My Favorite Neighbor releases new cabernet
Wine made by group of local winemakers
– The new release of the 2021 My Favorite Neighbor Cabernet Sauvignon lands as the next chapter in a story that is now more than 20 years strong.
My Favorite Neighbor is a “wine born of mentorship and collaboration in the Paso Robles wine country.” Today, the partner growers behind this wine continue to lend a neighborly spirit that does justice to its name.
The 2021 My Favorite Neighbor Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles; $55)—is now available nationwide. It is a wine made by a tight-knit group of growers who each have a similar story to tell.
Grown by neighbors
When Eric Jensen was an up-and-coming Paso Robles winegrower in the early 2000s, a few of the region’s top winemakers took him under their wings. With the help of these generous neighbors, Eric planted his own estate vineyard in the Willow Creek District and would go on to create some of the region’s most notable wines under the banners of Booker Vineyard and My Favorite Neighbor.
My Favorite Neighbor (MFN) wines are today sourced from Jensen’s favorite wine-growing neighbors across Paso Robles. Each of these growers has their own story, but they all have one thing in common—a dedication to producing high-quality, sustainably grown grapes that meet the integrity standards of My Favorite Neighbor.
These growers include Lynn and O’Neal Gray of MoonSprings Vineyard in the Templeton Gap District; Brian Lopez of Lopai Vineyard in the Willow Creek District; Kit Kuyper of Hawk’s Hill Ranch in the Adelaida District; and Will John of Armory Vineyard in the Adelaida District.
“It’s important for us to work with growers who are like-minded, who care deeply about what goes in the bottle, and who are eager for their grapes to be made into great wines,” Jensen said. “It’s about doing the hard things well and not taking shortcuts.”
For example, take MoonSprings Vineyard in the Templeton Gap District of Paso Robles. When owners Lynn and O’Neal Gray first acquired their historic farm property, they weren’t envisioning planting a vineyard. But a chance encounter with Jensen changed the trajectory of their plans.
“Eric is such a force of nature, and he kept talking about the potential of our site,” said Lynn Gray. “From that moment forward it was pure collaboration. He was seeking additional sources of fruit for My Favorite Neighbor, and he helped us create our vineyard from the ground up.”
The planting of MoonSprings Vineyard began in 2018. “We created an exhaustive list of best-in-class vineyard practices and spared no effort or expense in bringing those to life, because that’s something we share in common with Eric,” said O’Neal Gray. “We’re proud that we’ve done everything we set out to do.”
Sense of place
In addition to the flagship Cabernet Sauvignon, which is blended from the partner sites, My Favorite Neighbor recently launched a line of limited vineyard designates, which includes bottlings from MoonSprings, Lopai, Denner, Parrish and other favored vineyards. Each shares a commonality of terroirs from the westside AVAs of Paso Robles, where cooler growing conditions prevail.
“That cooler average temperature here requires us to practice patience, which always pays off with a fantastic fruit harvest sometimes as late as November,” said Brian Lopez, owner of Lopai Vineyard. “I couldn’t be happier to be included in the MFN family, especially with a vineyard-designate helping share how special our vineyard and region really is.”
Lopez said that he values working with Hilary Graves, My Favorite Neighbor’s vineyard and grower relations manager, who is a specialist in organic and regenerative farming. “Hilary is always happy to see me and is always down to answer my questions, she helps me dive super deep into technical details that my engineering mind loves,” he said.
For Jensen, it’s all about building upon My Favorite Neighbor’s legacy of mentorship. “We take a lot of pride in sharing our thoughts, feelings and encouragement with others who are making this investment,” he said. “It’s a gift that my own mentors gave to me, and now we get to pay it forward.”