Paradigm Winery

Paradigm Winery

Paradigm Winery  

(par’ – a – dime) noun. An example that serves as a pattern or model. A pattern for perfection…

Paradigm Winery, located in the Oakville appellation of Napa Valley, handcrafts small quantities of estate-bottled red wine. We’re known for our Merlot and our Cabernet Sauvignon, though we also produce a tiny amount of Zinfandel and Cabernet Franc. Regardless of the varietal, our wines are a rich expression of the vineyard we’ve been farming now for twenty-nine years.

Paradigm Winery is owned and managed by Ren and Marilyn Harris, two winegrowers with extraordinarily deep roots in Napa Valley. Marilyn’s grandparents immigrated from Italy to Napa Valley in 1890, while Ren’s family came to California in 1769. Marilyn and Ren purchased Paradigm Vineyards in 1976, and began producing wine with the 1991 vintage. Since that first vintage, the wines have been made by renowned winemaker, Heidi Peterson Barrett. Heidi’s father, Dick Peterson, was instrumental in laying out and designing the winery.

2009 CABERNET SAUVIGNON, OAKVILLE

paradigm cabernet

The highly touted 2009 vintage produced big, lush, fully ripe wines that are well balanced and worthy of aging. Our ’09 Paradigm Cab has dark garnet color with a black cherry, berry, and cedar aroma. While big, ripe and rich, the wine shows power and a silky, smooth texture. Tannins are structural and should help this wine last several decades. Flavors are layered from this Cabernet, Merlot and Petit Verdot blend. Explosive, ripe fruit flavors marry with toasty French oak, moderate textural tannins, and good length. It is destined to be a classic vintage.

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Cobb 2008 Rice-Spivak & 2006 Emmaline Vineyard Pinot Noirs

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Cobb Pinot Noir Rice-Spivak Vineyard 2008

The Vineyard

This 6-acre vineyard is owned by Russell Rice and his wife, Dr. Helene Spivak. It is a few miles further inland than Cobb Wines’ other vineyards, but still influenced by the Pacific Ocean to the west. The soil is the Goldridge sandy loam found around much of this part of Sebastopol, California. However, extensive volcanic activity in the region’s past has laced the soil with an unusual amount of ash. This unique soil composition, together with a northern exposure, and the distinct varieties of Dijon and Swan pinot noir planted here, produce a characteristically aromatic, complex wine. Rice-Spivak is farmed by Cobb Wines’ longtime vineyard crew, and is the source for the Rice-Spivak Vineyard Pinot Noir. These distinctive clones are planted in an unusual mix of sandy loam and volcanic ash. 450 cases made.

Tasting Notes

Winemaker’s notes: Aromas and flavors of high-toned fruit including raspberries, Bing and Rainer cherry, stone fruits, bergamot, orange melon; minerals and earth. Crisp, yet creamy mouth-feel; bright acidity on palate.

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar. Josh Raynolds. “Bright red. Sexy aromas of candied red berries, cherry-cola, anise and fresh bay, with a hint of potpourri that gains strength with air. Juicy, penetrating raspberry and cherry flavors show increasing spiciness and weight as the wine opens in the glass. The finish strongly echoes the raspberry note and lingers with impressive clarity and persistence. This is balanced to age.” 92 Points

Harvest Notes

The 2008 growing season for the 2008 wines at our vineyards was another near-perfect event. The early season was mild. The pesky spring drizzle and fog that can reduce a crop – or if severe, eliminate it entirely – was minimal for a change. The coastal locations of our vineyards helped us avoid the hottest weather that arrived just prior to harvest, and the wildfire smoke that threatened all of us on the coast in late summer never reached our vineyards. Three bullets dodged. Not bad for farming

Technical Notes

450 cases produced
alcohol: 13.5%
3.31 pH
17 months in barrel
35% new French oak

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Cobb Pinot Noir Emmeline Vineyard 2006

The Vineyard

Emmaline Vineyard (“-line” rhymes with “vine”) is at the western margin of Sebastopol, California, very much influenced by the Pacific Ocean further to the west. The two Dijon varieties planted there are growing in Goldridge sandy loam, and like our other vineyards, produce about two tons per acre. However, the combination of the pinot noir varieties and the terroir of this small vineyard result in pinot noir wines that are characteristically delicate, beautifully complex, and with relatively low levels of alcohol.

