Parador Cellars

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

2007 Tempranillo Napa Valley

Dark purple.  Youthfully brooding aromas of dark berries, cherry pit, licorice and black tea, plus a hint of violet.  Sappy and gently sweet, with broad but focused dark berry and bitter cherry flavors that turn more tangy on the back half.  Deeply pitched but lively and intense, with strong finishing cut and very good persistence.  This benefits a lot from air. 90

2007 Red Wine Napa Valley   (a blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon)

Inky ruby.  Medicinal cherry, herbs and black tea on the nose.  Juicy and taut on the palate, with a restrained sweetness to its cherry-vanilla and dark berry flavors.  Offers good clarity and persistence on the finish, with slightly drying tannins adding grip.  This will work well with richer food. 89

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Hossfeld Vineyard Napa Valley

Opaque ruby.  Cherry-vanilla, cassis, cola and tobacco on the nose, with a deeper licorice quality building with air.  Deep, rich and smoky, with chewy cherry and dark berry flavors lifted by zesty acidity.  Becomes sweeter with air, finishing with very good breath and length.  90

2003 Reserva Red Wine Napa Valley

Deep ruby.  Smoky, complex bouquet of dried cherry, cassis, vanilla and mocha, along with a touch of camphor.  Smooth, open-knit and sweet, offering supple red and dark berry flavors and suggestions of bitter chocolate and herbs.  This blend of tempranillo and cabernet sauvignon leads with its cab component today.  The dry finish features good cut and lingering spiciness.  Mature but in no danger of going over the hill; this actually improved with air.  90

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1998 Parador Napa Valley Red Table Wine

The Wine Country June 2001

“This is one of the most intriguing wines California has produced in recent years.  A project of wine distributor Steve Ventrello, it is a blend of Napa Valley grape from his three favorite regions:  Napa Valley, Tuscany and Ribera Del Duero:  Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Tempranillo.  This unique and accomplished wine is a thoroughbred, using the finest fruit Steve could find.”

“I’ve been tasting this wine for nearly a year, and right now if is coming together in a big way.  Spicy and flavorful, with a beautiful dark color, it is rich tasting and plumy, grapey flavors with nuances of cassis and blackberry.  This lovely, fruit-forward wine has a fine, handsome structure.  This is the debut vintage, and judging by a preview of the 1999, the first of many outstanding wines to come.  Bravo, Steve.”

Woodland Hills Wine Co – June/July 2000 Newsletter

What started as a hypothesis has now become a reality.  What happens when you blend Cabernet Sauvignon (known for its structure and depth of flavor), Sangiovese (known for higher acidity and bright cherry flavors) and Tempranillo (known for broad flavors and lower acidity)?  After all, Tuscany has been very successful with Cabernet/Sangiovese blends and Spain has been also with Cabernet/Tempranillo blends.  It would make sense that Sangiovese and Tempranillo should partner together as well to balance their acidities.  This wine proves the theory.  Based on the success here, we expect to see additional plantings of Tempranillo and Sangiovese in California.  No reason for Italy and Spain to have a virtual monopoly any longer.

Wally’s Wine April 2000

Steve Ventrello founded Parador based on his ‘fantasy’ that three seemingly compatible grape varieties would marry and wine up creating an exceptional wine.  He intuited that blending the very best of his favorite varietals – Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, along with the premier grapes of Spain and Italy, Tempranillo and Sangiovese – would yield a singular wine of potentially great character.  In 1998 Steve sourced and nurtured eastern Napa Valley prima hillside Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese fruit with a precious batch of Tempranillo planting just north of Carneros.

In Spain, a Parador is a place to stop and rest, enjoy like and revel in the countryside, amid a spectacular setting.  Miraculously, Steve has compressed this experience into a deep ruby liquid we all can share.


1999 Parador Napa Valley Red Table Wine

San Francisco Chronicle’s 2001 Top 100 Wines

Other varietals and blends

A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Tempranillo, with deep plumy flavors, hints of spice and a long, mouth-filling finish.

Wine Exchange June 2001

So what’s Parador?  We’re not sure that, when we explain it, you aren’t going to get it necessarily.  It’s the best Cabernet (70%), Sangiovese and Tempranillo blend we’ve ever had from the Napa Valley, or any place else for the matter (since the only other time we has such a blend was the 98 Parador).  The grapes come from five different vineyards and the wood program is catered to each specific varietal prior to the final blend.  Only around 900 cases were produced.  We like the marriage here.  The Cab is dark and hearty, the Sangiovese gives lift, and the Tempranillo adds some interesting streaks to spice up the nose and add a pleasing dustiness to the flavors.  All is enveloped in a smokey veneer of oak.  An interesting approach and a successful conclusion.

Groezinger’s -  July 2001

This is one of the most unique and interesting blends we’ve seen in a while.  Perfectly blended, it is seamless with a lengthy finish and a complex band of unique flavors not often found in California wines.  Black fruit flavors are complimented by red berry characteristics, a very lush mouthfeel, and a finish that draws you back to the glass like a hopeless alcoholic.  If you’re not already an alcoholic, this wine could make you one.  So, be careful.  It compliments many foods and takes away all your problems and makes you more beautiful.


1999 Reserva, Red Table Wine


This is hands down the best blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Tempranillo we’ve come across from the Napa Valley.  OK, so Parador may be the only blend of its kind out of Napa, but this is the Reserva, baby!!  This unique and exotic blend belongs in your cellar, glass, mouth, stomach, and anywhere else you’d care to put it.  Wine fell Steve Ventrello selected his best barrel of juice from the stellar ’99 vintage and transferred the wine into puncheons, where it stayed until 16 months after harvest.  It was then aged an additional 16 months in the bottle, resulting in a wine that is smooth, polished, and ready to drink, without sacrificing ageability or freshness of fruit.  This blackish-red fluid oozes with style, charm and personality, like Ricardo Montalbon on “Fantasty Island,” showcasing powerful, dusty fruit, complimented by nuances of black olive, sage, red pepper, and cigar box.  Despite it’s early drinkability, this will age nicely for at least another six to twelve years.  100 cases made.

The San Francisco Chronicle – Thursday, September 11,  2003

“A Wine List With A View At the Post Ranch Inn”  by Patrick Comisky

An interview with sommelier Dominique De Cruz

Current Staff Favorite:

Parador 1999 Napa Valley reserve Red, a blend of Cabernet, Sangiovese and Tempranillo.  “This wine offers a style that bridges old and new continents, showing ripe and rich Cabernet fruit, strong spice and earthy Tempranillo character, and just enough Sangiovese for acidity and structure. 

Dean & Deluca – Doug Wilder’s Top 25 of 2003

Made from an unusual combination; Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Tempranillo, and selected from the best barrels, Steve Ventrello’s Reserva reaches new heights in complexity, power and finesse.  Bottomless richness with dense aromas of currant, plum, cherry and spicy nuances.  On the palate, you will find ripe, smooth black cherry, current and anise.  


2000 Parador Napa Valley Red Table Wine

Bounty Hunter Holiday 2003

Parador has always been on the short list of favorite unconventional Napa Valley blends.  Combining Cabernet, Sangiovese and Tempranillo, it delivers a mouthful of flavor through its varietals not normally seen ‘round these parts.  Its complex nose is reminiscent of plums, roasted meat, rhubarb and cloves.  Round and juicy through the mouth, it nonetheless refuses to plunge into the “all fruit-no guest: death spiral.  There is structure and aging potential to go along with its more obvious charms.  This is a big California Cab, rich super-Tuscan and Ribera Del Duero rolled into one.



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