Écluse Wines 2005 Paso Robles Ensemble
Only 300 Cases Produced
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Écluse is a small boutique winery of Lock Vineyards, located on the Westside of the Paso Robles AVA. Lock Vineyards started as growers for winery customers. Starting out as growers gave Écluse special insight that truly remarkable wine definitely begins in the vineyard. After Steve Lock won several gold medals in homemade wine competitions, the Écluse Wine Label was started. Écluse is dedicated to producing limited production, hand crafted, award winning wines.
Ensemble is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 25% Petit Verdot. The Cab is from the Lock Vineyard and the other fruit is sourced from small vineyards where Lock is intimately involved with the viticultural practices. In most cases Lock does the pruning, shoot thinning and all other vineyard work and has total control of the fruit. The Cabernet Sauvignon is a combination of cane pruned clone 08 and bi-lateral VSP trained clone 337. These vines are in a south facing block with heavy shale and limestone influenced soil on the knolls and clay/loam soils in the swales.
A blend of four of the five Bordeaux grapes, this luxuriant and seductive red is stuffed with fruit, but has the depth and structure to age superbly. All tasters noted how the wine came together nicely in the finish.
We noted a slight dark fruit aroma on the nose. The flavor profile leaned to the fruity side with cherries and plumb noted. The texture is smooth and very approachable now - the fruit is focused and substancial without being overpowering.
The winery suggested we pair Skirt Steak with Chimichurri sauce with this Bordeaux blend. The wine was smooth and well rounded enough to balance the Chimichurri sauce of the skirt steak. This food pairing works especially well in a pot luck BBQ party setting.
Our mission is to provide unbiased opinions of the wine being offered. These notes come from up to 10 guests who tasted this wine in a blind tasting format (wine is concealed so their identity is unknown). Why this format? Tasting blind completely throws out any hype associated with a certain winery, style, price point, etc; it forces the taster to accept what is in the glass without any predetermined notions. Our guests utilize Robert Parker's Glossary of Wine Terms for their comments for consistency purposes. In addition, we utilize the wine aroma wheel to enhance one’s ability to describe the complexity of wine flavor. Notes are posted on this wine during the tasting to ensure they accurately reflect the impressions.
|Blend||50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 25% Petit Verdot|
|Appelation||Paso Robles Westside AVA|
|Harvest Dates||Through-out October, 2005|
|Sugar at Harvest||24.X degrees Brix|
|Fermentation||About 7 days with 2 punchdowns/day|
|Aging / Cooperage||18 Months in 40% new French Oak and 60% of 2-year old and neutral oak.|
|Alcohol||15.1% by volume|
|Acidity||PH = 3.65, TA = 0.67|
The varietals are fermented separately in open top bins after cold soaking for two days. We used a combination of punch downs and delastage to control the temperature during fermentation and to enhance the extraction of color and flavor. Fermentations were completed in two weeks and all but the Cab were given two days of extended maceration. The wine was pressed off to French oak barrels, forty percent of which were new and sixty percent a combination of two year old and neutral barrels. We began making some preliminary blends in February, racked in June then checked and adjusted the blends in August. The wines were then racked again, blended and returned to barrels. We bottled in mid-March and released the wine in early September.
The nose invites you to explore the harmony of these Bordeaux varietals dominated by the classic Cabernet Sauvignon black cherry and currant overtone with the additional fruit and spice brought by the other varietals. Ensemble has a wonderful tannin/acid balance and provides a long, lingering finish. Very approachable now but will definitely age well in the bottle.