2007 Maloy O’Neill Vineyards Enzo Super-Tuscan
Mission Codename: The Major Leaguer
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Maloy O’Neill, in Paso Robles, where Shannon O’Neill’s 2007 Enzo is now ready to enjoy. Procure as many cases as possible for our thirsty Operatives – who purchased their 2004 and 2005 Enzo in record numbers
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Maloy O’Neill
Wine Subject: 2007 Enzo
Winemaker: Shannon O’Neill
Backgrounder: Paso Robles has long been established as a wine producing region that give other California regions a run for their money. With a climate and soils that make for perfect growing conditions for grapes, it is no wonder. Winemakers in Paso are a somewhat unique breed, often declaring themselves to be the renegades of Cali wine. A meeting with Shannon O’Neill, winemaker and owner of Maloy O’Neill affirms this sentiment. A warm, excited and deeply passionate man, Shannon makes wines that reflect his personality. Join Agent Red as he visits Shannon – and returns with an allocation of his brilliant 2007 Enzo, a blend for our O’Neill-loving Operatives.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Darkest ruby hues, with even coloration from core to rim. On swirling, the wine settles quickly, leaving behind tall, tightly-spaced legs that move very slowly down the glass.
Smell – Lush and vibrant, with bold rush of ripe red cherry, blackberry, plum and blackberry mixed with notes of tobacco leaf, bramble, anise and soft sweetwood.
Feel – Bright and medium-bodied, this wine moves quickly across the palate and then settles in, giving the wine a grippy feeling. From the corners off the palate, a grippy dryness spreads inward, leading to a mouth-coating chewiness.
Taste – Bright and complex, with dark cherry, tobacco, smoky strawberry and blackberry that mingle with dusty bramble, star anise, sweetwoods, flint, black pepper and black cherry candy.
Finish – Ultra-long, with bold fruit flavors gradually yielding to earthen bramble, minerals and a hint of black pepper at the very end.
Conclusion – Thank you, Shannon O’Neill! You never disappoint us. Having shown two past vintages of this unique blend, we are thrilled to show the 2007 Enzo, a blend of 54% Sangiovese, 40% Lagrein and 6% Petit Verdot. A distinctly different blend then in previous years, the 2007 leads with bold, delicious, Paso Sangiovese. The Lagrien, which was the primary component of the 2005 vintage provides support and structure, along with flavors that are unique to the varietal. Rounded out by the Petit Verdot, this is a bold but well-balanced blend that we sipped and savored for an extended time, during our review. If you love bold Paso wines that are rife with flavor and character, then you will love today’s fine offering. Pair with zesty BBQ or a spicy bowl of beef chilli.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Shannon O’Neill
WINE EDUCATION: B.S. Fermentation Science, U.C.Davis
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: 1982-Present, Vice President, Vineyard Operations, O’Neill Vineyards, Paso Robles, CA; 1999-Present, President, Winemaker, Maloy O’Neill Vineyards, Paso Robles, CA; 2005- Present, Wine Production Consultant For Various Start Up Wineries on the Central Coast of California.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Making great wine while developing one on one customer relationships.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “I love making big, extracted, intense varietal character wines, and lots of them”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 1999
AGENT RED: Greetings, Shannon. We are thrilled to be showing your 2007 Enzo today. Every time we feature your wines, our Operatives love them. You’ve become very popular among our covert wine lovers. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
SHANNON: It is fantastic to be with you, once again. Thanks for loving our wines as much as you do!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
SHANNON: I think my horticulture class in the 5th grade, started my love for growing things. That developed into growing grapes when my family purchased 180 acres in Paso Robles in 1980. My sister convinced me to go to UC Davis because they needed winemakers for the new developing wine industry in the early 1980’s. She was in her 2nd year as a Viticulture major and I had just graduated high school and had plans to take over my father’s medical practice. My efforts to get into a premed university were daunting despite my great GPA and SAT scores. My sister suggested I sign up for the Fermentation Science Program at Davis which was the exact same first two years curriculum as a premed Biology major consisting of basically, lots of math and science. She told after your second year, transferring to a pre-med school would be very easy at that point. She was right, because there were only 13 students that signed up that year, and I slid right in. The only thing she was wrong about was, once I found out how cool being a winemaker was, med school was out!
