DAOU Vineyards – Paso Robles
Brothers George & Daniel Daou discovered the land that was to become Daou Mountain 10 years ago, the result of their search to find an unrivalled terroir for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon. They bring the same drive, passion, exactitude & intensity that led these one-time refugees from the Lebanon to forge success in the business world to the cultivation of this land. The estate stands alone at 2,200 feet and is a true contender for ‘first growth’ stature with its soils, aspect and climate. This is partnered with the skill of the brothers in their pursuit of excellence in the vineyard and cellar. “Daou’s estate vineyards (which emphasizes Bordeaux varieties) are planted at high density on steep slopes in Adelaida District in a site once singled out by the great André Tchelistcheff for its potential. Grown in these soils and in this climate, Daou’s vines produce grapes with an extraordinarily high phenolic content, to which the estate’s winemaking has gradually adapted. Macerations are very short, with the wines finishing fermentation in barrel, but even so these inky, structured reds don’t lack for color or substance. Acidities are healthy, alcohols never in excess of 15%, and the wines are totally dry. I looked at two verticals in the course of my tasting, so I’m also in a position to observe that these wines evolve very slowly. There’s no one else making Cabernet Sauvignon like this in Paso Robles.”
The lush and luxuriant Chardonnay presents tropical aromas of pineapple, mango and banana, with accents of vanilla, honeysuckle, and hazelnut, having been aged for 7 months in 30% new French oak. The Reserve Chardonnay is voluptuous and voluminous on the palate, with cascading flavours of pineapple, nectarine, sweet melon and cinnamon toast, spending 11 months in 50% new French oak. A Rhône blend that usually contains some Zinfandel and Petite Syrah, The Pessimist offers up rich aromas of dark fruit, grilled meat, licorice and black olive. It’s full-bodied, rich and spicy, with good balance and an intense, flavourful finish. The Cabernet Sauvignon is richly structured and generous, with a sun-kissed core of fruit and a dry, fine-grained finish. Dark berries and damson define the full-bodied, concentrated and intense Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Rich and layered, there’s a lot of substance here, but it’s replete with sappy energy. 16 months in 50% new French oak. Comprising 86 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot and aged for 22 months in 100% new French oak, the Soul of a Lion is the estate’s flagship wine. The deep and complex bouquet of smoky cassis, incense, ripe plums and soil lead to a palate which is full-bodied, layered and complete, with imposing power and a savoury structure framing a deep core of fruit.