We recently had the opportunity to taste a range of wines produced by Brian and Stephy Terrizzi under their Broadside label. The couple participated in an online tasting during which they answered our questions and tasted four of their wines with us. The wine was provided to us as tasting samples. The tasting, among other things, highlighted the variety of wine styles being produced in the Paso Robles AVA.
The couple is producing wine they describe as reflecting purity of the variety, the vintage and the vineyard. Their style in both the vineyard, Stephy manages the vineyards, and in the cellar, Brian is the winemaker, is hands-off and low-intervention. Translation: native yeast fermentation, use of neutral oak aging, with early harvesting to preserve acidity in the fruit.
Brian learned winemaking at CSU, Fresno where the couple met. There he learned standard winemaking techniques including the use of commercial yeast with nutrient additions during fermentation, adjustments as necessary and new wood aging. He jokes that his style of winemaking is actually less costly than the standard methods, but that’s not the real reason for the hands-off approach. It’s because his approach produces the style of wine the couple prefers to drink.
They are not above watching costs, however, but prefer to cut costs “outside the bottle,” as Brian puts it. For example, their unique bottle labels are designed as one wraparound label, rather than a front and back label. One label costs less than two.
That one wraparound label also fits nicely with the literary origin of the name of their winery:
A broadside (also known as a broadsheet) is a single sheet of inexpensive paper printed on one side, often with a ballad, rhyme, news and sometimes with woodcut illustrations. They were one of the most common forms of printed material between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, particularly in Britain, Ireland and North America and are often associated with one of the most important forms of traditional music from these countries, the ballad.
This thoughtful couple began making wine in Paso Robles with the 2006 vintage. Cabernet Sauvignon was, and remains, their focus. In addition they make Chardonnay, Merlot and a red blend.
These are the Broadside wines we tasted:
2014 Broadside Wild Ferment Chardonnay — straw yellow in the glass with tropical fruit aromas. Complex flavors of pear, pineapple and citrus pith combine with a nice weight in the mouth and bright acidity. Mineral flavors come in on the finish which is fairly long. 13.5% abv. $20
The flavors shout Chardonnay and the wine is nicely balanced with a bit of weight in the mouth. Very nice acidity, but it won’t remove your tooth enamel. I prefer this wine with a bit of a chill, but it is delicious as it warms in the glass. It is made for creamy pasta dishes, fish, appetizers or a warm summer afternoon.
Cooler sites in the Edna Valley and San Luis Obispo county are the source of the Chardonnay for this wine. Wild Ferment in the name gives you a hint that native yeast fermentation was used. No additions or adjustments were made in the cellar, so the acidity and balance you taste is what came from the vineyard. This wine sees only a bit of neutral wood aging so that the pure flavors of the fruit can shine through.
2013 Broadside Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon — medium ruby in the glass with red fruit and cedar aromas. Raspberries, blackberries and earthy flavors are supported by nice tannins with just a bit of grip. The wine has a medium body and the finish is moderate in length. 13.9% abv. $18
This is a lovely Cabernet with obvious varietal character and very nice balance. Fruit is sourced from vineyards in the Paso Robles Santa Margarita Ranch and Estrella District AVAs. Native fermentation with aging in neutral French and American oak for 14 months followed.
2013 Broadside Margarita Vineyard Merlot — medium ruby in the glass with delicate fruit and dried hay aromas. The combination of blackberry, plum and dried alfalfa flavors combine in the most interesting way. Smooth tannins and nice acidity support the flavors. Delicious. 14.4% abv. $22
Much more interesting than many Merlots I’ve tasted. That combination of slightly savory and fruity flavors is delicious and interesting. Lovely food wine. Once again, native yeast fermentation, no additions or adjustments and neutral French oak only. Merlot at its best.
2013 Broadside Margarita Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon — medium ruby in the glass with berry and dried herb aromas. Blackberry and raspberry flavors are seasoned with a pinch of black tea and supported with slightly grippy tannins. The finish is juicy and a bit savory. 14.2% abv. $25
This wine has the most evident tannins of the red wines in this group along with a nice combination of fruit and savory flavors. This Cabernet is made is the same manner as the prior wines, with French oak aging — 3% new. This is the wine that started it all for the Terrizzis in 2006.
It was the soil that originally attracted Brian and Stephy to Paso Robles, and the rolling hills. It didn’t take long for the pair to discover the Margarita Vineyard, which was originally planted by Robert Mondavi in the late-1990s. When the vineyard changed hands Stephy and Brian were in the right place at the right time and since 2006 have been making Cabernet Sauvignon from the site.
The vineyard, which is the source for their Merlot as well, has calcareous soil that contains intact seashells. Its location close the the ocean means a cool climate. Merlot, which ripens about a month before the Cabernet, is very happy growing here. Cabernet struggles to ripen in this location and constant tasting and monitoring in the vineyard by Stephy are required to insure optimal harvest.
The quality of the grapes produced in the Margarita Vineyard is excellent, according to Stephy and Brian, although the yield is low. The grapes have thick skins and high acidity. In short, Bordeaux varieties are very happy growing here.
Elegant is the best description I can use to characterize these wine from Broadside. They all have plenty of flavor and complexity with moderate alcohol levels. They are food-friendly wines and all very fairly priced, surprisingly so. These wines challenged my perception of Paso Robles AVA wine which I generally think of as big, bold and very ripe.
Brian and Stephy have a second wine project as well. Under their label Giornata they produce blended and varietal wines using Italian grape varieties. More surprises from the Central Coast of California.
Thank you, Brian and Stephy for sharing your story with us — and, of course, your wine. Thanks, also to Charles Communications Associates for organizing and hosting the Brandlive® tasting. Very instructive and lots of fun.