Ever since the first vintage in 2009, our farming has focused within the Paso Robles Adelaida District AVA. We farm Old Union a few miles to the south in the Willow Creek District. Both have steep oak-covered hills with limestone-rich calcareous soils.
For some time, we've wanted to produce same vintage Cabernets from Adelaida District (think Cardinal and LPF) and Willow Creek. To compare and contrast. To explore differences in terroir. With Old Union's 2017 debut, we fulfill this desire.
Why the name, Old Union? It combines the ideas of long-standing friendship and geography. The Madsen and Achaval families, stewards of The Farm Winery, have been friends since 1987 when our oldest children were just 1 and 2 years old. Now, we have grandchildren! Likewise, the AVA's, Adelaida and Willow Creek, are closely linked through history as well.
Vintage 2019 winemaker's notes
117 Cases produced. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
From Paso's Willow Creek District, our only wine not from the Adelaida District. If you wonder what we’re doing there, why we peeked beyond the Adelaida, just go to the Old Unioin bottle and you’ll know. The vineyard, resulting in this wine, stands as sufficient explanation.
As it was last year, the first impression of the nose is size, bigness. So much so, that the nuances and details need time and patience to be coaxed out of the maelstrom. 2019s are across the board readier to drink on release than were the 2018s. In the case of Old Union, this only means that is still need aging, but if you have more than one bottle (do!), you can open the first one, and get to know the giant after a long decanting time.
The palate is dense and intense. Velvet sensations coat the mouth and remain in place, fixed there by mineral and tannin latches. Incredible full factor length. Not only the tannin, but fruit, freshness, and minerality too, all go on and on and on.
Old Union replicates the character of prior years without losing its 2019 vintage indicators. A true sign of a wine of terroir, the ability to be both true to itself and to its year. Pair with simple but big food: marbled steak, charred on the outside, rare on the inside.
Vintage 2019 review
The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Old Union has pure, layered aromas of cassis, warm chocolate, salami, pencil shavings, and savory herbs. The full-bodied palate has concentrated, detailed fruit, powdery tannins, fireworks of fresh acidity and a long, latent finish. It will benefit from 3 - 5 years in bottle. Drink 2025 - 2040
95 points; Wine Advocate January 2024
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Vintage 2018 winemaker's notes
114 Cases produced. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Our only wine not from the Adelaida District. If you wonder what we’re doing out there, why we looked beyond the Adelaida, just go for the bottle and you’ll know. That vineyard, resulting in this wine, stands as sufficient explanation.
The most intense of noses. Deep, full, overpowering. I would say monolithic to try to convey the power of it, but that would betray its complex nature. Tense is certainly a descriptor of this aromatic universe. The palate is dense and intense. Towering, powerful. Tense again (as was the nose), vibrant and young. Too young to drink now? It is for me. Red fruits add freshness and even more vibrancy. All these indicators demand aging. They are predictors of greatness to come.
Once it has overcome its rebellious youth, Old Union will open up and mellow out and provide decades of satisfaction. When thinking of food pairings, this wine takes me to simple and true and verified by time and experience: steak, charred on the outside, rare on the inside.
Vintage 2018 review
The only Farm Winery Cabernet sourced outside the Adelaida district, Old Union is sourced from the Willow District just to the south with a strong marine influence from the Templeton Gap. Old Union shows high toned dark fruit with an herbal, spicy edge. The cooler terroir is revealed on the palate with red fruit, firm acidity and a leaner, refined character. This is still a youthful wine that ideally should be aged a few years or, at least, decanted prior to serving.
94 points; International Wine Review July 2022
Old Union at veraison...
Vintage 2017 winemaker's notes
102 Cases produced. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Old Union is a new wine for The Farm Winery. Born of the fascination with an incomparable Willow Creek vineyard. Where the flavors demanded an identity in wine.
A bright nose, intense and demanding. Vibrant, intriguing. With a backfolded structure of ripe fruit and sense of place. A mouthfeel of deep velvet coats the palate. A sensation of grip, mix of tannin and minerality keeps the fruit alive almost forever. I am so enthusiastic about this wine! Cardinal has a companion. Another Cabernet that is a reflection of its vineyard.
Vintage 2017 reviews
All Cabernet Sauvignon, the deep purple-colored 2017 Old Union has a ripe, powerful bouquet of roasted herbs, tobacco, chocolate, blackburrants, and cassis. Showing more violets and sappy flower notes with time in the glass, it's full-bodied and has background oak, a great mid-palate, and the class to evolve for two decades. Drink 2024 through 2041.
95 points; Jeb Dunnuck September 2020
Saturated ruby. Vibrant, multifaceted bouquet of dark cassis, graphite and savory notes that carry over to the softly textured palate. An intensely flavored, hedonistic wine showing beautiful black currant fruit with ripe, soft tannins. There’s a lovely sense of refinement from the beginning to the long, flavorful finish.
95 points; International Wine Review April 2021