The Farm Winery is one of a growing number of new boutique wineries in the Paso Robles AVA that are producing limited quantities of outstanding hand-crafted wines. The winery is owned and operated by old friends and Stanford Business School alumni Jim Madsen and renowned Argentine winemaker Santiago Achaval.
In this article, we review The Farm Winery’s new 2010 releases and re-taste its 2010 Touchy-Feely. As our reviews show, The Farm Winery is crafting wines of outstanding quality and individuality. They are certainly as good as the 2009 releases we reviewed previously, and in some cases even slightly better.
The Farm Winery launched operations in 2009. After a long search, Jim and Santiago ended up negotiating long term-leases of several vineyards located in the westside hills of Paso Robles These vineyards have mainly calcareous soils at an average altitude of between 1700 and 1900 feet and are exposed to cool ocean winds, resulting in wide diurnal temperature variations that contribute to high quality fruit. The vines are severely thinned and the use of green harvesting has kept yields very low, at around 1.5-2.0 tons per acre. These yields are among the lowest in Paso Robles and are reflected in the wines’ concentration of flavors.
The new releases from the 2010 vintage, offer wines of excellent flavor with significantly lower alcohol levels than in 2009. Whereas the Farm Winery’s 2009s were on average 15° alc. the wines this year are closer to 14 alc on average. This has resulted in more stylistically elegant wines. Building on its strengths and with these new releases, The Farm Winery is fast becoming one of Paso Robles’ premier boutique wineries. For more information on Paso Robles as its wines see the International Wine Review Report # 33 The Wines of Paso Robles.
Tasting Notes and Ratings
The Farm Winery 2010 Cardinal Paso Robles ($90) 93 The 2010 Cardinal displays an opaque ruby color and aromas of black currant, cassis, dark chocolate and minerals. A blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Malbec, it is soft on the attack and focused with ripe red and black fruit flavors, polished tannins, and a velvet texture. It is a beautifully balanced wine, persistent on the finish and thoroughly enjoyable to drink. Sourced from the Old Bailey Vineyard with extremely low yields of 1.4 tons/acre and 13.8° alc.
The Farm Winery 2010 Touchy-Feely Paso Robles ($60) 90+ (re-tasted) The Touchy-Feely is a Rhone blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Syrah. It boasts very ripe aromas of huckleberry and plum with an earth/stem component. While full flavored it is still very young and tightly wound with high acidity and firm tannins on the palate with hints of loam and cocoa powder. Aged in new French oak for 24 months, the alcohol level (15.5%) is quite high compared to the other 2010s. A delicious Peter Pan-like wine that will hopefully age well.
The Farm Winery 2010 The Big Game Paso Robles ($75) 93+ The 2010 Big Game is composed of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Syrah and 12% Petit Verdot. It is much more evolved than the Touch-Feely, offering aromas of ripe blackberry, blackcurrant fruit and graphite. Aged in barrel for 27 months in new and one-year old oak, it displays an elegant palate, good structure and balance, firm but polished tannins and a long finish. A lovely wine that is also food friendly and elegant with alcohol held in check (14.3%).
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler