Villa Creek

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Country of Origin: USA
Location: Willow Creek District, Paso Robles
People: Cris & JoAnn Cherry, Owners | Cris Cherry, Winemaker
Viticulture: Practicing Organic

Items

Villa Creek 2015 'White' (Grenache Blanc/Roussanne), Paso Robles Login AG 91 In Stock
Villa Creek 2013 Roussanne, James Berry Vineyard, Paso Robles Login WA (90-92) AG 93 WA 90 In Stock
Villa Creek 2009 Carignan, Redwood Valley Login AG 93 In Stock
Villa Creek 2014 Garnacha, Paso Robles Login AG 93 WA 91+ WS 90 In Stock
Villa Creek 2013 'Damas Noir' Mourvedre, Paso Robles Login WA (92-94) WA 94 AG 92 In Stock
Villa Creek 2014 'Avenger' Red Rhone Blend, Paso Robles Login WS 87 AG 94 In Stock
Villa Creek 2013 'High Road' Red Rhone Blend, James Berry Vineyard, Paso Robles Login WA (93-95) AG 94 WA 93+ In Stock



Social Media
Twitter: @villacreekwine
Villa Creek Facebook

Cris Cherry knows everyone in Paso. Or seems to. Cris and his wife JoAnn moved to Paso Robles in 1996 to open their locally oriented, farm-to-table restaurant called Villa Creek. Inspired by the burgeoning Paso wine scene, the Cherry’s decided to try their hands at winemaking. In 2001, they produced their first vintage under the same name, Villa Creek Cellars. Over the years Cris has honed his craft: earlier harvests, more stem inclusion, and less oak usage. He is hands on in every aspect and even stomps the grapes with his own two feet. The result is a flight of wines that present structure and depth, plus lip-smacking deliciousness. These are wines with muscle and class—bodybuilders who can ballroom dance.

In 2003, the Cherry’s purchased 60 acres in West Paso that bears remarkable resemblance to some of the great Southern Rhone estates. The estate, known as the Maha Estate, contains an extreme topography of south and west facing slopes that climb to 1,800 feet. The Cherry’s home and 3,000-square-foot winery are on this same property. In spring of 2012, the Cherry’s planted their first grapevines—four acres of biodynamically farmed Garnacha, planted on the calcareous and siliceous shale hillsides surrounding the tasting room. Every other row is tilled to keep biodiversity. Sheep help mow and fertilize. Cris uses a goblet-head pruning system instead of a more orderly trellising, so that the Spanish Garnacha can create its own open canopy for shade. Conversion to dry farming is the eventual plan. They expect their first estate wines, under the Maha label, to be online in three to five years.

They continue to purchase grapes from the region's most esteemed vineyards: Denner, James Berry, and Luna Matta. All are organically and sustainably farmed. West Paso accounts for 90% of the grapes purchased. Per acre leases ensure that the grapes are harvested from the same special blocks each vintage. These contracts also allow Villa Creek to influence certain farming practices such as how many clusters will hang on each vine and when to pick.

Wine Advocate 8/2016
"Winemaker Chris Cherry continues to produce a bevy of unique wines from his estate high up off of Peachy Canyon Road. The wines have shifted in style over the past decade, and today they're much more savory and stem-dominated (most are fermented with 100% whole cluster and aged in a good portion of concrete) than in the past. I suspect the majority of these new releases will benefit from short term cellaring to let the stems integrate."


Vinous 9/2016
"This year's releases from Cris Cherry represent the most complex and refined wines that I have yet tasted from Villa Creek, a fact that Cherry simply attributes to "more time in the vines and more time in the cellar." Cherry notes that he is trying to fine-tune and focus his farming and winemaking by delegating more of his responsibilities at his iconic (and consistently excellent) Paso Robles restaurant, also called Villa Creek, so that he can devote as much energy as possible to wine-growing. Based on his more recent wines I think that the positive results are becoming clear.


Wine Advocate 8/2014
"Winemaker Cris Cherry continues to push the whole cluster and savory style in his wines, while not losing the core of fruit that the region is known for. These new releases all have rich, tannic profiles that benefit from air, and will be even better in another year or two."


