Daou Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles Adelaida District 2018

Deep ruby color; dark cherry, blackberry, earth, tobacco, roasted coffee on the nose; dark cherry, blackberry, plum, blueberry, charred meat, espresso, vanilla, oak on the palate.

Daou Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles Adelaida District 2018

Dry; tasty tannins, no annoying bite on pop-and-pour. Integrating, persistent acidity. Bold, rich, powerhouse wine that is approachable and avoids brutish assertiveness. Good fruit, but definitely not a Cali fruit bomb. Same goes with the oak—it is there, but it is appropriate, not a pestering vexation. Smooth, easy drinker. 14.7% ABV

There is complexity, but there is no ostentatious flaunting that this is a high-end big boy you should be grateful and humbled for the opportunity to enjoy. The Daou brothers adroitly pull this off with their wines, and it is a charming attribute. This was made entirely with free-run juice, then aged 21 months in 100% new French oak. Daou tends to be assertive in their oak program, but somehow pulls it off and avoids their pours turning into poor oak monsters.

Dauo is an inspiring life story, underlining how enterprising immigrants are the soul and engine of America’s success. The saga begins in Lebanon in 1956 when Joseph and Marie Dauo married after a whirlwind romance. Beirut at that time was considered the “Paris of the Middle East.” Joseph built his carpentry business into one of the most successful furnishing companies in the region.

Daou proprietor and winemaker Daniel Daou
Daou proprietor Georges Daou

Then came Lebanon’s civil war in 1973. Daou family members were injured and spent two years recovering. As the war intensified, the family moved to France in 1975, settling in Cannes in the heart of Provence. Two Daou brothers, Georges and Daniel, fell in love with the region and its wine life. In the 1980s, they immigrated to California to pursue the American dream. They enrolled at UC–San Diego and studied electrical and computer engineering, then built a company—DAOU Systems—that revolutionized hospital computer systems worldwide.

In 1998, the brothers took DAOU Systems public. Daniel had been making wine in his garage in rural San Diego for years. With the sale of DAOU Systems, they had the resources to start a winery. They found land on a “mountain” in Paso Robles—at 2,200 feet, the highest elevation in the AVA—that was just 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean, with cool, ocean winds blowing through the Templeton Gap. Daniel shared his vision with his father. Joseph replied: “Go and don’t look back. Go full throttle.”

And so they did. Dauo creates exceptional wines and is an exceptional enterprise. Beautiful location. Sensitive and inclusive to the talents and needs of their employees and to their Dauo Mountain estate. They claim, with some authority, that Paso Robles is a blend of Bordeaux and Napa, and their wines and winery bear out that vision.

Daou Moutain, winery, and vineyards

Daou Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles Adelaida District 2018 is elegant and astonishingly smooth and approachable for a wine of this heft and pedigree. Fresh. Appropriate oak, tannins, acidity frame the plush, delicious fruits. Pair with beef prepared just about any way you wish; lamb; venison and boar; baked, grilled, roasted, sautéed chicken; pan-seared duck. Cheese—aged cheddar, gorgonzola, gouda; cheese with some age and complex flavors; triple crème brie. $85-90

Daou Vineyards website; many superb videos, really worth a visit

Daou winery and visitor center
Daou vineyard
Daou vineyard-morning
Daou vineyard-winter
Daou winery
Daou winery
Daou bell tower
Daou winery and vineyard
Daou vineyard
Joseph and Marie Daou