Cart 0 items: $0.00

Caliza Winery

Mandy Bauer
September 4, 2022 | Mandy Bauer




Time Posted: Sep 4, 2022 at 2:40 PM Permalink to WINES OF THE RHÔNE WITH CALIZA WINERY Permalink
Mandy Bauer
March 28, 2022 | Mandy Bauer

Spring 2022 Wine Club Releases

2021 Kissin' Cousins

37% Viognier, 37% Roussanne, 26% Grenache Blanc

A magnificent bouquet of young spring blossoms, nectarine, and bruised pear exude the freshness of this jovial blend. With equal parts Viognier and Roussanne finished off with a barrel of Grenache Blanc the 2021 version of our Rhone white blend is sure to excite. With a luscious mouthfeel and mouthwatering acidity, the wine ignites on the palate with flavors of baked pears, canned mandarins, and lime zest. As the saying goes, “Only the good die young” drink this one early and often for prime enjoyment! Pair it with grilled halibut tacos with a cilantro lime crema slaw or indulge in the dual-textured bacon-wrapped scallops, either will surely delight!

2019 Grenache

100% Grenache

Draped in a crimson robe, this alluring temptress seduces you with aromas of ripe cherry, strawberries, and anise before laying her grasps on you with powerful notes of raspberry compote, plum, white pepper, and bouquet garni. Silky across the palate, her sculpted tannins and rich fruit flavors gently massage your tongue into eternal bliss. Drink her in all her youthfulness for maximum enjoyment.

Jeb Dunnuck says, "The 2019 Grenache is certainly outstanding and a terrific example of the variety, which can be more difficult in California. Deep ruby/plum-hued, with a lifted bouquet of kirsch, candied violets, ground pepper, and herbes de Provence, it’s medium to full-bodied, has ripe, polished tannins, and a great finish. Drink it over the coming 5-7 years." 93-Points

2019 Azimuth

40% Mourvèdre, 40% Grenache, 20% Syrah

Intriguing. Sultry. Captivating all audiences with an intense bouquet of red fruits frolicking through rose gardens at sunset on a warm summer day. Savory notes of smoked meats and dried herbs couple with ripe black fruits to produce a wine so aromatically intense that you think you’ll smell it for days! The wine glides across the palate showing off its velvety textures and complex character. Ripe tannins and firm acidity, it is graceful in all its power and will drink well over the next decade. 

Jeb Dunnuck says, "The ruby purple-hued 2019 Azimuth reveals notes of dried flowers, rose petals, and red and black fruits as well as leather, spice, dried herbs, and cured meat. Medium to full-bodied, supple, and elegant on the palate, with ripe tannins, this complex, balanced red is elegant and seamless. I love the tannins, and it has good acidity and freshness, staying light on its feet." 95-Points

2019 Primitivo

85% Primitivo, 10% Petite Sirah, 5% Mourvèdre

Give this wine a swirl and sniff and imagine yourself on a warm spring morning enjoying a fresh out of the oven croissant with raspberry compote drizzle whilst surrounded by blossoming plum trees and violets. Now open your eyes and take a sip of all the wonders this wine embodies. Ripe red fruit, dark cocoa powerberries, and cinnamon-dusted buttercream coat the palate and leave you with subtle hints of clove and star anise. Traditionally a powerhouse wine, the 2019 is subdued with sleek elegance and sophistication. Enjoy now or cellar for 8-10 years.

2019 Sympatico

80% Tempranillo, 14% Grenache, 6% Mourvèdre

The Tempranillo-dominated cuvée finished off with a pop of Grenache and a gentle splash of Mourvèdre showcases aromas of cherry cola, chili powder, rosemary, vanilla, and excelsior. Bright fruit characters dance along with Mexican spices, mole, and ground black pepper. A very structured wine with muscular tannins the wine lingers on the finish with great length and a desire for more! 

2019 Mourvèdre

100% Mourvèdre / 60% Whole Cluster Fermentation

The second coming, and by popular demand, another staple in the lineup is this beautiful expression of Mourvèdre fermented with 60% whole cluster. Raw, savage aromas of blackened beef, leather, and damp forest floor couple with sweet notes of vanilla and dark roast coffee. The palate is filled with rugged spice, chocolate-covered fruits, wet stone, and lively acidity. The stem inclusion and native ferment provide a gentle chewiness to the tannin as the wine finishes with great length and freshness.