Vinous 7/2014
"Proprietor Cris Cherry describes 2012 as similar to 2010, but riper than 2011 and less challenging than 2013 in terms of managing alcohols and sugars. Cherry is among the many producers who have backed off the ripeness levels of years past, while increasing the use of whole clusters and neutral oak, all of which allow the wines to express gorgeous varietal and site-specific nuance. Villa Creek doesn't get as much attention as some of the higher-profile properties in town, but the wines are as good as anything coming out of Paso Robles these days. Readers who haven't tasted these wines in a few years are missing out."


The Wine Advocate 8/2013
"Cris Cherry’s Villa Creek is located on the western side of Paso Robles, high up off Peachy Canyon Road. He continues to experiment with Rhone and increasingly Spanish (think Rioja and Priorat) varieties, as well as with varying amount of whole-cluster inclusion. The wines offer singular, unique profiles, with loads of flavor and character."

Reviews

  • Villa Creek 2013 Roussanne, James Berry Vineyard, Paso Robles
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: (90-92) (8/1/2014)

    The 2013 Roussanne James Berry, which was brought up in equal parts new, neutral and concrete, offers beautiful white flowers, lemon curd and pineapple-like qualities to go with bright acidity, medium-bodied richness and building richness. This is a beauty that shows the variety nicely. It will be food friendly and drink well for 2-3 years.
  • Villa Creek 2013 Roussanne, James Berry Vineyard, Paso Robles
    Vinous
    Rating: 93 (9/1/2015)

    Pale gold. An explosively perfumed bouquet evokes ripe peach, pear skin, melon and chamomile. Densely packed and lively, offering sappy nectarine and quince flavors and suggestions of succulent herbs and fig. A more exotic tropical fruit quality emerges on the finish, which features notes of sweet butter and tarragon.
  • Villa Creek 2009 Carignan, Redwood Valley
    Vinous
    Rating: 93 (9/1/2015)

    Brilliant ruby-red. Smoky, expansive scents of dried cherry, incense, Indian spices and licorice candy, with a suggestion of vanilla building in the glass. Sweet, seamless, deeply pitched dark fruit flavors are sharpened by a peppery nuance, picking up a floral note on the back half. Closes sweet, smoky and spicy, with excellent persistence and subtle tannins. This wild, distinctive wine was made with 50% whole clusters and aged in new Hungarian oak for five years.
  • Villa Creek 2013 Roussanne, James Berry Vineyard, Paso Robles
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 90 (8/1/2015)

    The 2013 Roussanne James Berry Vineyard is a rich, full-flavored beauty that offers up lots of golden apple, buttered citrus and honeyed notes to go with a medium-bodied, nicely concentrated feel on the palate. Brought up in close to equal parts new French oak, neutral barrels and concrete, it has good acidity and a clean finish. Drink it over the coming 3-4 years.
  • Villa Creek 2013 'Damas Noir' Mourvedre, Paso Robles
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: (92-94) (8/27/2014)

    Composed of 100% Mourvedre that saw no destemming, the 2013 Damas Noir shows classic Mourvedre meatiness in its blackcurrant and dark berry fruit, tree bark, earth and charcoal-driven aromas and flavors. It has full-bodied richness, but also big structure, so short-term cellaring is advised.
  • Villa Creek 2013 'High Road' Red Rhone Blend, James Berry Vineyard, Paso Robles
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: (93-95) (8/27/2016)

    The 2013 High Road James Berry Vineyard is a co-fermented blend of 40% Mourvedre, 40% Syrah and 20% Grenache that was brought up in equal parts concrete and neutral oak. A tannic and structured effort, it has brilliant purity to go with juicy black raspberry, cassis, ground herbs, violets and creamy licorice aromas and flavors. Showing more minerality with air, give it 2-3 years and drink bottles through 2025.
  • Villa Creek 2013 'High Road' Red Rhone Blend, James Berry Vineyard, Paso Robles
    Vinous
    Rating: 94 (9/1/2015)

    Inky ruby. Spicy, mineral-accented boysenberry, blackberry, incense and lavender on the nose, plus a subtle dusting of white pepper. Sappy and densely packed, offering appealingly sweet black and blue fruit and floral pastille flavors and building spiciness. Finishes very long, with vibrant dark berry and spicecake notes and harmonious tannins that are quickly enveloped in the wine's opulent fruit.
  • Villa Creek 2013 'Damas Noir' Mourvedre, Paso Robles
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 94 (7/8/2016)

