Poppy Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2017The StoryThe Poppy Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is sourced from the Sunny Slope and the San Juan vineyards inside the Paso Robles AVA which is also inside the Central Coast AVA of California. Poppy (which is the state flower of California) is a brand started in 2003 by the Silva Family who has 45 years' experience in the wine trade.I chose to write about this wine for a couple of reasons, first, the Paso Robles AVA is a terrific place to find quality Cabernet Sauvignon. You can find rather pricey bottles there, but they also showcase excellent value-priced drink-it-now, no aging required Cabernet Sauvignon. Paso Robles, along with Lodi and Columbia Valley are great places to look for bang for the buck Cabs.The second reason for this review is the innovative and complex techniques used to produce the Poppy Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a wine that I found for about twelve dollars and my usual explanation of the differences between value-priced wine and more expensive wine is that value wine is made with simpler processes that allow the wines to come together quickly. The faster the wine becomes ready for release and sale the sooner the winery can start to recoup their investment.The Poppy Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 does not follow that example. Before they even get to fermentation they use thermovinification and maceration on the crushed grapes and juice. Thermovinification is a fairly new technique where the crushed grapes are either heated to almost boiling or chilled to fully extract all the color and the desired compounds from the grapes, This process allows you to maximize the desired characteristics of the grapes and minimize the qualities that are not needed.A portion of the Poppy Cab see thermovinification and the rest undergoes maceration which is where the crushed grapes, seeds, and stems are left to stew with the crushed juice (either before fermentation or during fermentation). Maceration takes longer to complete than thermovinification and does not do as complete a job.My point to highlight thermovinification and maceration is not to definitively explain the process, it is way more complicated than I spelled out. The winemaking techniques, even in value-priced wines make a huge difference. You don't need to know exactly how these winemaking tools actually work but if wine X was made with certain techniques and wine Y wasn't, but wine Z was, wine Z may be the wine to choose.The Poppy Cabernet Sauvignon was aged for 18 months in small French oak barrels. Aging wine for a year and a half in French oak is a detail seen consistently in wine selling in the twenty-five dollar plus price range. So we have a wine sourced from 2 named vineyards (most wines in the $12 range do not list the actual vineyard, just the general AVA if you're lucky) in Paso Robles and underwent new and innovative winemaking techniques and was aged in the same manner as expensive wine.I like wines that have websites that provide technical notes into the making of their wines. Way too often the tech notes are some fluffy lifestyle blatherings and almost no useful information to get to know the wine. I don't need too much information, I only semi-understand what all the terms mean. But knowing which of the major, important processes are used gives you insight into what went into the making of the wine, and maybe explain why you like the wine.
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