Everything’s coming up Roses,” Stephen Sondheim
Founded by Augustin Huneeus, who was Chilean by birth and spent 25 years in the wine business before becoming president of Estancia in 1985, the winery has pursued its mission of making and marketing high-quality wine at an affordable price. Consistently they have delivered on that focus, using warm Paso Roble days, cool nights and low yields to support their mission. Today’s winemaker, Scott Kelley, joined Estancia in 2007 after his graduation from the University of California-Davis, followed by a stint at Robert Mondavi winery.
A translation of the Spanish word for “estate,” Estancia continues its strive to deliver on its stellar history of consistent quality. I was thrilled to be able to recently taste through three of their red wines – all priced below $16, which seems to be Milwaukee’s pricing “sweet spot.” Here are my tasting notes.
1) Estancia Merlot, 2009, Central Coast, $16. Joyous purple/ruby color with heavy body. Deep, jammy nose with complex licks of blueberry, plum, a touch of cinnamon and a bit of cassis. In the mouth, it was rich and smooth with deep, generous fruit. Good finish. A-
2) Estancia Zinfandel, 2009, Paso Robles, $12. Deep red hue with heavy body. Wildly brambly nose exudes dancing hints of blackberry, cherry and boysenberry. On the palate, wildly fruity notes continued unabated. Long, easy finish, which is typical for a nice Paso Robles Zin. Good for price! A+
3) Estancia Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009, Paso Robles, $16. Deep ruby robe with heavy body. Rich and deep, almost haunting nose redolent with plum and spicy cherry – fun. Deep and spicy on the palate, easing into a long, clean finish – typical of a Paso Robles red. Very nice, but ever-so-slightly outgunned by the Zinfandel. A-
Today’s winner, finally decided by an extra half-hour in the glass, was the Zinfandel. The price was a winner, as well.
Cheers to you, Scott Kelley and crew!