Broadside Wines: Unspoiled Expression of the Paso Robles Terroir
Broadside’s Unique Approach to Californian Wine
Broadside’s approach to making wine is rather unique in this part of California, Paso Robles that is. And it is this approach, with obviously its translation into how the wines taste, that is bringing the brand much attention and success.
Many palates are changing, or let’s say evolving, around the world of wine drinkers, connoisseurs and enthusiasts. Being based in Europe and traveling its vineyards, I am seeing how this phenomenon is in the process of reshaping the entire world of wine.
More and more, wine lovers around the world demand wines with a true expression of the place they come from, often in a lighter style that is easier to swallow (both literally and figuratively).
A sustainable approach to viticulture is also a very significant bonus in the consumer’s mind, providing both more respect for our environment and often more characterful wines. Grass and flowers now grow in vineyards. Pesticides and insecticides are often banned. Bees are coming back. Balance and genuineness is the focus of winemakers.
From early on, Broadside Wines has been at the forefront of this stylistic movement, one that now has moved from trend to the future of winemaking.
Focused on America’s favorite grape: Cabernet Sauvignon, Broadside delivers to the American palate a more retrained style than the opulent and explosive ones many have tired of, focused on purity and an unspoiled expression of the grape, the land it comes from, and of the vintage even!
And where do they do so? Right in the heart of an area more famous for delivering generous and rich wines: Paso Robles.
Their secret: skillful and passionate people, great vineyards, picking earlier than most in Paso, and a minimalist approach to winemaking. It’s that simple.
Come with us as we discover more about Broadside wine’s story.
Behind Broadside: The Story, The People
One family name is synonymous with the foundation and the success of Broadside wines: Terrizzi.
Brian Terrizzi made Broadside’s first-ever vintage with Cab Sauv grapes sourced from Margarita Vineyard in 2006. Today, his viticulturist partner and wife, Stephy supervises the vineyards, while Brian runs the cellar with assistant winemaker David McDonald.
Broadside is also part of Wine Hooligans, a wine company that comprises 4 brands, three winemakers and headed by Dennis Carroll, helping the brand succeed and expand.
Brian quit his office job after falling in love with winemaking in the early 2000s. He spent the 2002 vintage at Rosenblum in Sonoma, and 2003 at Isole e Olena in Tuscany, Italy, before starting winemaking school at Fresno State.
While Brian was graduating as a winemaker in 2005, one of his best friends, Mike Sinor was taking over as the vineyard manager of Margarita vineyard, not only a beautiful spot for a vineyard (see vineyard description and video further below), but also one they had identified as particularly suited to growing quality grapes in Southern Paso Robles.
Brian secured some Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from there, and the first (2006) vintage of Broadside was born.
Terrizzi’s approach to winemaking is what he describes as ‘minimalist’, with minimum intervention on the grapes to respect their natural expression, and focus on balance and refinement rather than power and exuberance. He uses native ferments (also called ‘wild’ meaning that the grape juices are not inoculated with selected yeasts but left to ferment with yeasts naturally present on the fruit), unobtrusive cellar work, and predominantly neutral oak (used wine barrels rather than new ones).
In addition to being Broadside co-founder and viticulturalist, Stephy is a leading viticulture consultant, a prominent force for organic viticulture in Paso Robles working with local growers towards more sustainable farming.
Having spent quite some time with both Stephy and Brian, I was struck by how approachable and kind they both are, and by the intensity of the passion they have had for building a brand filled with great values and tastes (see wine reviews further below).
Broadside’s Terroir: The Vineyards
Yes, the terroir of a wine does include the people that make it, and how they make it (by the way, if you still don’t know what exactly is terroir, find my article about the definition of Terroir).
But not only…
Of course, terroir is also about land and vineyards. I’ve said that Broadside wines do taste like the place they come from. So, what is this place?
Let’s have a look.
— Julien Miquel #Wine (@JMiquelWine) May 15, 2017
Margarita Vineyard is one of the most sought-after sources of Cabernet Sauvignon on the Central Coast.
The soil here is rather unique, filled with limestone and impressive marine shell fossils such as those displayed at the winery cellar door (see Twitter video above).
These shells are simply everywhere and provide minerality to the wines.
In addition, the relative elevation and the cool climate of the site provide freshness and allow the grapes to maintain great acidity.
Terrizzi’s Broadside Margarita Vineyard Cabernet (tasting notes below) has known critical acclaim, being included in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Top 100 Wines list for 2009 AND 2012 vintages, and also in the New York Times’ 12 Great American Values list in 2012.
Chardonnay grapes are also sourced from the Margarita vineyard.
Luna Matta vineyard
Entirely grown organically and managed by Stephy Terrizzi in the beautiful hilly countryside around Paso.
— Julien Miquel #Wine (@JMiquelWine) May 15, 2017
Centre of Effort Estate in Edna Valley
A unique site in San Luis Obispo County planted on ancient sand dunes on south‐facing canyon slopes.
This Vineyard is an important source of Chardonnay for Broadside Wild Ferment (see notes below).
So, how does the wine from these kind and skillful wine people, with their sustainably-grown vineyard sourcing and solar-powered winery, actually taste like once in your glass?
