Sample unique blends at Powell Mountain Cellars

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Powell Mountain Cellars vineyard

Time and patience reap great fruit for exceptional wines

Powell Mountain wines come from a trusting relationship between the earth and its farmers. Vintners’ skills work patiently with the environment’s ability to grow, a blending of potential. The wines produced from that partnership carry that blending philosophy forward.

Powell Mountain Cellars grows six varietals on six acres, producing an average of 1,100 cases each year at this very small and personal winery.

“The purpose of so many varietals is to make unique blends,” Powell said.

The blends are part of a mountainous theme at Powell Mountain Cellars and include Ascent, a Rhone-inspired blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache; Summit, a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah; Alta Montana, a Rioja blend of Tempranillo, Grenache and Mourvèdre; and Pinnacle, a meritage-styled blend that features all five Bordeaux grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon being prominent with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot.

Philosophy of unity

Powell is the winemaker and viticulturalist at the winery owned and operated by himself and his wife, Kim. The Powells have what they call a terroir approach to growing – terroir is based on a philosophy of unity Bill and Kim Powellregarding the soil, the region and nature itself.

“All the stars align in Paso Robles,” Bill Powell said. “The process is patience; all of this was thoughtfully planned. We bring wines to market when they’re ready. We don’t push them ahead of their time.”

Powell describes his process as natural and almost entirely organic. He said his vineyards have a strong focus on sustainability and are green-oriented and conscientious, not wasteful.

Elegant, bold, hand-crafted wines

The Powells founded Powell Mountain Cellars in 2010. Bill Powell studied viticulture primarily focusing on perfecting individual varietals and blends from Rhone- and Bordeaux-style grape varietals from many viticulture regions across the state of California. Today, at Powell Mountain Cellars he works with those same varietals that the Powells describe as both “elegant and bold, and concentrated in flavor.”

All of the wines are hand-crafted and fermented in small lots. Wine grapes are picked from low-yielding vineyards at the peak of maturity. Each white grape varietal is pressed then fermented in stainless steel tank, or in oak surly style. The wine is then clarified and aged in oak barrel or tank. Each red grape varietal is de-stemmed, cold soaked, and fermented on skins an average of three weeks. The wines are then pressed and barrel-aged for up to three years.

The varietals include Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah, Zinfandel, Tempranillo and Viognier.

When asked about awards, Powell said, “We’re not seeking awards at this time. We’re bringing exceptional wines to people who love them. We want the wines to speak for themselves. We want to give the people a wonderful experience. There’s more love and passion in this than dollars.”

The Powell Mountain Cellars tasting room, located at 3050 Blue Rock Road in Paso Robles, is open Thursday, Noon – 4 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Monday through Wednesday by appointment. For more information, call (805) 434-8097 or see powellmountaincellars.com.

– Paula McCambridge

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