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Three winemakers to have on your radar

Three winemakers to have on your radar - McPrice Myers, Edgar Torres, Russell From

Recently, a few wine geek friends and I organized a wine tasting trip to Paso Robles. We all met up and then our driver whisked us off to our first stop Barrel 27‘s tasting room at 2323 Tuley Ct. Suite 110, in Paso Robles. I’d made an appointment for us to taste the wines from Barrel 27, McPrice Myers, Herman Story and Bodega de Edgar. Barrel 27 is made by two young winemakers, McPrice Myers and Russell From. Their cellar master is Edgar Torres. Essentially, Barrel 27 is a collaborative effort while each winemaker has his own personal label as well. We walked into the tasting room (located in an industrial area just off the highway), grabbed a spot at the bar and proceeded to work our way down the list.

*2009 Barrel 27 “Sittin’ Pretty” Viognier – heady floral nose, honeysuckle, tangerine, orange marmalade. 100% Viognier. Most of the wine was done in stainless steel except for one neutral oak barrel. Retail price: $18

2008 Barrel 27 “High on the Hog” – blend of 39% Grenache Blanc, 36% Viognier, 20% Roussanne, 5% Marsanne. Florals on the nose with peach, honey and melon on the palate. Done half in oak and the rest in stainless steel. Wine Spectator 88 points. (Points, smoints, I drink wine, not points.) Retail price: $15

2005 Barrel 27 Central Coast Rosé of Syrah – 80% Syrah, 20% Grenache. Flavors of raspberry, cherry and smoky orange. This is a fabulous barbecue wine. Some of the Syrah was bled off soon after it came into contact with the skins. (This method of making rosé is called saignée -a French winemaking term). This results in a pink wine because there isn’t enough contact with the grape skins to make the wine red. Retail price: $13

2007 Barrel 27 “Rock and a Hard Place” Grenache – Nose of black and red raspberries, blueberries and dried cranberries. On the palate, flavors of the aforementioned berries plus hints of black tea and spice. Drinking this wine reminded me of wine tasting in France’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape region, where Grenache is often the primary grape. Retail price: $18

2006 Barrel 27 “Right Hand Man” Syrah – Aromas of black cherries, black pepper, anise and plum with flavors of black raspberry, pepper and hints of smoke. Retail price: $18

2007 Barrel 27 “Head Honcho” Syrah – Nose of ripe black fruit, sage and smoke. Palate of blackberries, cranberries, cola, pepper, clove, anise and dark chocolate. Retail price: $28

2007 Barrel 27 “Hand Over Fist” – Rhône style blend of 52% Syrah, 29% Grenache, 19% Mourvedre. Aromas of black plum, blueberry, rhubarb and violets. Palate of black cherry, blackberry, currants and spice. Retail price: $30

2006 Barrel 27 “Bull by the Horns” – Blend of 50% Petite Verdot, 25% Syrah, 25% Tempranillo. Aromas of blackberry, cocoa, clove, anise, pepper dominate the nose. The palate is fruit forward (blueberry, black plum, blood orange) and backed up clove, cinnamon, tea and vanilla.

Tasting in the barrel room

Herman Story wines just waiting to be tasted in the barrel room

After tasting through the Barrel 27 list we were ushered through a doorway behind the bar and into the back of the warehouse where barrels and were stacked to the ceiling. We were surprised and delighted to be greeted by Russell From, McPrice Myers and Edgar Torres. They let us know that they would be leading us through a combined tasting of wines from all three of their personal labels. What an unexpected and exciting surprise! After all the introductions, we got down to tasting. Each winemaker stood by a makeshift table (made an upended barrel) ready to pour his wine. Here are the notes I managed to scribble down during this little adventure. The wines marked with an * are the ones that made it into the trunk of my car:

*2009 Bodega de Edgar Albariño – lively acidity, ginger, lychee – one of the best Albariños I’ve tasted.