Let’s find out with the reviews and descriptions of their production, latest releases with a few older vintages.
Broadside Wine Reviews & Tasting Notes
2015 Broadside Wild Ferment Chardonnay, Central Coast, California
10% neutral oak, the rest in stainless steel.
Score: 89/100 Points. A vibrant, crisp and lifted nose, filled with delicate floral notes charmingly complemented by subtle tropical aromas of pineapple. A lean upfront palate makes the wine start with elegance and minerality, driven by good acidity. Delicate oily texture lives on and takes over the mid-palate, rounding up the fresh and fragrant lemon flavors that dominate the expression. A very elegant, fresh and zesty Chardonnay wine, all about the natural expression of the grapes it was made from: a variety of light and elegant fruity characters with great and enjoyable balance. The subtle salty finish makes it even more yummy and delicious.
2010 Broadside Margarita Vineyard Merlot, Paso Robles
Score: 87/100 points. Pungent and vibrantly-fruity nose, displaying plenty of fresh red berry notes. Clean and pure fruity expression, lifted by intense peppery aromas too. Very soft tannins on a medium body leaves plenty of room for the clear fruity and spicy flavors to be expressed and enjoyed on the palate. Some earthy characters add depth and length to the finish, bringing food-friendly bitterness too. A controlled, elegant and approachable Merlot, in a surprisingly fresh and vibrant style for a Paso Robles.
2014 Broadside Margarita Vineyard Merlot, Paso Robles
Score: 88/100 points. Like the 2010 vintage, the 2014 Merlot is ripe and pungent, displaying clean ripe dark cherry aromas in the nose. It adds chocolate and sweet spices for further complexity and depth to the aromatic profile. Tannins are soft; the mid-palate is round with medium-body. The wine expresses a distinctive juiciness and appeal to its flavors, much like fresh ripe red berries would.
2014 Broadside Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles
The Cabernet is about 80% of the winery’s production. A lot of the fruit comes from the Margarita Vineyard.
Score: 88/100 points. Spicy and upfront fruity nose, this Cabernet from Paso Robles is filled with zesty blackcurrant aromas, clean, vibrant and upfront fruity. The wine aromas throw some spices for further depth with clove and black pepper. A mid-bodied wine, round and soft on the palate and velvety tannins. With a fruity and lean expression of the grape, this is a crisp, pure, and authentic Cabernet Sauvignon in which you can pretty much taste or get a good feel for what the grapes it was made from tasted like when they were picked, which is a rare quality; especially at this price point.
2015 Broadside Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles
Score: 89/100 points. This Cabernet offers ripe and rather intense ripe red berry characters to the nose, cherry, blackberry, and blackcurrant are vibrant and fresh. One word to describe the palate: joyful. A lively acidity underlines and affirms the wine’s fruity approach with purple plum and dark raspberry flavors. The texture is on a medium body, offering velvety tannins that provide a welcome grip to the finish. This Cab’s liveliness and juiciness is most probably due also to a wealth of spice flavors. A touch of tomato leaf character expresses the identity and personality of the grapes. A joyful and elegant fruity Cab that delivers an explosion of flavors to the palate, for a salivating experience.
2012 Broadside Margarita Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles
3 times in the Top 20 for $20 by the New York Times.
Score: 90/100 points. Plenty of richness to the nose from ripe plum and prune aromas, freshened by vibrant ripe red berries characters. Peppery and chili-like spiciness make for a powerful ripe and fruity aromatic profile. Black olive notes add depth. Round and soft tannins, with solid body but not feeling heavy thanks to a crispy and lively acidity. Distinctive citrus flavors that are not common in red wines also comes through strongly amplifying the wine’s liveliness and juiciness.
2014 Broadside Margarita Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles
Score: 91/100 points. The nose on this Cabernet is absolutely typical of the clean and fruity expression of the grape, full of fresh aromas of ripe blackcurrant. There is strawberry jam and a certain vinosity to the aromatic expression making it smell tempting, joyful but serious all at the same time and make you want to dig in to learn more. The palate is very juicy, driven by mineral and subtly salty acidity while a wealth of fresh red berry flavors explodes on your palate. You will also find if you’re careful enough a rare citrus expression in this Cab Sauv. Orange peel, or ripe grapefruit juice come through. That’s if you put aside the pungent red berry notes obviously. Let’s remind our readers here, on this mother’s day during which I am reviewing this wine (May 2017), that Cabernet Sauvignon has a mother in the name of Sauvignon Blanc. But she very rarely comes through in her Cab Sauv son’s expression as obviously as she does here. This wine feels tropical and citrusy like a Sauv Blanc would, augmented by the red fruit flavors, a successful combination that has made the success of Cabernet Sauvignon for many decades, revealed clearly here! More expressive than 2012, more powerful. Same profile, filled with ripe red berries, and these distinctive citrus flavors; huge spiciness lead to a long finish. The palate is very balanced, good acidity and velvety tannins with controlled grip to the finish. A characterful Cabernet with a rather unique expression, fruity but fresh and vibrant. A clean and lively expression of its calcareous soil.
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