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Daou Mountain, in the vicinity of the Adelaida District of Paso Robles, stands alone at an elevation of 2,200 feet with every asset necessary for perfect Cabernet Sauvignon. Photo courtesy DAOU
ColumnsTaste of Wine

Taste of Wine: Cabs & Zins dominate in Paso Robles – Part 2

After an over eight-year search, some 13 years ago Daniel and Georges Daou planted their first Cabernet Sauvignon vines on what would become DAOU Mountain in the Adelaida District of Paso Robles. It was the pinnacle of what would become the largest wine district in California. It was then that they vowed to create California’s “first growth” wine, fulfilling the district’s promise as the world’s next benchmark for Bordeaux varieties based on the supreme red wine leader, Cabernet Sauvignon.

Of DAOU Mountain, Daniel Daou was quoted as saying “this terroir is naturally inclined to produce wines of great staying power. We spare no amount of imagination or technology in harnessing that power to make wines of dimension and elegance.”

The Zin king of Paso Robles, Larry Turley, proprietor of Turley Wine Cellars, shown directing his skills with food and wine at one of his many public Zinfandel-featured BBQs. Photo courtesy Turley Wine Cellars

After rallying their Paso winery neighbors whose Cab thoughts aligned with theirs, Daniel and Georges Daou in 2012 organized the Paso Robles Cab Collective and in their fourth year, in 2016, stood tall with pride as Paso Cabs stunned a world gathering of Cabs of Distinction competition, gathered at the Allegretto Resort in Paso. Judges declared that Paso cabs were on a par with Napa and Bordeaux-style wines.

“This event has shown the world that like other great regions of the world that grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso can deliver world class wines,” declared the chairman of the Paso Robles Cab Collective and DAOU Vineyards winemaker Daniel Daou. DAOU’s entry was their 2013 Estate Soul Of A Lion. This wine was the summit of a dream, to discover an unrivaled wine to change the paradigm of California Cabernet Sauvignon.

While Cabernet and Red Bordeaux varietals continue to be perfected in Paso, on our visit to the mountain, we learned that other exciting DAOU wines of “affordable elegance” were being marketed for the new season.

The “Bodyguard” is one to wait for, a Petite Verdot with Petite Sirah blend that Daniel Daou calls “approachable luxury.” Another next generation wine, already out, that made one our Top Ten Tastes selections for the first half of 2019 is “Unbound,” a blend of Petite Sirah, Tannat and Tempranillo, 2016. It has a rich nose of blueberry and cedar.

Two new projects are powering a buzz around the tasting room these days. One is a soon-to-be-20-acre parcel on the mountain top for Patrimony Winery and Wine Caves. The other is a newly purchased property in Cambria, DAOU Ocean, a restaurant with 360 degree views of the Pacific Ocean, about 20 minutes away from the winery.

Our sincere thanks to Georges and Daniel Daou for sharing their wonderful wine experience with us. Also, a grateful thanks to Lisa Raders, Daou private client experience specialist and Katherine Daou-Veroschi, trade ambassador, both totally dedicated to the DAOU experience. See for yourself at

Hidden Oak Winery is a jewel of a Cabernet Sauvignon favored winery, owned by Mike and Martha James. The San Francisco Chronicle competition has awarded Hidden Oak with several Double Gold awards for their wines, finessed so that the current reserve vintage from 2013 can be enjoyed to perfection without being aged. James attributes this to Paso soil perfectly suited for Cab wine grape production. Expect great cherry notes on the nose with blackberry and spice accents. The resultant flavors are velvety smooth and savory. Visit

Turley on top with Paso old vine Zinfandel

Larry Turley has never met an old vine Zinfandel vineyard he didn’t like, so he makes 47 different Zin wines from over 50 vineyards.

Turley was on our must-visit list, having been named a Top Ten Taste in our recent award-winning column. It was for his Ueburroth Vineyard Zinfandel 2016. Ueburroth scored a 94 rating from Wine Spectator for its powerful personality offering jammy, berry fruitcake spices and licorice flavor. In his “away “moments, he dabbles in Petite Syrah. His Hayne Vineyard 2016 is head trained, dry farmed and organic, sourced from Napa Valley.

Another exceptional wine is the Rattlesnake Ridge Zin from Howell Mountain Napa Valley from 2,600 feet elevation. It gets lots of sun and cooler nights resulting in strong tannins and an acid backbone, that’ll make you take another breath after intake. Stunning wines, brooding and complex, will have you at hello. See more at

Next week, the final 5 from Paso Robles. Don’t miss them.

Wine Bytes

• A Chardonnay Tasting Shootout happens at Winesellar and Brasserie from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. July 27. Cost is $35 per person for tastings of over 14 renditions, from unoaked to luscious buttery and bubbly. Cost is $30 for club members. Call (858) 450-9557 for an RSVP.

• North County Wine Company starts Happy Hour pricing 4 to 7 p.m. every Tuesday through Thursday. Half-price wines by the glass plus a wine special price every mid-week that will change weekly. Check it out on San Marcos Boulevard in San Marcos.

• Craftsman Tavern in Encinitas has a winemaker dinner with special guest William Allen of the NorCal Rhone Ranger Association at 6 p.m. July 31. Cost is $65 each for a five-course dinner with two Shepherds wines. All wines are guided along with no oak intervention. Mouthfeel and flavor are natural. Contact Mike at (760) 452-2000 for details.

• Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas will have its next Friday night tasting from 6 to 8 p.m. July 26 with the Battle of the Valleys. Sonoma and Napa Valley duke it out. Enjoy a Lewis, Chalk Hill, Oakville, Martinelli and others. Cost is $30 each. Check it out at


Top: Daou Mountain, in the vicinity of the Adelaida District of Paso Robles, stands alone at an elevation of 2,200 feet with every asset necessary for perfect Cabernet Sauvignon. Photo courtesy DAOU Vineyards