Liz and Bill Armstrong came to wine through the world of geology (so did Philippe Melka, incidentally). Geologists do seem to have a knack for terroir! They chose Paso Robles for the unique soils, the hills and the extreme temperature swings they knew would suit the Rhone varieties they loved. The 2017 Estate Blend is an intriguing mix of just about every red variety they grow. It starts with 36% Syrah, 21% Grenache and 17% Mourvedre, but pulls in Tempranillo, Zinfandel and Carignan as well. The wine is sappy and focused with intense black raspberry flavors and sweet floral notes. Very long and very smooth, it’s a ride you won’t want to end.
While the estate blend used to function as an entry level cuvée, today it's as good as the other cuvées and well worth seeking out in its own right. Based on 36% Syrah, 21% Grenache, 17% Mourvèdre, 14% Tempranillo, and the rest Zinfandel and Carignan, the 2017 Estate Blend’s vivid purple color is followed by a juicy bouquet of black raspberries, ground pepper, leafy herbs, chocolate, and a touch of chalky minerality. With medium to full body, a juicy, elegant, balanced texture, and a great finish, it's a great wine to enjoy over the coming 7-8 years or so. I don't think it will be the longest lived in the lineup, but for the sheer yum factor, it's hard to beat.