Donati Family Vineyard
2006 Tal Padre - Petit Verdot Blend
Petit Verdot • Estate Vineyard
California: Paicines (San Benito County)
What we say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!
Today’s wine is a near-perfect and deeply-delicious red blend – from one of our favorite Paso Robles wine producers
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Mission Codename: Like Father, Like Son
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Donati to investigate claims that their Tal Padre blend is their best wine yet. If true, secure an ample allocation for the enjoyment of our deserving Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Donati Family Vineyard
Winemaker: Dan Kleck
Wine Subject: 2006 Tal Padre
Backgrounder: In traditional terms, a Claret wine is a dry red blend made from Bordeaux varietals. Today’s wine, grown in the Paicines hills above Hollister, along the San Andreas fault, is a wonderful Bordeaux varietal blend of Petite Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine is exceptional and if you love big red blends, today’s wine is a real winner. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – A beautiful deep ruby red, with deeply concentrated color through its dark heart of pure garnet – and all the way to the edges of the wine. When swirled, this wine shows off a super-taught and springy surface that settles quickly – leaving behind tight clusters of skinny legs that move slowly down the glass
Smell – A rush of deep, dark and dusky aromas leads of with a brilliant and striking earthy dark cherry, followed by dark blackberry, raspberry, red plum, soft oak and a hint of mint
Feel – Big and mouth-filling with smooth but powerful tannins that, after a moment, grip in at the top of the palate, the tongue and lips, eventually drying the cheeks
Taste – Delicious and delightfully exotic, with layers of seductive flavors, led off by bright red cherry, ripe red plum, blackberry, raspberry with softly smoky-toasted oak and a hint of fresh herbs
Finish – Light at first, then quickly dark and dusky. Then bright cherry emerges, making your mouth water. After a spell, the dark and smoky flavors – with blackberry and plum, especially – return and then tail off slowly
Conclusion – Of all of the Donati wines we have had the pleasure to feature here, this 2006 Tal Padre is, by far, our favorite! With aromas that run the gamut from bright and fruity, to dark and dusky and flavors that mimic the nose, this wine is a dynamic delight that will please all of your senses. If you are a fan of fantastic red blends, this is one to try. Drinking beautifully now, you should also lay a few bottles down for an even more delightful experience. We paired our bottle with Spanish Tortilla, fresh tomatoes and mixed olives. What a delcious experience!
What follows is a former mission recap:
Time: 13:00 Hours
Location: Paicines, California
Temperature: 105 Degrees, fahrenheit
Agent Red reporting:
After a few days in the 100+ degree heat of Paso Robles, where the Donati Family Vineyards tasting room and vineyards lay, I was happy to be heading out to investigae their vineyards in Pacines, California, nearly 100 miles almost straight north.
Agent White, who had been along with me on the missions in Paso, flew southward in the Spy Plane, I drove north. Driving through the hills, I was cooled by the mountain air, relieved to finally be out of the heat. And then, as I got closer to Paicines, the heat came back.
On a stop for gas, a native of the area made sure to tell me, “It sure does feel like earthquake weather. Did you know your standing right over the San Andreas fault?”.
I knew about the fault line, but, earthquake weather? I had never considered that some weather was more favorable for playing host to an earthquake than others. I soothed my mind by returning to thoughts of grapes and I postulated that this earthquake weather notion was similar to the notion that some regions grew better cabernet or merlot grapes than others. I took this theory and ran with it, all the way to my next stop: The Paicines vineyards of the Donati Family.
Yes, the temps were soaring, but it was a beautiful day and the vineyards here were beautiful. Situated in a valley the vineyards here had a serene and natural look, without feeling artificial as with some of the larger ‘corporate wineries’ of Napa or Sonoma.
Matt Donati met me and casually began the tour. He explained that the Donati Family Estate Vineyard site enjoys a variety of soils from limestone to decomposed granite to clay loam, and access to the cooling ocean breezes of the Monterey Bay. Like much of southern Napa, Sonoma, and Monterey counties, Paicines has long warm days followed by cool nights. “It’s a lot cooler than people think it would be here,” says Matt. “On the UC Davis scale of growing areas and heat where Region I is the coolest and V the warmest, Paicines is a cool Region II.” With rivulets of sweat from my forehead stinging my eyes, I was unconvinced. Still I was having a great time on my tour.
The vineyard here is planted with various select clones of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Syrah, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc and Petite Verdot.
Matt Donati is hands-on, year round, which he believes is necessary to create an environment where the grapes can be left alone to thrive during ripening.
Inside, Matt opened up a bottle of his 2004 Merlot. We swirled, sniffed and admired. As I lifted the glass to my mouth and the first taste of wine touched my lips, the ground beneath my feet gave a small wobble. I looked at Matt, my eyes wide.
