Very deep ruby-purple color; dark cherry, blackberry, mulberry on the nose; dark cherry, blackcurrant, raspberry, plum, blackberry, crème de menthe, dates on the palate.
Dry; impressively smooth, well-behaved in the mouth. Silky, integrated tannins, deftly balanced acidity. Clean, precise flavors. Full, harmonious body. Made with 81% cabernet sauvignon free-run juice blended with 13% cabernet franc and 6% petit verdot. Aged 22 months in 100% new French oak. Another extraordinary winemaking achievement from Paso Robles and Daou Vineyards. 15.2% ABV
Round, layered, complex, delicious. Marvelously long finish. Exceptional phenolics—chemical properties that give wine its color, structure, tannins, aromas, mouthfeel—thanks to the unique terroir of Daou Mountain. I usually ignore scores, but Robert Parker’s website scores this 95, Wine Enthusiast 97, and Jeb Dunnuck 94-96.
Part of the magic is a special oak barrel Dauo created for Soul of a Lion. The wood is very rare “pink oak” aged for five years in the elements in Bordeaux. That attention to detail delivers the amazing tannins and smooth mouthfeel signatures of this special wine. About one-third of the barrels used to age the wine are made with this elegant oak.
Yeast drew the same attention to detail. The yeast is native to the estate, but proved to be of such quality and refinement that it now is used around the world. More details: every cork is checked and verified so there will be no corked bottles; all grapes are hand-picked and optically sorted so only the highest quality grapes go into the wine.
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 region’s most successful furnishing companies.
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 and settled 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.
The brothers took DAOU Systems public in 1998. Daniel had been making wine in his garage in San Diego for years, tending a one-acre plot of cabernet sauvignon. With the sale of DAOU Systems, the brother had 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, inclusive to 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 their vision. They are best known for their cabs—especially this Soul of a Lion, named in honor of their father.
Daou Vineyards Soul of a Lion Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles Adelaida District 2020 continues the winery’s record of excellence. It delivers conclusive evidence Paso Robles produces wine to compete with the world. Creamy, complex, layered, magnificent fruit, masterfully made both in the vineyard and winery. Signal achievement by winemaking family with an heroic and inspiring backstory. Pair with lamb; wild game—venison; quality cuts of medium-rare beef; roasted chicken or duck. This easily can be savored all by itself or paired with semi-hard, aged, cow’s milk or sheep’s milk cheese. $150