Our good friends produce Terra Robles at O'Neill Vintners, one of the top 30 wineries in California. It was founded in 2004 by Jeff O'Neill, a third-generation member of a California winemaking family with roots dating back to 1934. He didn't start from scratch, however. He once headed Golden State Vintners, a powerhouse in the custom crush business in California.
Today, O'Neill is recognized as the preferred outsourcing partner for many of the world's leading beverage alcohol companies and brand owners. Their niche is to provide everything from grapes to final bottling for small producers who want to concentrate on winemaking and let someone else worry about day-to-day stuff. O'Neill is that someone else.
So, when they make wine with their name on it and from their vineyard, there's no second-best option. Somehow the best grapes end up in their own selection like this one from their estate vineyard in Paso Robles.
First off, we love winemaker, Mark Rasmussen's soft touch with Chardonnay. He doesn't let the grapes get too ripe, so the alcohols are lower and the flavors more piquant. He uses a touch of oak to add complexity, but not at the expense of character. The result is a seamless wine beginning with tropical hints, evolving into apple and spice and finishing cleanly to be up for the challenge of fish and chips with malt vinegar or a garlic laden roast chicken.