Steve Ventrello founded Parador Cellars based on his ‘fantasy’ that three seemingly compatible grape varieties would marry and wined up creating an exceptional wine. He intuited that blending the very best of his favorite varietals – Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, along with the premier grapes of Spain and Italy, Tempranillo and Sangiovese – would yield a singular wine of potentially great character. And he was absolutely right.
Bringing Spanish Tempranillo to California
This winery started as a dream with visits to Spain and many tastings of various Tempranillo wines. Steve started thinking about how Tempranillo was such an under-rated varietal in California. During one trip to Spain he secured Tempranillo budwood from well-known vineyards in the Ribera del Duero and Rioja wine regions. He then had had it shipped to California. A friend has a large vineyard in Wooden Valley east of Napa and this wood was budded onto existing vines. Parador is a Spanish word and represents castles that have been converted to lodging. It also means a place to stop, rest and enjoy life.
Parador’s wines are all about enjoying life with good food as they are meant to be consumed with meals. Steve has a long history of working within the wine business and has run a popular wine distribution company, Vintage Wine Marketing for a number of years. He learned the winemaking business over time and released his first commercial vintage in 1998. He uses all high quality Bordeaux based oak barrels for aging as well as the much larger oak Puncheons which allow the wine to age slower and longer. All their wines are unfiltered.
Parador Cellars Wine Tasting
This week we sat down with Steve to taste through his current releases, which included the 2012, 2013 and 2010 vintages. Yes you read that right, these are his current new releases. All the Parador wines see a minimum of 4 years of total aging from harvest to release, resulting in wines that can be enjoyed upon release.
No new oak was used during the aging of this wine and as a result the varietal characteristics show in this wine very well. There are not a lot of Tempranillo producers in the Napa area and this is an excellent example of how this fruit can really shine. The grapes were not harvested too ripe so its not a major fruit driven wine high in alcohol, rather it has good acidity with structured smooth tannins on the long elegant finish. Pretty vibrant and bright this wine really sings with flavors of plum and violets that linger on the palate.
Inspired by the great blended wines made at Vega Sicilia in the Ribera del Duero, this is the first year this wine was a 50/50 split between Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Also of note is their Reserva which is blend of 60% Tempranillo and 40%Cabernet Sauvignon blend. We enjoyed their 2010 vintage. This elegant wine still had so much to offer after 8 years of aging. Dark color and an intense bouquet drive this wine.
This site has always been the backbone of the Parador wines. With notes of black cherry pie, this wine really shows the vineyard’s brambly graphite terroir of the Hossifeld vineyard. A great vintage!