Parador Cellars is run by Steve Ventrello (who we originally met with at his home); Steve is also the winemaker. This winery started as a dream with visits to Spain and many tastings of various Tempranillo wines. Steve began thinking about how Tempranillo was such an under-rated varietal in California. During one trip to Spain he secured Tempranillo budwood from well-known vineyards in the Ribera del Duero and Rioja wine regions. He then had had it shipped to California. A friend has a large vineyard in Wooden Valley east of Napa and this wood was budded onto existing vines.
Parador is a Spanish word and represents castles that have been converted to lodging. It also means a place to stop, rest and enjoy life. Parador’s wines are all about enjoying life with good food as they are meant to be consumed with meals.
Steve has a long history of working within the wine business and has run a popular wine distribution company, Vintage Wine Marketing for a number of years. He learned the wine making business over time and released his first commercial vintage in 1998. He uses all high quality Bordeaux based oak barrels for aging as well as larger oak Puncheons which allow the wine to age slower and longer. As a result, his wines see a minimum of 4 years of total aging from harvest to release. All their wines are unfiltered. And this is the only Napa producer that has made Tempranillo the focus of their production.
The 2005 Parador Cellars Tempranillo saw no new oak during the aging of the wine and as a result the varietal characteristics show very well. There are not a lot of Tempranillo producers in the Napa area and this is an excellent example of how this fruit can really shine. The grapes were not harvested to ripe so its not an overly fruit driven wine high in alcohol, rather it has good acidity with structured smooth tannins on the long elegant finish. Plum and cherry flavors show on the palate along with a nice minerality.
And in a very rare wine for the Napa Valley, Steve produced a Tempranillo rosé in 2015.
The Parador Cellars Reserva is predominately a Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon blend. We enjoyed their 2004 vintage. This has a pretty bouquet similar to the primary Tempranillo; it is a full bodied wine with notes of plums on the palate and structured tannins on the finish. This wine blend typically varies in the percentages used each year.
Also of note is they make several Cabernet Sauvignons from fruit sourced from select regional vineyards including Hossfeld and Stagecoach (both located in the Atlas Peak sub appellation of the Napa Valley). The wines are well distributed in California (which is their main market), and may be represented locally at Gary’s in St. Helena and Enoteca in Calistoga. Additionally, while they are a small producer (as of our latest update, one of their wines is under 100 cases) they sometimes have older vintages available on their website priced very decently. For more information and or to join their mailing list, visit: www.paradorcellars.com
NOTE: This review has been identified as needing a **major** update. Possibly no longer producing wine – will archive or update at some point once we have more details.