Talley Family’s Bordeaux-style Masterpiece
Wines like Bishop’s Peak Elevation are precisely why we love Paso Robles and California’s Central Coast so much. This is your new weeknight red: a wine to claim by the case and share with good friends. Deep crimson, with a nose of blackberry, savory herbs, and pepper, Elevation combines a sleek mouthfeel that makes it a true crowd-pleaser. A full-bodied red from California’s outstanding 2015 vintage, it racked up an impressive 92-point score from Vinous, and today it’s available at $21.99 per bottle on a case or more.
Quite simply, this red was one of the best we tasted during the 2018 holiday season—a time of year where red blends are practically falling off the shelves around the Wine Access tasting table. But Bishop’s Peak Elevation, unlike pricey Bordeaux and Napa blends, relies heavily on Petit Verdot, which gives the wine an incredibly sleek mouthfeel and inky color that’s impossible to replicate.
It’s no surprise when you consider the family behind the magical Bishop’s Peak: The 2015 Bishop’s Peak Elevation Red Blend comes from Talley, the family that has been a long-running Wine Access favorite thanks to their outstanding Central Coast wines. With Bishop’s Peak, the Talleys have gone beyond their Burgundian wheelhouse to produce a Bordeaux-inspired red blend that, like their calling-card Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, absolutely crushes it by over-delivering in the quality-price department. As Vinous put it in their glowing review, this crimson red is “impressively long, spicy and smooth,” boasting “harmonious tannins add shape and gentle grip." That’s a combination that doesn’t exist in Napa or Bordeaux blend finds under $30.
The Talleys are a farming clan through and through. They have been working the land of San Luis Obispo County since 1948, and growing stellar Chardonnay and Pinot Noir on their own vineyards since the early 80s. For the Bordeaux varieties in Elevation, they looked north from their own Arroyo Grande Valley to Santa Margarita Ranch, the sprawling property that dates back to the 18th-century Franciscan missionaries.
Gone are the days when Paso was just Paso. As the Central Coast region has risen in stature, connoisseurs have started paying much more attention to the details: the source vineyard for Elevation is a part of the Santa Margarita AVA, the southernmost sub-appellation in the larger Paso Robles AVA. Sitting just 14 miles from the ocean, the conditions at Santa Margarita result in the longest growing season in Paso, which allows the Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc in Elevation to ripen slowly. The dry 2015 season resulted in a concentrated harvest with small berry set, leading to wines of intensely rich color and robust flavors. Finished with a generous 20 months in 28% new French oak, Elevation is a sleek, full-bodied blockbuster that packs an incredible fusion of California-Bordeaux style into a $21.99 value bottle.