2020 DéTENTE Wines, Hugo Pinot Noir – Can You Decipher the Code?

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Here is another wine enjoyed after I visited Paso Robles last December for the Paso Robles Cabernet Franc Day tasting and symposium. Having just two hours of free time, I asked a friend where I should go to taste some excellent wines besides their wine (Dracaena Wines) in Paso Robles. What a great recommendation going to DéTENTE Wines tasting room, which was no small chore in finding them!  The tasting room is located in the alley between 12th & 13th and Park & Pine Street, in the back courtyard of Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ. A bit tricky in finding but well worth the adventure.

The Winery

This may sound like an odd name for a winery, but in reality it is a great name for a winery in Paso Robles! It has been a long tradition of claiming that the best wines from vineyards come from either the West or East side of Highway 101 in Paso Robles. Thus calling for DéTENTE (definition being easing of hostility or strained relations) believing both sides of Highway 101 offer excellent wines! As DéTENTE Wines produces small lot boutique varietals from the best vineyards on both sides of Highway 101.

The winery is co-owned by three individuals. Chris Eberle, winemaker, has spent 15 years working in well-known wineries across the globe building on his resume and experience. From a wine cellar in Weinsberg, Germany to harvest at Hartenberg Winery in Stellebosch, South Africa, Kim Crawford in Marlborough, New Zealand, Howard Park Wines in Margaret River, Western Australia and Chateau angelus in Bordeaux, France. He also currently is the head winemaker at Eberle Winery in Paso Robles.

Another co-owner is Trevor Iba, who has an extensive background in the wine industry. He was Director of Accounting and Finance for some of the well-known wineries on the Central Coast. He also owns a mobile wine cross flow filtration company called TS Wine Services serving the Central Coast AVA’s.

The third co-owner and Creative Director belongs to Julian Caustrita. His responsibilities are to execute the brand’s expression. Julian’s focus is on design and strategy for the past 15 years, with a design background to capture the team and brand vision with cross platform design and media development. This is one label you need to read every word printed on it as there are typically double meanings behind each label.

The Wine- 2020 DéTENTE Wines, Hugo Pinot Noir

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

This is made from grapes from Mun’s Vineyard located in higher regions of the Santa Cruz AVA. The bottle design very much intrigued my curiosity. It seems like some type of code to decipher for secret agents to figure out! As it turns out it is not that complicated as Hugo is named after Chris’s son who was born in 2020 the same as the vintage….mystery solved!

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

The wine on the eyes provided bright and crisp royal purple edges and deep ruby coloring in the center. When the glass was filled to the equator of the glass, it was extremely dark and alluring. On the nose very little aromas waft upward even in a Riedel Pinot Noir glass. So was a bit disappointed that perhaps this Pinot Noir had faded. But once a sip was taken, the true nature of this fine Pinot Noir came out from the shadows with dark red fruits of strawberries and cherries. On the palate traces of smooth grandfathers pipe tobacco, cranberries and earthiness. The finish was equally impressive with smooth tannins but with just enough edges to be enjoyed. Combined with its structure of acidity, it provided a satisfying completeness to the sip. Only 48 cases of this wine was produced! Their website shows it for $45/bottle. The wine has an alcohol level of 14.6%. It was aged 10 months in second fill Hungarian oak barrels.  Definitely one of the more enjoyable sipping Pinot Noir with or without food

The Food and Wine Pairing

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

The wine was pulled out of the cellar as we had an oven baked pork loin. Rubbed with various spices and sliced and plated with an apricot pepper sauce from Stewart & Jaspers Orchards. Accompanied by sautéed quartered Yukon potatoes and mushrooms with a side fresh garden salad. The DéTENTE Hugo Pinot Noir picked up the “smokiness of the spices on the rub”. The bright acidity and smooth, yet embracing tannins, complemented the pork’s lean and fatty cuts. A delicious food and wine pairing.








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