Couple of places in Paso Robles I had been referred to as potential likes.
Chardonnay pale, clean and crisp, not a lot of oak-n-butter. Nice fruit-set. Next were three reds and I did not take close note of the variety because they were so dreadful. The second and third I did not even taste–a look and a sniff were all I needed. They were not straight varietals, but blends–not necessarily strange ones, but blends of this and that and after tasting the first one I just did not care and somewhat blocked out the info as it was being poured. All were 2010 and there was maybe a CF or a Cab with PS in it? and for sure one was a ME-CF blend and also a special 100$ bottling of Cab. All three were lifeless and oxidized beyond ANY redemption. Brown and dense in the glass and flabby, miserable maderized bullshit in the mouth. The alcohols on these things have to be over 15. Unabashedly reminiscent of my experiences with their neighbor Le Cuvier on more than one occasion. This stuff just plain and simply is not wine which should be produced in the 21st century. NOT EVEN THE 20TH!! Many many flaws going on in the cellar to produce wines of such horrible quality. And in case you wondered, they are not sulfite free. Next came a slight surprise–a freshly-bottled NV 100% Petit Verdot made up of 2006 and 2010, which one would THINK (based on the problems of the bottles above) would be even MORE oxidized and mis-handled. But NO! Deep vibrant ruby with clear edges. In the mouth brilliant and alive, with captivating fruit and balanced structure. Quite a surprise and I purchased a bottle to try at home at a future date. We opted out on tasting the “sparkling pomegranate wine”.
In surprisingly textbook fashion, the wines here presented themselves with a completely opposite set of issues as Carmody McKnight’s. Where the former were dull and lifeless from poor handling, cleanliness, lack of attention, too much barrel-time, low-intrusion–a myriad of possibilities–Hammersky poured for me a set of three reds so intensely manipulated, so boardroom-contrived and lab-construed, they were equally as unpleasant–for polar reasons. There was a 2010 ME, a 2012 Zin (which, in very strange TR etiquette, was told was “just bottled and has some issues”) and a 75$ 100% Cab which was club-only and not for sale (no, I am not a club-member, they just had it open). All three were afflicted with the same chemically note in the nose and fake, cloying fruit in the mouth. I was especially disappointed in the baller Cab–as I am sure it is their Cabs Of Distinction entrant. Go buy any 10$ Aussie cab–this is exactly the over-riding off-putting cookie-cutter fruit, ripeness, oak and structure arena all three wines originated from. Wines of this flavor-profile cause a pang to shoot up my temple. I can smell and feel them a mile away. I can not possibly recommend them. And no, aging ain’t gonna help. We passed on the “Naughty Princess Detained” charmat bubbler from Lodi, but hey: Knock yourself out!