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  • Writer's pictureThe Unassuming Wine Bros

Paso Robles Red Blends

The Unassuming Wine Bros

Legend has it that outlaw Jesse James took refuge in the rolling hills of Paso Robles, CA, including using its complex system of tunnels to elude the authorities. Ever the adventurous rebels that Jesse James was, a century and a half later, this month, the UWBs also explore the complexities of the rolling hills of Paso Robles - by taking a deep dive into some of its finest affordable red blends.

We are The Unassuming Wine Bros (UWB) – Patrick and Vigo - two regular guys who love everything about wine, including writing about it. Our goal is to explore the nuances of wine, share our adventures with you, and have a little fun along the way.

This month's exploration of Paso Robles is not just about wine; it is also a chance for Vigo, who had spent some time in Paso, to re-live his wine glory days once again. With this dual purpose in mind, here are our thoughts:

2017 Chronic Cellars Sofa King Bueno, Red Blend, Paso Robles, California, $26.00 US, 14% ABV.

Vigo: As Patrick is a fan of wine ratings, I'm a super fan of wine label artwork. Just the Sofa King Bueno Red Blend label itself made me sit up on the edge of my seat and take notice of this wine. However, this isn't an art column; the UWBs is about the wine, so with my glass at standard UWB tasting level (3/4th full), I swirled, smelled, and sampled. The Sofa King Bueno aroma is of dark black cherry and plum. Its taste didn't disappoint with cherry, plum, a hint of chocolate, and leather with some tartness and acidity on its finish. This wine is a who's –who of grape varieties containing 55% Syrah, 21 % Grenache, 12 Petite Sirah,8% Tannat, and 7% Mourvedre. Bottom line this wine has something for everyone, literally.

Vigo's Rating: 3.5 Bros

Patrick: The 2017 Chronic Cellars Sofa King Bueno red blend was outstanding wine that I enjoyed so much that I drank it again a few days after we first tasted it for this article. This medium-bodied blend showed juicy fruit with cherry and blackberry, tannins, and excellent acidity that gave it balance and carried it to its pronounced finish. This was a close second as this month's favorite.

Patrick's Rating: 4 Bros

2018 Hope Family Wines, Quest Red Blend, Paso Robles, California, $22.00 US, 14.5% ABV.

Vigo: When Patrick presented the Quest for tasting, I was initially excited. Austin Hope (Hope Family Wines) is one of my favorite Cabernet Sauvignons, so expectations were high. My excitement turned to confusion after the first swirl and breathing in the Quest's aroma. The aroma of Quest is of cinnamon and licorice, but there is earthliness that I've never experienced before. The confusion may stem from the blending of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc varietals. Though I'm a massive fan of Cabernet Sauvignon, I'm not a big fan of Cabernet Franc, which might be the licorice and cinnamon aromas. After working through my Cabernet Franc issues, I enjoyed the taste of dark fruit, chocolate, licorice, tobacco, and tropical flowers from this wine. Though the Quest isn't anything like its big brother Austin Hope Cabernet Sauvignon, it has a lot going on regarding flavor profiles and is well worth taking for a whirl on your palate.

Vigo Rating: 3 Bros

Patrick: I also love the Austin Hope Cabernet Sauvignon so much that we considered two different Austin Hope red blends to sample this month. The 2018 Austin Hope Quest red blend is full-bodied, complex in flavor, smooth, velvety, and easy-to-drink with notes of cherry, plum, red licorice, vanilla, chocolate, tobacco, and spice. This is a fascinating, complex, decadent wine worth a try if you like rich wines. I don't typically put much stock in a wine's aromas, but this wine smells excellent on the nose. Although it was not officially part of our tasting, I recommend the more affordable Austin Hope red blend - the Austin Hope Troublemaker ($14.00 US). Comprised of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Zinfandel, and Petit Syrah, this blend was similar to the 2018 Austin Hope Quest red blend but smoother with more chocolate and espresso notes. Both are delicious - which one to try is a matter of personal preference.

Patrick's Rating: 3.75 Bros (Both)

2018 DAOU Vineyards, Pessimist Red Blend, Paso Robles, California, $25.00 US, 15.5% ABV.

Vigo: This red blend packs a punch both in flavor and alcohol content. Though named Pessimist, there is nothing to be pessimistic about this full-bodied red blend. With the aroma of vanilla, blueberry, and plum, the Pessimist is a joy on the nose. Tasting the Pessimist is an experience much like a prizefight. The Pessimist contains big flavors with dark cherry, chocolate, and plum and alcohol content that will hit you like an uppercut. The Pessimist is a wine to sip and enjoy slowly.

Vigo Rating: 3.5 Bros

Patrick: The 2018 Daou Vineyards Pessimist red blend was my favorite of this month's selections. This full-bodied, flavorful wine is equal parts complex and fruity - with blueberry, plum, red cherries, coffee and chocolate notes with tannins and acid on the finish. This wine is an explosion of different and conflicting characteristics. The more you drink it, the more things you taste, making for a gratifying drinking experience.

Patrick's Rating: 4 Bros

Vigo's Overall Impressions: Red blends are a fantastic place to start if you're new to wine and unsure of your palate profile. When it comes to wines that bring big flavor and variety, Paso Robles brings it and more. Though the Quest still perplexes me regarding its aroma and flavor, the Pessimist and the Sofa King Bueno brought variety and complexity that I thoroughly enjoyed. Paso Robles, you still got it, even after all these years later.

Patrick's Overall Impressions: I thought all of the wines we sampled this month were great. These are all flavorful, complex blends with lots of fruit. Paso Robles - you impress me. I recommend all of them. Try them and let us know which of these selections your favorite was.

Attention Fans and Readers:

Like our Facebook page "The Unassuming Wine Bros," follow us on Instagram @theinassumingwinebros, or email us at Let us know what you think about this article, these bottles, or suggestions for upcoming articles.

Rating System:

Vigo – / Patrick – UWB symbol. Ratings are given on a 1-5 scale, with five being the highest.

This article was originally published in "Around the Ranch" on May 19, 2021

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