Time Posted: Mar 28, 2022 at 10:00 AM Permalink to Spring 2022 Wine Club Releases Permalink
Brandon Faulkner
November 9, 2021 | Brandon Faulkner

Holiday Gifting Sets

Hello Caliza Family,

We're excited to announce our limited inventory 2021 Holiday Gift Sets to share with family, friends and colleagues. Use the below brochure to review our elegant gift pack options. To ensure on-time delivery all packs need to be purchased by Monday, December 6th. 

Time Posted: Nov 9, 2021 at 11:19 AM Permalink to Holiday Gifting Sets Permalink
Brandon Faulkner
November 1, 2021 | Brandon Faulkner

Corporate Gifting Packages


We're excited to release Caliza's 2021 corporate gifting program. We put a great deal of care and thought to ensure every gift is unique and memorable.  Once you've taken a moment to review our four different package options the order link is located at the bottom of the page. I'm more than happy to assist with any questions. Please direct to or text/call my mobile at 562-706-0356

There are a few important aspects to note:

  1. All orders must be placed no later than Monday, November 15th.
  2. Once I receive your order form I will verify the information, send an invoice and then give you (or the appropriate person) a call to collect the payment during the week of November 22nd.
  3. There are volume discounts so the more you and your team order the better the price point. 
  4. Once you click on the below order form link you will want to download and fill out the necessary info. Then send to my attention once completed:
  5. There is a custom gift note column. Be sure to scroll to the right and input any custom note. This is not required just an option. 
  6. All corporate gift packages include a customized wrap-around logo. 

Here is the corporate order form. Please click on the below link, download the sheet and send to

Corporate Gifting Order Form

Time Posted: Nov 1, 2021 at 2:25 PM Permalink to Corporate Gifting Packages Permalink
Caliza Winery
October 1, 2021 | Caliza Winery

Fall 2021 Caliza Wine Club Release

Time Posted: Oct 1, 2021 at 9:00 AM Permalink to Fall 2021 Caliza Wine Club Release Permalink
Mandy Bauer
March 5, 2021 | Mandy Bauer

Spring 2021 Caliza Wine Club Release

2021 Spring Caliza Wine Club Release


48% Viognier, 30% Grenache Blanc, 22% Roussanne

Star bright and golden-hued. Vivid aromas of fresh jasmine and early spring flowers lead to notes of sweet peach, ripe pears, and stones wet from a damp sea breeze. With voluptuous mouthfeel and great structure, the wine has lingering flavors of green apple, pineapple, dried apricots, and freshly squeezed lime. Impressions of honeyed melon coat your palate as a mouthwatering acidity leaves you longing for more! Drink now for prime freshness!


100% Grenache

Wine critic Jeb Dunnuck says, “Kirsch, ground pepper, and herbes de Provence-like notes all emerge from the 2018 Grenache, which is medium to full-bodied and offers plenty of character, ripe tannins, and a great finish. Drink this mouthfilling, powerful, yet balanced Grenache any time over the coming 5-7 years.” 93 Points

Like a shy seductress who will flee when pursued… yet enlivens when caught, this dark and alluring blend of a few different lots of Grenache is truly captivating! Aromas of raspberries, ripe cherries, pomegranate, white pepper, dried herbs, and sweet tobacco burst from the glass. Your palate is hit with soft velvety textures, layers of complexity, and subtle undertones of wet gravel and crushed rock. Ripe plums, herbs and spice leave you with a long, lingering, juicy finish that begs you to take another sip! Enjoy this racy, sultry wine in its youth for the ultimate pleasure, we promise it will not disappoint!


50% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, 20% Syrah

Wine critic Jeb Dunnuck says, "The 2018 Azimuth showed brilliantly, with rocking notes of blueberries, ripe strawberries, dried flowers, and spice all emerging from the glass. Deep purple-colored and full-bodied on the palate, it has ripe tannins, a terrific sense of purity, and a great finish. Based on 50% Mourvèdre, 30% Grenache, and 20% Syrah, it's going to keep for a solid decade."     95 points

On one hand savage, untamed, and wild. On the other calculated, deliberate, and concise. Feral aromas of black truffle and smoked chipotle powder couple with intense fruit character of dark plum, black cherry, and blueberry cobbler. Deep black fruits marry notes of leather, underbrush, and spice bringing this well-integrated blend to life. With sweet vanilla overtones and silky soft tannins, this wine is full of complexities and tantalizing textures that fill your mouth with all its goodness.


88% Tempranillo, 12% Grenache

Wine critic Jeb Dunnuck says, "The Tempranillo-dominated cuvée, the 2018 Sympatico includes 12% Grenache and spent 18 months in 36% new French oak. Lots of red and black fruits, white and black pepper, gamey meat, and cedary spice notes emerge from the glass. It’s a firmer, medium to full-bodied, structured wine that needs 2-3 years of bottle age and will evolve nicely through 2030." 93+ points

Deep purple center and a ruby-hued rim. With nearly 90% Tempranillo, this may be the best Sympatico vintage to date! Explosions of fresh wood shavings, humidor, bouquet garni, and a plethora of red and black fruits. Flavors of cherry cola, fig jam, espresso, and peppered boar jerky are complimented by firm, polished tannins, and luscious notes of dark cocoa powder. This is a wine that will not only touch your palate… but grip your soul!


85% Primitivo, 15% Petite Sirah

Wine critic Jeb Dunnuck says, "Based on 85% Primitivo (Zinfandel) and 15% Petite Sirah, the 2018 Primitivo sports a dense purple color as well as notes of mulled plums, peppery incense, candied orange, and flowers. Full-bodied and powerful on the palate, it has terrific balance, loads of fruit and opulence, and a great finish. It's not lightweight and is close to 16% alcohol, but it’s a rocking Zinfandel with loads to love. It should keep for 7-8 years at a minimum." 94 Points

The Mike Tyson of the vintage, this bad boy packs a punch! Deep, dark, inky purple color match aromas of blackberry jam, black plum, roasted nuts, and candied orange wheels. Dense and unctuous with flavors of Grandma’s plum pies, juicy wild berries, leather, dried leaves, and loads of pepper. A long, luscious finish full of refined, sophisticated tannins and big fruit flavor will make the most avid Zin lover shiver with excitement!

We invite you to book an exclusive virtual tasting with Caliza to preview our newest releases. Click HERE to purchase your Virtual Tasting Double Pack Experience, and use discount code: CLUB at checkout for a special 50% discount! Thank you for being a wine club member and for all of your support!


The Caliza Team

Time Posted: Mar 5, 2021 at 12:00 PM Permalink to Spring 2021 Caliza Wine Club Release Permalink
Mandy Bauer
January 21, 2021 | Mandy Bauer

End Of The Day/Game Day Pairings

Superbowl isn’t just for beer drinkers anymore. It’s time to step it up a notch with these End of the Day/Game Day wine and appetizer pairings!

2019 Rosé Paired with Melon Prosciutto Skewers


  • 8 oz. goat cheese, softened
  • 1 large cantaloupe
  • 8 pieces of prosciutto, thinly sliced – ask for it at the Deli counter
  • Honey for drizzling (optional)
  • Cocktail skewers


  1. Use a melon baller to scoop out goat cheese and roll it into balls. Place the cheese on a small plate and chill until ready to skewer.
  2. Use a melon baller to scoop out balls of cantaloupe.
  3. Cut pieces of Prosciutto in half lengthwise.
  4. Place the goat cheese on the skewer, followed by a folded piece of prosciutto and finally a ball of melon.
  5. Drizzle with honey if desired and serve chilled.

2019 Albarino Paired with Shrimp Ceviche


  • 3 lbs large raw tiger shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 serrano peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped plus several sprigs for garnish
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 6 limes, juiced
  • 4 lemons, juiced
  • 1 bag of tortilla chips or tostadas


  1. Peel, devein, and cut shrimp into ¼ in pieces.
  2. Layout shrimp in the bottom of a glass baking dish. Pour lemon and lime juice over them and refrigerate for 2 hours. The acid from the lemons and limes will “cook” the shrimp.
  3. Toss prepared shrimp with the remaining ingredients and refrigerate for one more hour or longer.
  4. You can even prepare this overnight allowing all the flavors to fuse together.
  5. Plate and enjoy!
  6. Store leftovers well covered in the fridge.