“Did you feel that,” I asked.
With a sly smile, he said, simply, “My wines have that effect on people”.
Donati Winemaker Dan Kleck has been producing premium wines for the past 28 years. He began his career in the mid-1970’s, in the Long Island region of New York. In 1998, he migrated west to California, crafting elite Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from select premium estate vineyards in Monterey County.
The Donati Family Winery in Paso Robles is designed to capture the quality of the estate fruit in a state-of-the-art facility. The winery is a great place to enjoy a beautiful day at the vineyard.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
Vineyard – The Donatis selected a unique site for their vineyard plantings. They diligently researched and identified clones and blocks that would be capable of developing into Spy-worthy wines in the cellar. With perfect fruit health and absolute ripeness, the wines crafted from the Donati Estate Vineyard are rich in character and nuance.
Numerous Paicines vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
About This Wine:
Tal Padre, Tal Figlio. “Like Father, Like Son” in Italian. Tal Padre was named in honor of the Donati Family. With a photo of Ron & Matt Donati (we borrowed from Alexis’ family photo album) as the label, and the story of our family on the back, the Tal Padre falls right in line with our Family Series Wines.
This hearty Petit Verdot based blend is ink black in color, with huge mouth-filling tannins, balanced with just enough dark fruit, spice, and mint to keep you coming back for more.
Make Dad’s day – get him a bottle of this wine made for fathers & sons (or really cool daughters!)
About The Winery:
FAMILY. ESTATE. VISION. That’s the Donati Family, as is evidenced upon first glimpse of their spectacular estate vineyard.
The Donatis came to Paicines (pronounced pie see ness), in California’s Central Coast, in 1998 when they purchased land that would soon become home to Matt Donati and his family. Since then, Matt and his father Ron, engaged in planting the family vineyard and planning their state-of-the-art winery.
Today, the guiding principles of quality and cooperation, along with a steadfast work-ethic, underscore all that is accomplished in the busy days on the family vineyard.
“Our philosophy is to grow grapes of the highest possible quality, so that wines made from our fruit can meet the quality expectations of our customers,” says Matt. “This requires attention to detail, evaluation of new grape growing and winemaking methods and technologies, and a passion for serving our customers.”
This is done in a groundbreaking environment, as the Donatis expect to establish the Paicines AVA (American Viticultural Area) as a growing region with the potential of neighboring Mt. Harlan AVA (Calera Winery) and Chalone AVA (Chalone Vineyard).
About The Vineyard:
The Donati Family Estate Vineyard site enjoys a variety of soils from limestone to decomposed granite to clay loam, and access to the cooling ocean breezes of the Monterey Bay. Like much of southern Napa, Sonoma, and Monterey counties, Paicines has long warm days followed by cool nights. “It’s a lot cooler than people think it would be here,” says Matt. “On the UC Davis scale of growing areas and heat where Region I is the coolest and V the warmest, Paicines is a cool Region II.”
The vineyard is planted to various select clones of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Syrah, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc and Petite Verdot. Vine selections are carefully screened for viral diseases prior to planting, ensuring that the future of the vineyard is secure, and that vine health and fruit integrity remain intact from planting through harvest.
Matt Donati believes in hands-on year-round vineyard management to create an environment where the grapes themselves can be left alone to thrive during ripening.
Regular, judicious thinning of shoots during the growing season, attention to every detail of vine canopy training and light management within the fruiting zone, pre and post-veraison green fruit removal, along with scientific analysis of soil and leaf moisture throughout the growing season ensures that every aspect of the Donati Estate viticultural program contributes to the success of the vintage.
Primary efforts are directed at sustainable farming, allowing for natural predators and reduced use of pesticides to provide a clean, hospitable environment for vine growth and fruit maturation. Of course, this path of action requires extreme diligence in scouting for possible problems. But, with active personnel regularly hand-tending each and every vine, the family is gradually learning that effective and efficient sustainable practices can indeed make a significant difference in both the local environment and in the ultimate grape and wine quality.
Winemaker Dan Kleck enjoys working with the fruit that results from these practices. “For any serious winemaker, it is a great pleasure to work with a team of dedicated professional vineyardists whose vision for quality matches ones own. Donati Vineyard not only has selected a unique and superior site for its vineyard plantings, but has done an extraordinary job of identifying those clones and blocks that are capable of developing into stellar wines in the cellar. With perfect fruit health and absolute ripeness the goals of that vineyard team, I am readily able to craft fully expressive wines, rich in character and nuance. It is sincerely an exciting prospect to work with grapes of such high quality and distinctive personality.”