Paso Robles, a region in the southern part of California’s Central Coast, is Cabernet Sauvignon country. The grape thrives there and can produce wines with concentration and character — at significant values.

One such wine is the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon from Ancient Peaks, located in Paso Robles’ Santa Margarita Ranch AVA. Although the climate of Paso Robles is warm to hot, Ancient Peaks is located in one of its cooler areas, with a growing season that extends well into November.
Ancient Peaks Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Santa Margarita Vineyard’ 2018, Paso Robles, Calif. is a good wine you can actually find.

Its Cabernet, though young, is drinking beautifully right now — showing ripe dark fruit notes, including blackberry, black currant, and black plum. There’s a hint of youthful green steminess, along with touches of dark chocolate and smoke. The tannins are smooth and well integrated.

The wine is a blend of 79 percent Cabernet with small amounts of Merlot, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc, grown in a variety of soils and microclimates in 900 acres of vineyards scattered around an expansive property.

As a rule, I don’t look at the price of the wines I taste for review until after I’ve sampled them. And this one was a real surprise, with a suggested retail price of $22.

For a California Cabernet in the $20 range, this one shows considerable complexity and drinks like a wine that could be priced quite a bit higher.

A few bottles of Ancient Peaks’ 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon are well worth having on hand as the summer grilling season ramps up. As the warm weather moves in, a slight chill will make it all the more enjoyable.

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