2017 Cuvée Paired with Homemade Mediterranean Flatbread


For the Dough:

  • ¾ cup warm tap water, 110 degrees
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the Pizza:

  • 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, sliced ¼ in. thick
  • ½ cup sun dried tomatoes, packed in olive oil, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup black olives
  • 6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish (optional)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Non-stick cooking spray


For the Dough:

  1. Fill a metal mixing bowl with hot tap water and set aside for a few minutes. This will temper the bowl and help to ensure the yeast will properly activate. While waiting for the bowl to warm, preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Pour the hot water out of the bowl and wipe the bowl dry. Add the warm tap water and the yeast. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir the yeast into the water for no more than 5-10 seconds. Set aside and let the yeast bubble and foam for at least 3 minutes.
  3. Sift together 2 cups of the flour, salt, and sugar.
  4. Add the olive oil to the yeast and water mixture. Stir for a few seconds. Pour the entire flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until the liquid is absorbed.
  5. Sprinkle your clean counter-top with a little flour and empty the dough out. Knead the dough together for 4-5 minutes until a dough ball is formed. Place the dough back into the metal mixing bowl, cover with a tea towel, and set the bowl onto the top of your preheating oven. (do not place the bowl on a burner, just on the surface of the oven. The heat will help the dough to proof) Let the dough sit for 5 minutes.

For the Pizza:

  1. Lightly spray two small baking sheets or pizza pans with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. When the dough is ready, lightly flour a flat surface, and using the floured rolling pin, roll half of the dough into a rectangular shape the size of your pan. Place the dough onto the baking sheet and push the dough into the corners and up to the sides. This does not need to be perfectly round or rectangular. Just be sure the dough is evenly flattened. (Repeat with the other half of the dough on a second baking sheet or pizza pan.)
  3. Next, whisk the egg and the tablespoon of water together. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the perimeter of the dough.
  4. Evenly distribute the mozzarella over the two flatbreads. Avoid placing cheese on the egg washed perimeter.
  5. Next, top each pizza with the sun-dried tomatoes, followed by the black olives, and then the feta.
  6. Sprinkle over the dried basil and dried oregano.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Garnish with the chopped parsley, if using and slice into wedges. Serve immediately and Enjoy!

2018 ZM Cuvée Paired with BBQ meatballs


  • 26 oz. fully cooked frozen meatballs
  • 1 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce
  • 1 cup Welch’s Concord Grape Jam


  1. Add 1 cup BBQ sauce and 1 cup grape jam to a medium bowl and combine thoroughly.
  2. Place frozen meatballs in 5-6 quart slow cooker, covering meatballs with sauce contents.
  3. Place lid on your slow cooker and heat meatball mixture on low for 4 hours or on high for 2 hours. Stir mixture occasionally.
  4. Once done, set your slow cooker to the ‘warm’ setting. Enjoy your delicious meatballs right away, or enjoy them slowly during the game!


Time Posted: Jan 21, 2021 at 12:00 PM Permalink to End Of The Day/Game Day Pairings Permalink
Tyler Hill
December 10, 2020 | Tyler Hill


People often ask me during Harvest something to the effect of "how are things looking this year?"  Without fail, I find myself overwhelmed by the question, and perhaps come across a bit amateurish for the inability to find an adequate response. 

What a lot of people might not realize is that even for small producers, a vintage consists of 10, 20, 50, or more lots of wine that are all being treated independently of one another.  These lots are all developing over time separately and nothing is a sealed deal until the cork is in the bottle, and even then things will change.  The result is an incredibly complex tapestry that cannot be justified by generalizations.  This is the reason that the question about how things are looking never has a short answer, even when things are indeed looking very good.

Luckily, as winemakers, we have the luxury of making educated guesses based on trends that we have seen over the years.  Now that all lots of wine from 2020 are pressed and undergoing malolactic fermentation (or completely through with it), I would like to provide you with a little insight as to how the season unfolded and what you may expect from this vintage. 

