2008 Zinfandel, Hillside, Paso Robles $36.00/ $432
14.8% alc, 180 cases produced
Our experimental “Hillside” is at O’Neill Vineyards on Creston Road. It was planted with eight different varietals, specifically to carry out vineyard and winemaking experiments. All the vines on our Hillside Vineyard are hand farmed and hand manicured to produce the highest quality wines possible in Paso Robles. The yields at harvest are manipulated to produce no more than two tons per acre with canopy management techniques that allow the vines to concentrate all their energy to high quality fruit development. The first thing one notices in the 2008 Hillside Zinfandel is its beautiful garnet red color. The nose exhibits notes of dried rose petals, black cherry, vanilla, spice and white pepper. On the palate flavors of ripe black cherries, and blackberries, wild strawberries burst forward, followed by toasted vanilla, white pepper and orange zest. Being Zinfandel the tannins are soft and well placed behind the fruit.

2007 Lagrein, Paso Robles $36.00/ $432
15.3% alc, 200 cases produced
Lagrein has become one of my absolute favorite grape varietals since I started making wine in 1982. It’s big, dark and extracted and produces a wine with a smooth and elegant mid palate and finish. Lagrein originates from Northern Italy’s, Trentino-Alto Adige region. It is a very important native varietal that makes a fascinating, dark and robust mountain wine. The area is situated in one of Italy’s most beautiful wine regions in the Tyrolean Alps, on the border of Austria and Switzerland. There is very little planted here in California, where it produces a different style of wine than the Lagrein grown in Alto Adige. One of the characters that is common throughout the different regions is a unique, flinty, mineral edge that can only be described as something you would taste in a crisp Chardonnay, but hidden in a dark and brooding red wine. I love it because it is so different than what we are used to in the red wines most common to the Central Coast of California. In the glass the 2007 Lagrein is a deep ruby red tending towards purple. Aromas of blackcurrant, sweet pea, earth and minerals (graphite) are in the forefront, with fragrant spice (black licorice and anise), leather and coco also rounding out this big wine. Tasting the Lagrein reveals wonderful flavors of black currant, black cherry and black plum, earth, tar, and spice. The tannins are very pronounced but integrated well into the fruit. The backbone of this wine is its balanced acidity that leads into a seamless finish which accentuates the spice of this wonderful rare grape.

2005 Lagrein, Paso Robles $60/ $720
14.6% alc, 170 cases produced

2005 Zinfandel, Paso Robles $36/ $432
16.0% alc, 170 cases produced
This is a big, jammy Zin, with strawberry, raspberry, and cherry flavors, some earthiness, and slightly spicy with a hint of powdery white pepper. It was aged in some new, and some two and three-year old American Oak barrels for a minimum of two years.

2004 Zinfandel, Hillside, Paso Robles $30/ $360

The Hillside Vineyard at O’Neill Vineyards is hand manicured to produce ultra low yields resulting in highly extracted, intense varietal character type wines. The 2004 Zinfandel is no exception. Intense canopy management techniques and a deficit irrigation program give these Hillside wines a higher skin to juice ratio that makes wines with big extraction levels. This Zin has strawberry cherry flavors up front with a jammy stonefruit midpalate, and a cinnamon spice and chewy oak finish. Well balanced at only 14.7% alcohol, this wine has been very popular and is nearly sold out. The last hurrah will be at this year's 2008 Zinfandel Festival with approximately 15 cases left for sale. The new 2005 Zin’s and Primitivo will released in late spring and are tasting great, so stay tuned.

14.6% alc, 190 cases produced


2003 Primitivo, Three Dogs Vineyard, Paso Robles $75/ $900
(Library Wine, Limit 2 Bottles per Order)
13.4% alc. 75 cases produced