Broadside Merlot 2019, Paso Robles

Cost: $16

What: People often want to know what my favorite wine or favorite region is. My response is I’m glad we don’t have to pick one wine or one region. We can enjoy them all.

But one of my favorite regions is Paso Robles, which lies about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Because of climate and a diverse soil mix, the wineries of Paso Robles produce just about any kind of wine you would want.

The area produces some wonderful Bordeaux varietals, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. I recently tried the 2019 Broadside Merlot and loved it.

It’s full of fresh, vibrant fruit balanced by crisp acidity, which makes it a great wine with a meal. This is a good wine any time of year, but it is especially good on those warm grilling days of summer. Of course, in Augusta we grill all year long, so it’s a good one to keep on hand.

In the glass it is a brilliant ruby, looking like a young Bordeaux. I loved the complex aromas coming from the glass: blackberry, vanilla, cedar, fresh herbs and a touch of black pepper. On the palate I kept picking up new flavors as I drank, including black fruit, cherry pie and chocolate. The tannins are soft and muted, giving the wine just enough backbone to make it interesting. The finish is long and lingering.

The wine is a blend of 89% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, all grown at the Santa Margarita Ranch in Paso Robles. The wine spent 15 months in 14% new French barrels, with the rest in neutral French barrels.

Paso Robles is a large region halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It covers 666,500 acres with 11 sub-appellations. The rugged area gets maritime breezes and coastal fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean. With plenty of sun, the vineyards can see a temperature swing of up to 50 degrees between night and day.

The Santa Margarita Ranch is the site of Broadside’s first wine, from the 2006 vintage. All of Broadside’s vineyard sources are certified through the rigorous SIP program, which maintains some of the world’s strictest standards for environmental protection.

Winery: Broadside does not own any vineyards, but acts like a Burgundy negociant, buying grapes from particular growers with whom they have long term contracts.

Stephy and Brian Terrizzi, viticulturist and winemaking couple, were looking for a new vineyard source for their next venture in the mid 2000s when they found the Margarita Vineyard in the far south of Paso Robles.

The vineyard had been purchased by the Robert Mondavi family in 1999. They planted vines following the top sustainable farming practices of the time. Later they sold the land back to local ranch owners.

Fortunately for the Terrizzis, they were able to handpick their blocks at Margarita Vineyard for Broadside. The venture is named after the couple’s collection of broadside poems.

Beginning with the 2006 vintage they have produced wines that express and respect the land from which they come. Broadside sources Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot from the vineyard.

Sustainable viticulture is still important today, and all of Broadside’s vineyard sources are certified through the rigorous SIP program. Winemaker Adam LaZarre likes to say that “the results are wines that are a testament to the unique terroir of Paso Robles, joining pure fruit expression with balance and elegance.”

LaZarre joined the Broadside team in 2013. A Navy veteran who developed a love for wine while stationed overseas, he enrolled in the winemaking and viticulture program at Fresno State after finishing his military service. He ultimately fell in love with Paso Robles and has now lived in the region for more than 20 years.

Goes with: We had this silky-smooth wine with fresh ravioli we picked up on a trip to Trader Joe’s. It was a great pairing. We covered the cheese ravioli with a Paul Newman pasta sauce and we loved it.

The fruit flavors and the acidity of the wine nicely matched the sharp flavors of the cheese and tomato sauce. It was a great combination.

This wine also would pair well with many foods cooked on the grill, from grilled salmon with chile and lime to bistecca alla Fiorentina (a Tuscan steak made with thyme, rosemary and sage) to lamb chops.

This is a wine that deserves to be in your cellar and on your dinner table.

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