First off, let's talk about what Mother Nature dealt us. 

Apropos to the year 2020, there were plenty of curveballs that kept us on our toes.  Some of the most notable weather traits preceding and during Harvest were extreme heat spells.  A fairly mild summer came to a screeching halt around mid-August when warm tropical air pushed over the Central Coast on several different occasions.  For the critical point of the growing season triple digits were commonplace.  Through most of the estate this sped up the ripening process by rising sugar levels and conversely lowering acid levels.  Harvest officially began with the first pick of Tempranillo and Viognier on September 14, which was five days ahead of 2019 and two days behind 2018. 

With regard to the heat, certain varietals fared better than others, but at Caliza we were reminded of why Syrah is our star-child.  It seems as if the heat benefited most Syrah clones as these lots came into the winery with unprecedented depth of color and ripeness.  Overall, the heavier varietals tended to follow this trend whereas the lighter varietals were driven more towards bright characteristics and were picked at slightly lower than average sugar levels.  For this reason, I predict 2020 to be somewhat of a hybrid of 2017 (which saw brighter, redder characteristics throughout) and 2018 (which was classic Paso dark).  This could serve to broaden the palette of colors we have to choose from as we begin blending in April, thus opening the door for more complex and well-rounded wines.

Aside from the heat, like most of the West Coast, Paso was tortured by terrible air quality as a result of the devastating wildfire season in California.  This brings up significant concerns related to "smoke taint," a term that describes smoky flavor permeating grape skins and making itself perceptible in the resulting wine.  In Paso, we have to count our blessings being situated where we are.  Though some wildfires raged within 100 miles of us, the level of devastation experienced in Napa, Sonoma and Santa Cruz counties is near incomprehensible to us who stayed relatively out of harm's way.  Smoke taint seems unlikely for Caliza, although there is no way to know until the wines have spent some time in the barrel.  Regardless, I remind myself constantly to be thankful that the things endured up North were not thrown upon us as well.

As for how things played out in the cellar-- and this is where it gets good-- I have to say 2020 Harvest was markedly different from past ones for a few reasons.

First and foremost, at Caliza our winemaking team has consisted of myself, Carl, and Andy for four years in a row.  The benefits of working with the same team year after year are self-evident, and there is an undeniable "flow" that emerges as multiple seasons are spent together.  Aside from familiarity, we also have had the luxury of being the sole occupants of our current winemaking facility for the second year in a row.  For this reason, we made significant improvements within the winery over the summer in order to maximize efficiency during the busy months.  One such improvement was an increased number of tanks.  This allowed us to ferment bigger lots together as well as give us more control over the fermentation process itself.  Another improvement was utilizing an outdoor crush pad for all destemming and processing.  This helped maximize indoor space, therefore cutting back on multiple hours per day that in previous vintages were spent shuffling around fermenters and equipment.  On top of all these improvements, we had slightly lower yields than in past vintages, which made the bulk of the work a little more manageable.       

When you put together all these changes, the result is a significant reduction in what I like to call "frantic moments."  Anybody who has worked a Harvest knows what I'm talking about.  At some point during our busy season there are bound to be times when one or all of us loses our wits and makes poor decisions, becomes overwhelmed by the number of tasks to be done, or simply succumbs to sleep deprivation.  In my short tenure in this profession, I have realized that a big part of doing a good job is staying in control and avoiding mistakes. 

For me, 2020 was a vintage marked by many challenges all being met with precision and tact.  Throughout Harvest, the cellar was a relatively calm and organized environment where all of us were able to act rationally instead of rashly.  For this reason, I think as a team we have come closer to achieving what we hope to achieve than ever before.  Early on, the wines from this year are showing a lot of promise.  As mentioned before, I am especially excited to see what happens with our Syrah, and I feel confident that there will be another Reserve in 2020.  Also, I think our team will be pleased with the amount of variety and breadth of spectrum to choose from during the blending process.  All in all, I think that 2020 will have some redemption for us in three years when the wines are ready to drink.  Cheers!