    A wine that readers need to hide in the cellar for 2-3 years is the 2013 Damas Noir, which is a smokin' wine made from 100% Mourvedre, fermented with, of course, 100% whole clusters. Brought up in neutral oak, this medium to full-bodied, concentrated 2013 has tons of spice, bloody meats, stem and mulled dark fruit-like aromas and flavors, as well as a structured, tannic finish. It's loaded with potential.
  • Villa Creek 2013 'High Road' Red Rhone Blend, James Berry Vineyard, Paso Robles
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 93+ (7/8/2016)

    Another tannic wine that needs short term cellaring, the 2013 High Road James Berry Vineyard is 40% Syrah, 40% Mourvedre and 20% Grenache, all co-fermented with 75% whole clusters and aged mostly in concrete. It offers beautiful notes of violets, cassis, graphite, licorice and black raspberries in a firm, tannic and structured package. I love its purity of fruit, and it has handled the stems nicely. Give it a few years and enjoy through 2025.
  • Villa Creek 2013 'Damas Noir' Mourvedre, Paso Robles
    Vinous
    Rating: 92 (9/1/2016)

    Brilliant ruby. Vibrant boysenberry and cherry aromas, complicated by suggestions of peppery spices and candied flowers. Chewy dark berry and bitter cherry flavors are enlivened by a hint of cracked pepper and given spine by juicy acidity. The incisive, gripping finish is framed by dusty tannins and leaves a subtle lavender pastille quality behind.
  • Villa Creek 2014 Garnacha, Paso Robles
    Vinous
    Rating: 93 (9/1/2016)

    (made entirely with whole clusters) Brilliant magenta. Intensely perfumed, spice-accented aromas of ripe red berries, dark chocolate and incense become livelier with aeration. Palate-staining red and blue fruit flavors are complemented by an exotic floral pastille quality that builds on the back half. Rich but bright and energetic, showing superb finishing clarity on the impressively long, gently tannic finish.
  • Villa Creek 2014 Garnacha, Paso Robles
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 91+ (7/8/2016)

    A year in, year out release that always delivers the goods, the 2014 Garnacha (100% Grenache) offers classic notes of lavender, violets, black cherries and kirsch to go with a medium-bodied, supple, savory and tannic feel on the palate. Fermented with 100% whole clusters and aged mostly in concrete (one-third was in 500-liter puncheons), give this elegant, classy 2014 a year and enjoy bottles through 2024.
  • Villa Creek 2015 'White' (Grenache Blanc/Roussanne), Paso Robles
    Vinous
    Rating: 91 (9/1/2016)

    Vivid straw. Perfumed white peach, melon and tangerine aromas carry a chalky mineral overtone. Tightly focused citrus and orchard fruit flavors are complemented by honey and floral nuances on the back half. Energetic and sharply focused, finishing with strong cut and lingering mineral and floral notes.
  • Villa Creek 2014 'Avenger' Red Rhone Blend, Paso Robles
    The Wine Spectator
    Rating: 87 (4/30/2017)

    Deep and tightly wound, with a firm tannic framework and ripe notes of dried cherry, licorice and smoky meat. Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache. Drink now through 2026.
  • Villa Creek 2014 Garnacha, Paso Robles
    The Wine Spectator
    Rating: 90 (4/30/2017)

    Powerfully built, with appealing raspberry aromas and concentrated flavors of smoky plum, espresso and cracked pepper. Drink now through 2024.
  • Villa Creek 2014 'Avenger' Red Rhone Blend, Paso Robles
    Vinous
    Rating: 94 (6/1/2016)

    Powerful mineral- and spice-accented black and blue fruit aromas show impressive clarity and pick up sexy floral and incense nuances as the wine opens up. Sweet, sappy and incisive, offering palate-coating boysenberry and cherry compote flavors and hints of succulent herbs and candied flowers. Impressively rich yet vibrant, finishing on a juicy blue fruit note with sneaky tannins and superb persistence.