Dunning Vineyards is a small, family owned and operated winery making limited-production, artisan wines from their vineyards on the far West side of the Paso Robles appellation. Winemaker Bob Dunning and his family planted the secluded mountainous vineyards in 1991 with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay. The vineyards were expanded a few years later to include Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Petite Sirah.
I was contacted by Bob Dunning who offered the opportunity to try a few of their wines. I was intrigued after learning they were neighbors of Saxum, a favorite winery of mine.
2010 Private Reserve Estate Zinfandel – 15.5% ABV. Deep magenta in color. Gorgeous red fruits on the nose. Fresh raspberry, loganberry, pepper, cherry liqueur and cloves on the palate. Rich, jammy and thickly textured. The finish is long and supple. Impressive! 375 cases produced and $38 at the winery. My rating: 92 points.
2010 Reserve Petite Sirah – 15.5% ABV. Completely purple in color. Aromas of black fruits and white pepper. Blackberry cobbler, peppercorn, anise, mint and a touch of vanilla on the palate. The wine is unctuous with amazing viscosity. Supple but firm tannins. The sweet finish literally lasts for over a minute. This wine is stellar right now but has the stuffing to age effortlessly for at least a decade. 150 cases produced and $45 at the winery. My rating: 93 points.
I’ve been buying and collecting wines since right around the time Dunning Vineyards planted their first vines in the early 90’s. I like to think I have a pretty good grasp on the attention-worthy wines in my favorite regions, yet somehow Dunning managed to fly under my radar. It’s safe to say these wines completely exceeded my expectations.
Dunning Vineyards is open for tasting Thursday-Monday. On top of that, they have a guest villa on their property that I hope to check out on a future visit to Paso Robles.
If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.