This complex big bold expressive red blend was featured at the Saturday afternoon tasting at our local wine shop, Vin Chicago in our Chicago suburb of Naperville. We grabbed a bottle and took it BYOB to lunch with L and friends Bill and Beth at Paris Bistro Cafe which we've featured before in this blog.
This complex wine was best with food and was a great when accompanied by the country cheese and meats/pate' plate (shown below left) and our entrees.
Desparada is the artwork of owner/winemaker Vailia Esh who is married to Russel P. Fromm of Herman Story wines. In her words, she has been a 'wine importer, broker, retailer, cellar rat, harvester, and now vintner'.
This label from her collection of wines, is bold, expressive, and imaginative, sourced from numerous sites on California's Central Coast. She draws inspiration from the finest wines from famous classic wine areas such as Pauillac, Chateauneuf and Montalcino, but she is not inhibited or constrained to confine herself and her wines to those varietals and styles.
Vailia writes that she 'seeks to discover and explore new horizons, guided not by relying on old maps but more by spirit than style with each wine representing a particular vision, in each vintage, using new knowledge, varietals and vineyards to bring that vision into sharper focus'.
Her approach may be summed up in the quotes featured on her website from Virginia Wolfe or this adaptation from Henry David Thoreau: “If a woman does not keep pace with her companions, perhaps it is because she hears a different drummer. Let her step to the music which she hears, however measured or far away.”
Esh's Desperada branding is imaginative and quite distinctive with a collection of wines with unique names with label featuring vintage historic looking tintype or daguerreotypes photographs (left) of Victorian maidens in various random settings clad in nothing but a layer of line scribbling on the image.
Desparada "Sackcloth & Ashes" Central Coast Proprietary Red 2013
This 2013 "Sackcloth & Ashes" is a complex melange, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (39%), Cabernet Franc (17%), Petit Verdot (16%), Malbec (14%), Merlot (7%), and Sangiovese (17%). Eight hundred cases were produced.
The fruit is sourced from numerous vineyards from several areas across the region - Chelle Mountain, Coghlan, D'ambino, Luna Matta, Santa Barbara Highlands, Vogelzang and White Hawk. The range is so diverse that the appellation designation is simply and broadly stated as 'California'.
Winemaker's notes - This is the memory of the abandoned abbey you discovered when in lithe summer nights, when you were young and alone. Crushed violet, ripped jeans, quarter sawn spruce, blueberry cake, warmed sage, buckwheat honey, anisette, chocolate brownie batter, ancient incense, cherry-skin cigar, palo santo smudge and sassafras bark.
This is the most tasty, smoothest and most complex wine I recall ever tasting from the Paso Robles Central Coast region. With such a broad blend of so many diverse varietals this might have come across as disjointed or even schizophrenic but it was nicely balanced and very approachable even at this young age. This is remarkable too given the 15.2 alcohol content. I look forward to obtaining more, and to trying more labels from this producer.
Dark garnet purple colored, full bodied, complex, rich bright, expressive but smooth and nicely polished with ripe blue berry fruits accented by a layer of sweet soft mocha, hints of vanilla, violet and cinnamon spice with sweet oak on the moderate finish.
RM 92 points.