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
SHANNON: Making Cabernet Sauvignon is the Holy Grail of winemaking. Cabernet has always been the backbone of my winemaking style and the history of my wines. Thank god, O’Neill Vineyards has been a never ending supply of high quality fruit for this endeavor!
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
SHANNON: Making Cabernet Sauvignon is the Holy Grail of winemaking. Cabernet has always been the backbone of my winemaking style and the history of my wines. Our two estate vineyards has always been a source of high quality fruit for this endeavor!
RED: Who do you make wine for?
SHANNON: I am the winemaker for our two estate brands, Maloy O’Neill Vineyards and O’Neill Vineyards and have been a production consultant and have done custom crush work for many small startup wineries on the central coast.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
SHANNON: Well the 2007 Enzo, like all the other Enzo’s I’ve made is a wine based around my love for working with Lagrein. Lagrein is a grape varietal that comes from the foothills of Alto Adige, in the Northeastern part of Italy (just below Austria). It’s really the only place in the world (besides the less than 30 acres of it that has recently been planted here in California) that I know of this grapes existence. Lagrein, by itself is such a dark, unctuous mountain wine, and while I try to make a 100% Lagrein each year I can, the Enzo lets me play with what I think is Lagrein’s other great attribute—its absolutely an amazing varietal to blend with others…
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
SHANNON: Because there is over 50% Sangiovese in this year’s version of Enzo, it’s a very good food wine. I enjoy drinking the Enzo with Steak (great with a NY or Filet with a gorgonzola wine reduction). It also compliments a rack of Lamb perfectly.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Paso Region so special?
SHANNON: Paso, because of its very cool nights is a most unique appellation. We get these incredible fluctuations between day and night, sometimes over 50 degrees. So the vines get plenty of heat (or degree days) yet the cool nights maintain the grapes acidity which you need to grow the most premium fruit. 2007 was an amazing vintage for us (as it was for many in California). The 2007 Enzo is the best Enzo yet—a rich, and powerful wine, with heaps of fruit on the mid-palate, generous tannins, and great acidity for a wine of its ripeness and weight.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
SHANNON: We’re getting ready for this year’s harvest. I just bottled up three new wines with a few more to be bottled and released here in the last part of this year. No rest for the weary!!
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
SHANNON: I make 36 different wines a year so I have a huge portfolio of many different styles and varietals to choose from. There is literally something for everyone. But if your one of those wine drinkers that like big, huge, extracted, intense varietal character reds, than you’re going to love my wines, because that is what I specialize in, and that is where my passion is! The Fremere is delicate dinner wine, that goes good with most foods, but I have many wines that are quaffing wines only, that can be served as the meal, so whatever style you like, go through the list on our website, and I promise you will find what you’re looking for!
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
SHANNON: I would just like to thank all of you for your unending support, and also the wine spies who do a wonderful job at picking wines that are unique and of interest to people who are looking for something more than what is available on the supermarket shelves. The Spies have consistently choose wines from all the different wineries they feature, that are worth checking out, and they also expose wineries who do not have worldwide distribution to and audience that might never get a chance to try new and exciting wines from small mom and pop wineries from many different regions! I welcome all of you to come to Paso Robles to see all the great things going on here, and if you do! Please visit us and say hello. For all of those who take me up on my offer, just mention you’re from the Spies and we will give you an extra discount on all wines and waive your tasting fees! Thank you again, and hope to see you soon!
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
SHANNON: Thank you and all your customers for your loyal support over the years and enjoy Maloy O’Neill wines.