The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2010

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FAMiLY WiNerY SERIES Terroir-t DAOu ViNeYArDs BRINGS A FRENCH TWIST TO THE CENTRAL COAST by Meridith May / photos by Deborah Denker A dmittedly, Paso Robles wine country is home to some of California’s most unique terroir. As we start the 2,200 foot climb up DAOU Mountain—the high- est point in the Adelaida region—100 acres of vineyards stretch across its steep slopes. With vineyards straddling the wind-in- your-face Templeton Gap and the equally cool high-elevation Adelaida region with its calcareous/ limestone-pervasive soils, the grapes grown at DAOU get their personality from both sides of the Paso Robles paradigm, also achieving balance and perfect ripeness from well- managed vines. This is not only prime Cab country, but the specifi c soil content at DAOU Vineyards is so reminiscent of St. Émilion that the Bordeaux red varieties grown here, in addition to their elegance and great acidity, exude a distinctly French twist. Classical in style, with dry, chalky tannins and lusciously textured fruit, the latest vintages of DAOU Vineyards Cabernet (SRP $46) and Celestus (SRP $38)—a blend of 60% Syrah, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot—are aged in French oak barrels for 18 months. The DAOU 2007s, which Anthony Dias Blue awarded his highest ratings, have been sold out for months. “Paso Robles averages 700 vines per acre,” proprietor and winemaker Daniel Daou points out. “Here, we plant 2,300 vines per acre. It’s four times the work for the same amount of grapes; we average about a bottle of wine per vine. But the result is even ripeness and perfect balance, every year.” 78 / the tasting panel / june 2010 DAOU Celestus. We tasted the 2009 barrel sample DAOU Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. While it won’t release until 2011, its je ne sais quoi is already showing in the glass.

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