*2009 McPrice Myers Larner Viognier – gorgeous floral nose, lychee, tropical fruits, creamy mouthfeel. 177 cases produced. Retail price: $28

2008 Herman Story “Tomboy” – blend of 80% Viognier, 10% Marsanne, 10% Roussanne. The Viognier is from Whitehawk Vineyard and the Marsanne and Roussanne grapes are from Bien Nacido Vineyard. Florals, honey, apricot and nectarine. My scribbled notes say “Tomboy will get your friends to stop drinking crappy white wine”. 228 cases produced. Retail price: $36

2009 McPrice Myers Roussanne – This was a barrel sample. Jasmine, honey. Fruit sourced from the James Berry Vineyard (Paso’s premier source of Rhône varietals).

*2008 Bodega de Edgar Garnacha – A dear friend brought me a bottle of this a few months back – it knocked my socks off! Some whole clusters were used to make this wine. Blackberry, raspberry with anise and baking spices on the finish.

*2007 McPrice Myers “L’Ange Rouge” Grenache – 92% Grenache, 4% Syrah, 4% Mourvedre. Fruit from Alta Mesa and Larner Vineyards. Big but still elegant with flavors of red raspberry, cranberry, bittersweet chocolate, tobacco leaf. 575 cases produced. Retail price: $36

*2008 Herman Story “On the Road” Grenache – Fruit from Larner, Santa Barbara Highlands and Derby Vineyards. Cranberry, black raspberry, clove, anise, nutmeg, coffee and leather. 398 cases produced. Retail price: $36

*2008 Bodega de Edgar Tempranillo – Fruit sourced from French Camp Vineyard. Boysenberry, with vanilla and dusty earth on finish (reminded me of Sangiovese)

*2008 McPrice Myers “Altas Vinas” – 47% Mourvedre, 34% Grenache, 19% Syrah. The fruit is sourced from the Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard located high in the Southern Santa Barbara Mountains. 243 cases produced. Retail price: $36

*2008 Herman Story “Casual Encounters” – 40% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre. This is the first vintage of this SGM blend. The Grenache was whole cluster and was sourced from Thompson. The Syrah is from Laetitia. The wines were 100% co-fermented. Earth, leather, pepper, black plum and chocolate. 154 cases produced. Retail price: $36

*2008 Bodega de Edgar “Mis Pasos” – 42% Syrah, 41% Merlot, 17% Tempranillo. Gorgeous, black fruit, coffee, leather, spice and earthy notes. 25 cases produced. Retail price: $45.

*2007 McPrice Myers Larner Vineyard Syrah – 3% Viognier was co-fermented with the Syrah. Flavors of black plum, dried blueberry, raspberry, hints of violets. 142 cases produced. Retail price: $36

*2008 McPrice Myers Larner Vineyard Syrah – the ’07 and the ’08 are deeply colored and dense with flavor. Also, both vintages have long finishes. Retail price: $36

*2007 Herman Story “Nuts and Bolts” Syrah – This is the second vintage of “Nuts and Bolts”. Deep dark color, black cherry, baking spices, white pepper, earth, bacon – super long finish. 522 cases produced. Retail price: $36

*2008 McPrice Myers “Beautiful Earth” – 79% Syrah, 16% Grenache, 5% Mourvedre. Flavors of black plum, blueberry, blackberry, baking spices and coffee. 650 cases produced. Retail price: $36

*2007 McPrice Myers Les Galets Vineyard Syrah – 100% Syrah – gorgeous deep ruby color. Blackberry, white pepper, anise, bittersweet chocolate, clove and hints of mint and tobacco leaf. 194 cases produced. Retail price: $36

These beautifully-crafted, small production wines are really, really, really worth getting your hands on. A huge thank you goes out to Russell From, McPrice Myers and Edgar Torres for personally introducing us to their fabulous wines. Thanks guys!

* – this marks wines I was compelled to bring home

A selection of Herman Story wines

A selection of Herman Story wines

Herman Story wines - the backs of the labels

Herman Story wines - the backs of the labels

Edgar risking life and limb to find us a couple bottles of his La Guerra white wine

Edgar risking life and limb to find us a couple bottles of his La Guerra white wine

Was it something McPrice said?

Was it something McPrice said?

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