Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Paloma Vineyard

Paloma Vineyard makes some of the finest wine in the world, especially a great Merlot. They also have one of the most beautiful views in the Valley.

View from Paloma

It is a unique, small, family run winery up in Spring Mountain near St. Helena. If you are a serious wine drinker and love great Bordeaux or Napa red wines, then you will certainly want to visit.  If you can't visit, then buy a bottle of their Merlot if you can find it.  This is not your one dimensional, easy to drink (but easier to forget) Merlot, the type that was so maligned in the movie Sideways.  It is a complex, layered, fascinating Merlot that is very different from your usual California Merlot regardless of price.

Paloma tasting room bar

The Paloma 2008 Merlot, like the great right bank red Bordeauxs, is primarily Merlot but is blended with 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.  It is 30% new French oak.  Deep ruby like in color, it has a blackberry aroma with a full luscious silky taste of ripe cherries and plums along with hints of chocolate and minerality that is incredibly layered and complex. The finish is very long and interesting, another sign of a great wine.  This wine is very well balanced so that it is quite drinkable now, but will obviously age well over the next ten or fifteen years.  The voluptuous layered complexity of this wine in mid palate along with its long finish, place it in a rare class.

This is the best California Merlot I've tasted in over forty years of wine tasting. Paloma's Merlot compares favorably quality wise with wines that sell for several hundred dollars but is priced at a mere $54.  It could easily be a cult wine that you would have to sign up years ahead of time to buy and then spend a small fortune on once you were privileged enough to be able to purchase a bottle.

Paloma tasting room

As with all wineries up on Spring Mountain, reservations are required but easily made by phone or email.  There is no charge for the tasting, which is in their own home, and Barbara Richards or her son Sheldon will spend an hour with you explaining their philosophy and their obvious love for growing and making one of the great wines of the world.  Although the Merlot is the only wine available for tasting, they do bottle a very limited amount of Cabernet Sauvignon every few years and offer it for sale when they have some, the 2009 selling for $54. Obviously, Paloma is a very special place. Paloma Vineyard is not just a wonderful winery; it is a labor of love by a remarkable family.

Paloma Vineyard
4013 Spring Mountain Road
St Helena, CA 94574
(707) 963-7504
Date of visit: December 28, 2011

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