WA96 This is my little twist on Châteauneuf-du-Pape,” Paul Lato tells me. It’s a 50/50 blend of Grenache and Syrah from Bien Nacido and Larner vineyards. Aged for 24 months in 45% new French oak, the 2016 Grenache/Syrah Letters to Europe has a medium to deep ruby-purple color and a dense, intense nose with scents of kirsch, blueberry coulis, cassis, warm chocolate, toasted coconut and red cherry sparks with accents of liquid licorice, grilled meats and dried roses. Full-bodied, dense and packed with luscious fruits and spices, it has very firm but very ripe, granulated tannins and seamless freshness, finishing very long and hedonistic. This is only made in the best years, and this is its second edition. 140 cases of the 2016 vintage will be released this fall.
JD96 A new cuvée by Lato (it’s the first vintage I’ve tasted), the 2016 Letters To Europe checks in as a blend of equal parts Grenache and Syrah that’s mostly from the Bien Nacido Vineyard outside of Santa Maria (83%) yet also includes a good chuck of fruit from Michael Larner’s Larner Vineyard in Ballard Canyon. Aged two years in just under half new barrels, this beauty showed wonderfully from tank and now from bottle it certainly doesn’t disappoint, revealing a saturated purple color as well as sumptuous notes of cured meats, vanilla tinged spices, new leather, ground pepper, and assorted darker berry fruits. Possessing full-bodied richness and depth, a seamless, incredibly elegant texture, ultra-fine tannins, and a great finish, as always, it’s the purity of fruit and texture that sets Paul’s wines apart.
VIN96 Lato’s 2016 Letters to Europe is a blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Grenache. A wine of sweeping beauty and elegance, the 2016 possesses tremendous richness and plushness in all of its dimensions. Sweet floral and spice notes develop in the glass, as the Grenache comes through with increasingly more presence over time. The new oak needs to integrate fully, but there is no getting around this majestic beauty from Paul Lato.