Wine Critic Owen Bargreen Tasting - June 2023
"It brings me great pleasure to share one of the outstanding producers of Paso Robles. Caliza, Spanish for 'limestone', connects the name to the 20-acre Caliza vineyard located on the west side of Paso Robles. The vineyard is predominantly comprised of hillsides with south-facing slopes which leads to maximum sun exposure. Set at 900-1200 feet above sea level in Templeton Gap area, the vineyard faces strong diurnal shifts which creates some nice tension in the wines. Having visited this spot last year, it is extremely windy which further stresses the vines, producing very concentrated grapes.
Proprietors Carl and Pam Bowker, purchased this land which is located near stalwarts L’Aventure and Booker. Bowker has a degree from Napa Valley College’s Viticulture and Enology associate program and his wines have improved with each year. I love the new Caliza ‘Kissin’ Cousins’ White Wine (OB, 93) which is smooth and viscous with fantastic flavor range. Here are the outstanding new wines by Caliza."
2022 Caliza ‘Kissin’ Cousins’ White Wine- This edition of the ‘Kissin’ Cousins’ includes 38% Viognier and 32% Grenache Blanc with smaller parts Picpoul and Roussanne. It is viscous and marvelously textured with bright underlying acidity and good weight. Kiwi, sweetened gooseberry and green melon flavors combine with copious minerals and salted nut undercurrents on the palate. Enjoy this complex white wine now and over the next seven years. Drink 2023-2030- 93
2021 Caliza ‘Kankret’ Grenache- This 2021 edition was aged entirely in concrete tanks and utilizes Grenache clonal selection 362. Deep and concentrated on the palate, this shows Mandarin orange rind flavors that mingle well with ripe strawberry, red currants, and shades of stony soils. Very juicy and delicious, this is already beautifully evolved stuff that will live on for at least another ten years. Drink 2023-2033- 94
2020 Caliza ‘Azimuth’ Red Wine- The 2020 ‘Azimuth’ combines mostly Mourvèdre (44%) with smaller portions Grenache and Syrah. Smoked meats, lavender and dense dark fruits mark the nose. The palate is fresh and beautifully textured with a rich mouthfeel. Loaded with boysenberry and black cherry cordial flavors, with smoky and herbal accents, this is delicious wine that has already hit its stride. Drink 2023-2033- 94
2020 Caliza Syrah- Aged in mostly new French oak (70%), the 2020 Caliza Syrah offers black olives, blackberry jam, cigar ash and shades of citrus blossom on the palate. Neatly textured and dense, with a killer mouthfeel, enjoy this beauty now and over the next eight plus years. Drink 2023-2031- 93
2019 Caliza ‘Cohort’ Red Wine- Always one of the unique wines of Paso Robles, this 2019 edition of ‘Cohort’ includes mostly Petite Sirah (65%) with smaller parts Mourvèdre and Syrah. Aged for 18 months in 50% new French oak, this delivers concentrated blueberry compote, mocha, tar and black licorice flavors, with salty and stony undertones. Very dense, yet showing bright underlying acidity, enjoy this beautiful wine now and over the next eight plus years. Drink 2023-2031- 94
2020 Caliza ‘Companion’ Red Wine- A wine inspired by Provençale reds, the 2020 ‘Companion’ is equal parts Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon that was stored for 18 months in new French oak before bottling. Rich dark currants collide with smoked brisket, black olive tapenade and copious minerals on the palate. Really fresh and lithe, with a smooth mouthfeel, this is outstanding to savor right now and over the next seven plus years. Drink 2023-2030- 93
- Owen Bargreen