, burgers, chicken and stews to seafood.
For more information on Burbank Ranch wines, please go to www.BurbankRanch.com.