Landmark Vineyards Grand Detour Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2018

Deep ruby color; melange of red fruit, potpourri, blackberry, tombacco, lavender on the nose; blackberry, black cherry, plum, strawberry, oak, pepper on the palate.

Robert Hall Paso Red, Paso Robles 2017

Dry; fine-grained, pleasing tannins with balancing acidity (3.72). Rich and inviting. Smooth, approaching soft in the mouth. Full body. Very fruit-froward blend of 39% zinfandel, 33% petite sirah, 12% petit verdot, 9% tempranillo, 7% syrah. Plenty of alcohol, as you would expect from such ripe fruits—15.7% ABV.

Significant but not overdone oak from 18 months in French and Eastern European barrels. Zin and petite sirah—well-suited for Paso Robles—lead the full-flavor charge. The alcohol and ripeness give illusion of sweetness. Folks who treasure almost-jammy, high-octane, massive California dark fruit bombs will find this thrilling, especially at its price point.

Robert Hall was a small-business visionary in Minnesota who found success in construction, bowling centers, travel agencies, restaurants, and champion horse breeding. That allowed him to follow his heart to wine. He and his wife, Margaret, founded the winery in 1999. It grew to become the fifth-largest in the Paso Robles region and won Golden State Winery of the Year at the California State Fair in 2010.

Robert Hall

In addition to Robert Hall’s business acumen, the website notes: “Acclaimed winemaker Don Brady has been the creative force behind our award-winning wines since the beginning. Through his hands-on approach, Don has been pivotal in bringing acclaim to Paso Robles wines, and instrumental to elevating the valley’s status as the premier winemaking region.”

Robert Hall winemaker Don Brady

Brady is a Texas product. He studied at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, the heart of the Texas High Plains AVA. He worked at Pheasant Ridge Vineyard, a trailblazing Texas wine operation, and the University of Texas experimental wine and grape program. After university, he joined Llano Estacado Winery, an operation that established Texas and the High Plains as significant, if unexpected, players in the wine world. After moving to California, Brady earned worldwide acclaim as the recipient of the International Wine & Spirits “Wine of America” Award and, in 2006, he was recognized as “Winemaker of the Year.”

Robert Hall winemaker Amanda Gorter

Amanda Gorter joined the Robert Hall team in 2016 as an assistant winemaker the year before this vintage. She became the winemaker with Brady in 2019, two years after this vintage. Gorter earned a degree in biology with a winemaking certificate from UC-Davis.

Two years after Robert Hall’s death in 2014, O’Neill Vintners & Distillers purchased the complete operation. O’Neill is one of the top wine producers in California. Some of its brands include Line 39, Harken, Day Owl Rosé, Austerity, Exitus, and Charles Woodson’s Intercept. Founded in 2004 by entrepreneur Jeff O’Neill, the company specializes in national brands, exclusive labels, and premium wine and spirits. Annual production exceeds 850,000 9-liter cases.

Paso Robles is located 20 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It benefits from extreme diurnal shifts—100 degree days plunge, at times, to 50 degree nights. Heat ripens grapes and generates vivid fruits. Cool preserves acidity. Many of the world’s best wine vine-growing regions benefit from this contrast between hot days and cold/cool nights.

Robert Hall Paso Red, Paso Robles 2017 is bold, rich, loaded with dark ripe fruit flavor and accompanying significant alcohol. Easy drinker with plushness and softness in the mouth. Decadent delight. Pair with beef, especially grilled; lamb; veal; baked chicken and duck; meat-lover pizza; barbecue; baby-back ribs; pulled pork; comfort food—meatloaf, burgers and sliders; smoked meats; Spanish tapas. Cheese—hard, aged cheese; cheddar; manchego; aged gruyere; havarti; feta; gruyere. $18-20

Robert Hall Winery website, look for “regenerative viticulture” video

Robert Hall Winery
Robert Hall Winery and vineyard
Robert Hall and Don Brady
Robert Hall early days