Though drinking a powerful Cab may not be top of mind on this dog-days-of-summer Friday, it may actually be the perfect time to toast the day with a bold Cabernet as these early September days bring the anticipation of autumn, the start of harvest and cooler weather that is surely around the corner.
Perched high atop what had become known as DAOU Mountain sits the sprawling DAOU Vineyards, the ideal location for producing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon filled with structure, complexity, and a wealth of character. Sitting at 2200 feet above sea level in the Adelaida District of Central California’s Paso Robles AVA, 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean, Daou Mountain is the highest peak in the Central Coastal Range with steep slopes filled with calcareous clay soils, the soil’s of Bordeaux’s beloved St. Emilion.
The combination of these soils, carrying elevations, the natural heat of the California sun, and the cooling breezes rolling off the Pacific creates this ideal climate to ripen fruit while keeping freshness and acidity. In the 1960’s celebrated California winemaker, André Tchelistcheff helped develop the mountain’s vineyards when the property was known as Hoffman Mountain Ranch, but it was really the Daou brothers, Georges and Daniel, who purchased the property thirty years later, who are revealing the true potential this terroir brings with their powerful yet elegant DAOU Cabernet Sauvignon wines.
The premier symbol of their efforts is showcased through DAOU “Soul of a Lion” Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($150) created as the hallmark of the vision for the estate, in honor of their father. Crafted from a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon 75% with 15% Cabernet Franc 15% and 10% Petit Verdot, creating texture and concentration in the powerful yet refined wine.
The current release, 2018, needs some time to fully integrate and let the tannins settle, but with a little air, the wine opens with a harmonious symphony of flavors. 2018 was a cooler vintage, reflected in the wine showing a balance of acid with tannin, strength with elegance. Aromas of wildflowers and violets meld with anise and nutmeg, leading to a palate of black fruits, blackberry, blueberry, black plum, and cherry mingling with dark chocolate, licorice, and leather with a focused mineral note of graphite carrying throughout as the concentrated finish generously lingers on the palate. Paso Robles is becoming known for producing a plethora of varieties with the wines from DAOU consistently revealing why this region is so well-suited for world-class Cabernet Sauvignon. André Tchelistcheff would surely be pleased. #Cheers!