Arresting raspberry and rosemary aromas lead to lip-smacking, fresh crushed-berry flavors in this medium- to full-bodied wine made with an unusually high 40% of whole clusters. Its moderate tannins and good acidity lift the gorgeous fruit flavors nicely. Best from 2024.
The 2018 vintage of Esquisto from Paul and Jackie Gordon at Halcón Vineyards is a slightly different blend than the last few years, as this year the cépages is sixty percent grenache and twenty percent each of mourvèdre and syrah. With the cool marine layer that defined May and June here, it was a cooler growing season and hang time was extended as a result, with a full fifty days from veraison to picking on the first of November. The wine comes in at 13.9 percent octane in 2018, includes forty percent whole clusters and offers up a fine young nose of cassis, black raspberries, pepper, roasted meats, a good base of soil, gentle stem tones and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, balanced and peppery, with a rock solid core, fine focus and grip, ripe, well-integrated tannins and a long, complex and very promising finish. This reminds me of an old school style of Châteauneuf du Pape like Vieux Telegraphe. Fine juice in the making, but it will need some time in the cellar to soften up. 2028-2060.