The Adelaida sub-division of Paso Robles wine country brings about some of the most distinctive Cabernet Sauvignons in the entire California Central Coast. It’s a much cooler microclimate of its own in this part of town, so the berries have a long hang time on the vine, which makes for Cabs with a very deep flavor profile. But, it can be tricky—a lot can happen the longer the fruit stays unpicked as the harvest season wears on. The great wines from here have an unmistakable handmade quality, because that’s what it takes to succeed. The fruit for the 2011 OSO LIBRE Querida Cabernet Sauvignon wasn’t picked until November, which is an extraordinary wait-time if you consider many Napa Cabs are harvested in August these days, thanks to climate change. What you get in the Querida is a beautifully supple, pure, and fresh big Cab, full of smooth flavors of juicy black currant and plum, along with notes of cherry cola and cocoa. Soft and medium-bodied, never heavy tasting, the forwardness of the fruit is met by a nice cut of acidity for truly perfect balance, like an Olympic gymnast getting a 10 from the judges after perfectly sticking the landing after the routine. The finish to this wine’s routine is one that lingers and slowly fades with waves of recurring flavor. Needless to say, this is an absolutely delicious Cab that absolutely does California wine country proud. Please rise for the National Anthem during the gold medal ceremony. –J.M.
Great Wine: Spell Pinot Noir, Alder Springs Vineyard