I hate in-town tasting rooms. There I said it. I like being out on the estate, in wine country, even if it means my car gets dusty. Fording streams are an extra point. But those are several other stories. Of course, there are far more huge disgusting edifices to tourism IN the vineyard, ON the estate than there are actual BMW-friendly in-town tasting rooms, but the point here remains I *sigh* just a tiny bit when I want to sample or purchase a label and discover I do not have to drive out into the fields, but might actually have to parallel-park in order to visit.
To wit: I purposely missed out on Ancient Peaks for several years even though I was totally enamored with the unique area they source their grapes–Santa Margarita–and had followed their forming and were familiar with most of the players involved. But I did not taste them for years because–instead of having a quaint little place out at the Ranch–they built a nice, modern visitor center right smack-dab in downtown Santa Margarita, CA. Not too long ago I was bored and driving by and after tasting the wines, kicked myself.
I just expected these huge over-ripe hi-pH jammy fruit-bombs–tourist wine–and not anything serious. Boy was I wrong. This bottle, for example. Medium dark ruby, tiny clear edges, but still considerably staining. Initially a little tight but blooms and explodes with a little air into a massive, round bouquet of spice and egg-white. Instant fruit, and not some cheap gamay crap the people in the huge shiny black buses love–this is perfectly polished, sophisticated cab fruit usually associated with bottles twice this price. A shockingly low 13-3 AL (for the area)! Beautiful acids start curling in and a whallop of tannin punctuates the finish. All-in-all a VERY NICE, rich, deep bottle of wine for this price-point. Full retail is about 25$ and discounts at various local retailers bring it to almost half that if you play your cards right. Highly recommended and with the backbone which makes me really want to be a fly on the wall when the tourists taste it.
2011 ANCIENT PEAKS Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 13.3