Daou Cabernet Sauvignon Review from Paso Robles, California
It’s a special occurrence when the beauty of a unique Terroir is only equally matched by that of the wine it produces in the bottle. Today my friends, we’ll be discussing a wine of elegance, balance and character. A Cabernet Sauvignon from a region that is rapidly becoming one of the most well known in California for producing refined, medium-bodied, fruit-forward and incredibly drinkable wine. It’s Vintners such as DAOU that are helping to make Paso Robles one of the most sought after regions in the world for refined Cabernet.
The DAOU Estate, which resides atop what they now dub “Daou Mountain,” spans no less than 212 acres at 2,200 feet of elevation. The DAOU winery itself is crafted in a Spanish Colonial style, which in conjunction with the surrounding landscape helps you forget that you’re in Central California, but rather someplace within the Spanish countryside.
While the location, terroir and climate at this particular location within Paso Robles are all worthy of their own article, today we are going to focus on the DAOU Cabernet Sauvignon. A varietal that gave this particular winery its start. Everything from the soil, vine management and vinification process demands only the most intense focus. It’s this dedication that has helped get some of DAOU’s Cabernet consistently rated 91+ points by a number of prestigious wine publications and figures.
Background on the Daou Cabernet
“In the golden, oak-studded hills of Paso Robles’ acclaimed west side, not far from William Randolph Hearst’s magnificent castle, there is a man with a Homeric vision. His name is Daniel Daou and he is devoting his life and every imaginable resource to creating, first and foremost, a Cabernet Sauvignon that rivals the very best in the world.”
The enthusiasm for Cabernet Sauvignon embodied by both Daniel Daou and his brother Georges have resulted in the 2014 vintage as being rated 93 points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.
The Terroir that is DAOU Mountain is incredibly conducive to producing beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon. Long days and sun-basked vines caress the rolling hills. The limestone-esque calcareous soil composition on the property and consistent softly flowing breeze emanating from the Pacific both help to gently produce more concentrated grapes.
In conjunction with the natural aspects of the property, the Daou brothers describe their wine making practice as both “super intensive vineyard culture and cutting edge viticultural practice.”
Paso Robles had seen a relatively dry year in 2014, which allowed for an earlier than usual start to the growing season. Compared to 2013, crop yield was about 20% less which offered smaller, more concentrated grapes at harvest. Just before harvest, towards the end of August, the Adelaida District in Paso Robles received a couple weeks of relative cool, which allowed the grapes to remain a bit longer on the vines. The result was more developed and concentrated flavor, velvety tannins and a beautiful aroma.
Following fermentation, the Daou Cabernet 2014 received 10 months of oak aging within 60% New French Oak barrels. The carefully selected percentage of new oak afforded the Cabernet just the right amount of toasted vanilla on the palate, without overpowering the gorgeous fruit tones.
Read on for more specific tasting notes for the Daou Cabernet Sauvignon.
Daou Cabernet 2014 Tasting Notes
In the glass, this wine gives off a beautiful dark cherry, ruby and subtle plum hue around the rim, indicating relative youth.
The nose is more aromatic than I was expecting, delightful and playful with dark berry, cassis, pomegranate and dried herbal tones.
On the palate, expect luscious black and red fruit tones backed by soothing tannins, medium-minus acidity and dry forest leaves on a medium body. There is some heat to this wine given the 14.2% ABV, but calming cassis, black cherry and raspberry remain consistent across the mid-palate, as toasted vanilla oak, mild espresso and cacao continue to tease the senses. Approaching the finish, expect rounded toffee tones, fresh leather, dragon fruit, candy spice and raspberry creme brulee to round out a medium finish.
Overall, a great, layered Cabernet from Paso. It’s drinkable now, but will be even better in a couple of years.
Daou Cabernet Sauvignon Food Pairings
The Daou Cabernet 2014 makes for a fun food pairing wine. Given the layered flavors, balance, lower level of acidity but elevated alcohol content, avoid acidic dishes, but don’t be afraid to add some spice to meat, lamb, pork or heavy poultry dishes. Take a look at some of our favorite food pairing recipes to pair alongside the Daou Cabernet Sauvignon:
- Sweet and Sour Brown Sugar Meatballs
- Buffalo Burgers with Pickled Onions and Smoky Red Pepper Sauce
- Teriyaki Salmon
- Puerto Rican Pork Shoulder (Lechon Asado)
- Oven Barbecued St. Louis Style Ribs Recipe
- Gourmet Mushroom Risotto Recipe
- Honey-Sriracha Chicken Wings Recipe
Images within this article are courtesy DAOU Vineyards.