Thacher is one of the wineries leading the charge of “Paso Robles’ new school” — lower alcohol, higher acidity, new types of grapes not often found in this region. We recently received a quartet of wines from the operation for review, all new releases.
2020 Thacher Own-Rooted Chenin Blanc Shell Creek Vineyard – Approachable and easygoing, this 100% chenin blanc (grown on its own rootstock, not grafted, a unique thing to read about on a wine label) offers notes of honeydew and gooseberry up front, with a slight salinity tempering a moderate sweetness that quickly builds. A squeeze of lemon juice brightens up the finish, making for a refreshing, summery wine that features plenty of exuberant character to love. A- / $35
2018 Thacher Constant Variable Central Coast – 40% grenache, 36% syrah, 15% mourvedre, 7% counoise, 2% viognier. Plummy, raspberry-infused fruit leads the way on this brighter-than-expected, uncharacteristic GSM+ blend, which eventually folds in some sweet strawberry notes as it develops in glass. Touches of vanilla and milk chocolate — balanced by a dusting of cola — take the finish in a more balanced, traditional direction, though the overall impact tends toward the sweeter side of things. B / $52
2020 Thacher Cinsault Glenrose Vineyard – Cinsault is not a major American wine grape, and its appearance here is perhaps instructive on that front. Aggressively fruity, almost jammy, this wine comes across a lot like a young Beaujolais, full of strawberry elements laced with baking spice and emerging hints of beef barbecue. A grassy element gives the finish a slightly vegetal note — perhaps a necessary counterbalance to the heavy sweetness up front, but still a little cacophonous on the whole. B / $40
2018 Thacher Cabernet Sauvignon Klau Mine Vineyard – An extremely dense cabernet, I would never have guessed this was from Paso but rather from some NorCal mountaintop. Intense notes of currants, dark chocolate, and rhubarb swirl together to create a wine that is at once boldly acidic and heavily tannic, a vegetal and lightly green character building as the finish develops. Rosemary and basil, with notes of clove and some vanilla here and there. Tart cherry notes build on an enduring powerhouse of a finish. A bit off-putting now, 3 to 5 years of cellar time would likely help smooth the rough edges on this wine. B+ / $60