Time Posted: Dec 10, 2020 at 9:25 AM Permalink to 2020 HARVEST RECAP Permalink
Caliza Winery
November 19, 2020 | Caliza Winery

A Day in the Life at Caliza - A Short Film

Hello All,

We are excited to present to you a short film that features the Caliza team discussing the Fall 2020 releases. The film also contains a small glimpse into our daily life here in Paso Robles during Harvest time. Please, crack open your favorite Caliza wine, pour a glass, and enjoy this video we have created with the help of two Atascadero High alums.


The Caliza Team



Time Posted: Nov 19, 2020 at 10:00 AM Permalink to A Day in the Life at Caliza - A Short Film Permalink
Andy Neja
May 29, 2020 | Andy Neja


Is it possible to have back to back stellar vintages? Well…for us we think we really did! Now it is up to us to make sure that 2019 knocks it out of the park just as much as we believe 2018 did. Y’all haven’t had a chance to taste any of these just yet but be ready to have your socks knocked off!

One would think that when we sit down to taste and blend wines it would be a dream, well, it is! Haha! Except that it can also be stressful at the same time. By this time, we are deciding how to really nail the finished wines and what combination of barrels and varieties to use to make that final wine truly sing. In the end, it is not only about what we think the best and most delicious wine is but also if it is a wine that represents what we do at Caliza and one that our loyal members, supporters, and future consumers will enjoy. The anxiety is driven by not knowing how the wine will be perceived by others…we know we love the wine, but will you?

Yes, getting to taste through, give or take, 100 different barrels and aging vessels is a lot of fun and truly very interesting. We age wines in many different types of barrels: new, neutral, 225L all the way up to 500L barrels, and concrete (we also use stainless steel barrels, but those are for white and rose wines). It is amazing how the same lot of wine that was fermented and pressed off into the same tank can taste so drastically different once barreled down, even when put into the exact same barrel from the same cooper with the same toast level and age of the barrel. The culmination of all these unique intricacies is what allows us to deliver unique and fascinating wines with great complexity and character.  

We blend in two steps: 1) the initial blend of the core components of the wine and 2) final blending just before bottling with minor tweaks/additions here or there. The initial blend is done in the early Spring of the subsequent year that the wine was made (2018 red wines are initially blended in March-April of 2019). Blends are finalized approximately 12 months later (so 2018 reds in the Spring of 2020) and then bottled shortly thereafter. This dual process allows the wine to show us where it wants to go; it is our job to guide it to the finish line. Sometimes the initial blend is what we end up bottling, it matures so gracefully that as we revisit it over time it just comes together perfectly. Truly wonderful. Sometimes we go through 5, 10, 15 or more final trial blends before we are satisfied with the results. Every year is different, every year is unique.

Now for the process:

  • During harvest, all the fruit is hand-picked, brought to the winery to be hand-sorted, destemmed (or not if doing some whole cluster lots) and dumped into fermenters. At this point we begin to develop a sense of where each lot of wine is headed. In 2019 we had 28 separate red lots which we fermented on their own and one co-fermented lot of Cabernet Sauvignon from Arbor Oaks Vineyard and Syrah (Alban clone 1) from the Caliza Estate. It is a lot more work to keep all the lots separate, but it gives us greater availability during the blending process to make changes to a wine in order to add something to the blend that might not otherwise be present (more finish, maybe some mid-palate, added tannin for structure, things like that). We are constantly tasting; tasting the grapes before harvest, tasting them after harvested during processing/sorting, tasting the juice before inoculating (starting fermentation), during fermentation, free-run wine, pressed wine, wine when barreling down before malolactic (ml) or secondary fermentation (more a conversion than fermentation, but that is another story), wine after ml, and then every 6-8 weeks thereafter until the wine is bottled. Phew, is that enough tasting? Then we will taste, re-taste, and taste again when blending. Better make sure to bring your toothbrush or you will look like the character Tia Dalma, the sea goddess Calypso in human form straight out of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. LOL!

