Wine Review – 2006 Villa Creek “Willow Creek” Cuvee, Paso Robles, California

2006willowcreekcuveeWinery: Villa Creek Cellars

Bottling: 2006 Villa Creek “Willow Creek” Cuvee, 60% Grenache/20% Syrah/20% Mourvedre

Region: California

Sub-Region: Paso Robles

Estimated Retail Price: $31 – $35

Purchase Details & Tasting Source: Purchased a bottle during dinner at Hiroshi’s Eurasian Tapas for approximately $45.

Tasting Notes: This wine is a high octane basket of flavor, fruit and complexity.  The Willow Creek is a good example of a wine that knows how to balance its high alcohol levels with fruit, tannin, extraction and anything else that morphs into the finish product.

On the nose you get sweet fruit smells of raspberry mingled with dark fruits and a spice like character.  In the mouth, you get the same raspberry, blackberry and blueberry flavors along with more lively spices.  The wine did some serious dancing in our mouths.  That’s how the wine felt.  Lively.

The grenache really shines in this blend, but the syrah and mourvedre add just enough earth and meat to balance what would otherwise be a cloying wine without those masculine components.

Food and Context in Which to Enjoy: Food and wine pairing purists will most likely tell you that this wine will just crush anything eaten with it, but I don’t think so.

We had a rib-eye steaks, Chilean sea bass with browned butter and sashimi with a vinegar based sauce and the wine worked well with everything.  Because it worked well in this setting, I think it can be a pretty flexible wine across a spectrum of cuisines.

This wine would also be great for those occasions where everyone brings a bottle to share, whether it be at dinner or a casual wine get-together.  It may not win the praises of everyone, but it’ll sure garner some attention.

Winery Background: Villa Creek Cellars makes  3,000 cases of wine spread across approximately 11 bottlings; truly a boutique, artisan producer of wines.    They aim to make a variety of Rhone inspired blends using fruit from several select vineyards in the Paso Robles area.

The vineyards are Ohana, Denner, James Berry and Booker.  You should really keep an eye on producers making wine from these vineyards, including the vineyards themselves that also produce their own wines.

I haven’t seen anything from James Berry, but I have tried wines from Denner, Booker and Graves Winery (Ohana vineyard) and the wines are fantastic.

I’ve tried several other wines in the Villa Creek portfolio and they are outstanding as well.  Seek them out.

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