My Favorite Neighbor began as an homage to our original favorite neighbor, Stephan Asseo of L’Aventure, and has since grown to include a handful of others who surround us on Paso Robles’ west side. Although Stephan has become a close friend and mentor, for the entire first year when I would call him, he never remembered who I was. To combat those tricky name scenarios, Stephan just gave himself the title of favorite neighbor and every time he called me, that’s how he identified himself. The moniker stuck and he really did end up becoming my favorite neighbor. In 2006 when I decided to make a Cabernet-based wine to honor him and his Bordeaux roots, there was no question what to call it.
For the next ten years, My Favorite Neighbor was made exclusively from our own estate grown fruit, limiting its production to extremely small quantities. Toward the end of that first decade, I discovered a way that we could not only share this wine with more people, but increase quality as well. While walking a vineyard in Paso, it occurred to me that over half of our soils on the west side are clay, making them almost identical to those in St. Emilion and Napa. I had been spending a significant amount of time with the cult winemakers and farmers in the latter, immersing myself in research on techniques like canopy and berry temperature as it pertains to phenolic development. After seeing the phenolic data on our clay sites in Paso, I became convinced that we had the raw materials to make a Cabernet every bit as good as Napa and I was going to prove it.
The next vintage of My Favorite Neighbor came from a clay site on Vineyard Drive in west Paso, and it was better than it had ever been before. I became obsessed. I quickly secured what I deemed to be the best vineyards in the west Paso hills. Most of them were newly planted using the latest technology and highest quality materials. Each of these legendary properties is meticulously farmed with my input and that of some of the brightest and most experienced viticulture minds in the industry.
Every bottle tells the story of an honest wine born of hard work, cutting edge vineyard management, and precise winemaking. There are no shortcuts here. It’s with the collaboration of these likeminded growers who have joined Stephan as our favorite neighbors that we are able to make a wine that you can confidently put on the table with the most notable cult Cabernets in the world. Welcome to the west side of Paso. Welcome to our neighborhood.