Review: Wines of Ancient Peaks, 2023 Releases

Today we’re heading back into the wines of Paso Robles’ Ancient Peaks, including a look at three big reds, all made from estate fruit at Santa Margarita Ranch vineyards. A peek at Ancient Peaks’ second label is also in the mix. Read on for more.

2022 Ancient Peaks Sauvignon Blanc Paso Robles – I would have sworn this was New Zealand sauvignon blanc, it’s so bursting with tropical and floral elements. Amply acidic, the wine finds balance late in the game, evoking a touch of orange blossom and steely mineral notes, finishing on a tangerine note. Summertime in a glass, for sure.

2019 Ancient Peaks Petit Verdot 75% Santa Margarita Ranch – The other 25% is malbec. Intensely purple — almost black — this wine evokes smoky barbecue, leathery tar, and a sultry note of grilled plums. Raisin and prune notes add to the density, though it never comes across as cloying, thanks to various elements of incense, Asian spices, and Turkish rug shop that temper any sweetness that tries to muscle its way to the fore. Watch for the brooding tea leaf and bay leaf notes on the finish.

2019 Ancient Peaks Cabernet Franc 75% Santa Margarita Ranch – The other 25% is merlot. This dense, immersive wine showcases cabernet franc at the top of its game: Biting tannins are tempered by supple notes of cherry and raspberry, gentle greenery, and a hint of mint, then a finish that offers notes of licorice, dark chocolate, and a lick of baking spice. Complex and evolutionary in the glass, this soulful wine demands a long-term commitment, so open it early and settle in for the ride.

2019 Ancient Peaks Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Margarita Ranch – A touch balsamic; time in glass helps this expressive wine to show more classic, youthful cabernet notes: bold tannins, dark chocolate, and currants all in a swirl. A bolder blackberry character comes into focus as the wine develops, with touches of mint evident at the back end. I’d let this spend a few years in cellar before cracking into it to give it a bit of time to relax.

2021 One Stone Rose of Pinot Noir Central Coast – One Stone is a tiny second label for Ancient Peaks, comprising only this rose and a cabernet sauvignon. This wine is on the buttery, doughy side, featuring notes of honeysuckle and strawberry-scented dairy cream, then finishing with elements of creamy coconut. There’s a hint of lemon-lime here that adds some much-needed acidity, but the overall character comes across as a bit flabby.

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