Tasting Notes

Winemaker’s notes: Dark ruby color. Flavors and aromas of cherry-plum, raspberry, citrus, cranberry, and truffle; minerals and traces of clove, chocolate, and hazelnut. Has lovely finesse with clear acidity. A very complex and age-worthy wine.

Dan Berger’s Vintage Experiences
Issue 23, July 16, 2009
“Exceptional”
“Faintly earthy notes add depth to cherry, dried roses, and a note of spice. Silky yet still crisp. A subtler wine with only 12.8% alcohol and a 3.3 pH. Limited amounts left of [this] extraordinary wine.”

Harvest Notes

Not only was the fruit quality in 2006 nearly perfect, all components of ripeness and flavor came together at a relatively low sugar level. This resulted in a lower alcohol pinot noir with complexity and finesse.

Technical Notes

166 cases produced. 16 months in barrel. 30% new French oak. 12.8% alcohol.

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Varietal Characteristics of Some Common Wines

Varietal Characteristics of Common Wines

In order to appreciate wine, it’s essential to understand the characteristics different grapes offer and how those characteristics should be expressed in wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Zinfandel are all red grapes, but as wines their personalities are quite different. Even when grown in different appellations and vinified using different techniques, a varietal wine always displays certain qualities, which are inherent in the grape’s personality. Muscat should always be spicy, Sauvignon Blanc a touch herbal. Zinfandel is zesty, with pepper and wild berry flavors. Cabernet Sauvignon is marked by plum, currant and black cherry flavors and firm tannins. Understanding what a grape should be as a wine is fundamental, and knowing what a grape can achieve at its greatest is the essence of fine-wine appreciation.

In Europe, the finest wines are known primarily by geographic appellation (although this is changing; witness the occasional French and Italian varietals). Elsewhere, however—as in America, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand—most wines are labeled by their varietal names; even, sometimes, by grape combinations (Cabernet-Shiraz, for example). To a large extent, this is because in the United States, the process of sorting out which grapes grow best in which appellations is ongoing and Americans were first introduced to fine wine by varietal name. In Europe, with a longer history for matching grape types to soil and climate, the research is more conclusive: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, for instance, are the major grapes of Burgundy. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petite Verdot are the red grapes of Bordeaux. Syrah dominates northern Rhône reds. Barolo and Barbaresco are both made of Nebbiolo, but the different appellations produce different styles of wine. In Tuscany, Sangiovese provides the backbone of Chianti. A different clone of Sangiovese is used for Brunello di Montalcino.

As a result, Europeans are used to wines with regional names.

In time, the New World’s appellation system may well evolve into one more like Europe’s. Already California appellations such as Carneros and Santa Maria Valley are becoming synonymous with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Oregon’s Willamette Valley is known for Pinot Noir and Australia’s Hunter Valley for Shiraz; back in California, Rutherford, Oakville and the Stags Leap District are all associated with Cabernet-based red table wines. Wineries with vested financial interests in these appellations and the marketing clout to emphasize the distinctive features of the wines grown in these areas will determine how the appellation system evolves and whether specific wine styles emerge. The appellations themselves will also determine which grapes excel and deserve special recognition.

Following are descriptions of the most commonly used Vitis vinifera grapes. American wine is also made from native Vitis labrusca, especially the Concord grape. For definitions of wine-making terms mentioned, please see the glossary. For information about wine growing regions mentioned, please see the country descriptions.

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