  • All the while tasting we are making predeterminations of where certain lots will fit. Some are easier than others. Tempranillo for instance is typically reserved for Sympatico (although you will see it in other wines from time to time), Petite Sirah for Cohort. However, some are a little trickier. Our Syrah for instance, you would probably think “uh it’s all Syrah so that would be easy, right?” Well, we farm 6 different clones of Syrah, we pick them at different times, we might pick the top of a block and then come back and pick the bottom, pick the west side of the block then come back a few days later and pick the east. It gives us differentiating lots within a larger lot (for instance, in 2019 we had 4 separate picks on the 383 Syrah clone, starting at the top of the hill and worked our way down. In 2018 we had two picks on the 174 Syrah clone, west side, and east side). Then we use Syrah in half the wines we produce: Azimuth, Cohort, Companion, Reserve Syrah (in great years), Syrah; it gives us a lot of leeway for where certain clones will go and where others are more fit. For instance, the Estrella clone typically is always a heavy hitter in our Reserve Syrah and Syrah wines where Alban plays well with the Cab in Companion.
  • Now to get down to business. Before we can begin our initial blending trials, we must first pull a sample from every single barrel and concrete vessel we have for the vintage. We do not pull composites yet as we want each barrel (sometimes portions of a barrel) to be open for consideration for a particular wine.

  • Now we taste through each individual barrel. For me, it is important to jot down notes: observations about the aroma, nose, fruit characteristics, mid-palate, finish, oak impartment, cooperage notes or just anything that might be interesting about the particular barrel I am tasting. Sometimes the notes are long and extensive, other times short and sweet. Being blessed with great memory recall comes in handy when doing a task such as this. Especially after tasting 100, give or take, different samples. Even spitting while tasting you begin to feel the buzz and start asking “when’s lunch?”.
  • Then we start to get specific. We say, “which wine are we going to work on?” Say we start with our flagship GSM blend Azimuth. We know we will need to pull forward all Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah barrels as these are the components of this wine. Having tasted each individual piece from the beginning, knowing what clones have traditionally (from past vintages) worked in the blend, we begin with our first trial blend. A few barrels of Mourvèdre, a few Grenache, and one or two Syrah. Blend that trial (200-300ml sample) and taste. Is it all we hoped for? Is it magical? Does it hit it out of the park? Probably not on the first attempt, but we need to get a starting point and have something to build upon. Remember at this point we are really trying to get the core of the wine together and still have time to come back to it at a later point to tweak it. So, we try another combination. Then another. And another. Another. 5 more. Okay, let’s go back to trial #8 and reconfigure to use this barrel of Grenache instead of that barrel, and then add this barrel of Syrah. Around and around, back and forth we go; is this the blend that blows us away? Not quite satisfied we put together trial #18, pour it into each other’s glass, swirl, sniff, swirl, sniff, taste…then the eyes light up. You can actually feel it in the room, the stress is lifted, the intense focus turns to relaxed pleasure, like slumping into a comfy chair after a hard days labor. Tyler looks at me, I look at Carl, we look at each other, that’s it! This is the one!
  • We then move on to the next wine and repeat. This initial process always takes the most time; sometimes 5 or more days. We work with great focus and intensity to make sure that the core of each wine is stunning on its own and leave several barrels here and there for us to possibly use for final tweaks before bottling. With experience, you can get a sense of where a wine will go but nobody has a crystal ball that shows you where it will end up. Would it be nice, ya?

2019, much like 2018, gave us another vintage of power and finesse reminiscent to couples dancing an intense contemporary routine. On one side you have the male component: potent fruit flavors, muscular tannins, richness, and density. Then the other side you have the female: intoxicating floral notes, exotic mouthwatering acidity, and layers upon layers of complexity. Blending in years like this is only difficult because you can only use each wine once. After we rack and blend the wines in a tank (rack is defined as moving wine from one vessel to another) we rack them back into the same barrels they came out of for additional aging. At this point we like to come back to them in two weeks just to see how they are integrating at this early stage. We did that just the other day and man…I have to say that you have a lot to look forward to when these beauties get released as they are just phenomenal now! Really looking forward to what is to come with these gems and the back to back Reserve Syrah vintages will be something for the ages for Caliza! Cheers Y’all!!!



Time Posted: May 29, 2020 at 1:30 PM Permalink to NOTES FROM THE CELLAR: BLENDING THE 2019 RED WINES Permalink