CABS of Distinction Paso Robles’ “En Primeur” Tasting Dazzles from the Start


The second Annual CABS of Distinction took place Wednesday April 23-April 28 in Paso Robles, CA.  Last year’s inaugural event was inspiring, educational and of course delicious leaving many to see how this year could improve.  The answer was a longer and more involved event with countless ways to meet winemakers; taste past, current and future vintages; and immerse with one of the regions more respected varietals: Cabernet Savignon.


The day started with the En Primeur tasting at the beautiful Paso Robles Inn ballroom with barrel tastings from the 28 member wineries’ as-yet-unreleased 2013 vintage, followed by the current release tasting and ending with one of several winemaker dinners offered at dinner host destinations.  For us it would be hosted at  Le Vigne Winery with winemaker Michael Barreto.

One allure of a barrel tasting or “En Primeur” is to get a sneak preview of what the wine will be.  Tasting young, still in barrel wines, not set to be bottled or released.  Guests were able to taste these baby Cabernets full of big fruit and even bigger tannins, and hear winemakers’ visions of what the wines will be after another 18 to 24 months in barrel.

The truly amazing comparison was which (of the very few) winery’s samples were already mellowing, compared to those who were rightfully still “rambunctious”.

While the event was great, it tired a taster both physically and palette-wise.  By the time wineries were pouring their current release most people needed a break to recuperate.  A great idea for CAB 2015 would be including the barrel tasting with the current offerings so we can taste and compare the vintages at the same time.