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Accolades & Reviews

2024 Reviews

SOMM Journal


96 Points  SOMM Journal



Flying the Flag for Paso Robles


Of the 11 districts that make up Paso Robles’ 660,000 acres of vines, Creston is relatively unknown. Chateau Margene winemaker/proprietor Michael Mooney and his wife, Margene, find the area conducive to growing Bordeaux varieties and farm grapes on their estate, producing no more than 3,000 cases annually—a fraction of the amount yielded by some of the larger producers on Paso’s ever- growing roster of mascots. “Creston District is under the radar—a lot of grapes are grown here, but I couldn’t name but a few wineries,” Mooney told The Tasting Panel.

Chateau Margene and the couple’s other label, Mooney Family Wines—made with grapes sourced from outside the estate—are not only small production but sold directly to restaurants and consumers. Yet Mooney is a big voice for the trade who stays visible within the community as a member of the Paso Robles CAB Collective, for which he’s served on the board from the beginning. “I’m a believer in Paso Robles,” Mooney said. “It is truly a distinct region that deserves recognition.”

Mooney Family 2021 Steel Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County ($54) Fermented in closed-top stainless-steel tanks at 60 degrees Fahrenheit for 18 days, this wineis malolactic-inhibited and cold-stabilized, then moved to stainless-steel barrels. Ample flavors of honey-lathered pear are rich yet reined in by underlying minerality as powdered marshmallow and oregano-kissed lime chiffon spread across the palate. Bright acidity highlights the wine’s steely cutting edge. 94

Mooney Family 2021 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara County ($90) This small-pro- duction Pinot Noir with notes of spiced cedar, blueberry-painted clove, and cigar leaf spent 23 months in (33% new) medium-toast François Frères barrels. Deep and inviting, the taste of soil is undeniable, prickling the tongue with black pepper and dried violets. 94

Chateau Margene 2020 Margene Cabernet Franc, Creston District, Paso Robles ($110) Much cel- ebrated in Paso Robles, Cabernet Franc is Margene Mooney’s favorite variety; this blend of 90% Cabernet Franc from Michael’s Vineyard with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon (Clone 47) from Stella’s Vineyard, aged 23 months in both French and American oak, showcases it in all its glory. Violetscloaked in espresso and a slate under- belly define the bold red with supple tannins. Vivacious plum skin texturizes the palate, adding a grainy feel to an extended finish that conveys the wine’s precision and balance. 95

Chateau Margene 2020 Cask 4, Creston District, Paso Robles ($210) Aged 32 months in (100% new) French and American oak, this 50/50 blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon is sumptuous, silky, and balanced, with notes of toasted cedar and creamy blueberry preserves. Licorice and slate intertwine as a stream of dark chocolate coats the tongue. Beautifully structured, with the sturdy foundation of a skyscraper. 99


2022 Reviews

August/September 2022


2019 CASK 4

98 Points  SOMM Journal
95 Points  Wine Enthusiast

2019 CASK 7

96 Points  SOMM Journal
95 Points  Wine Enthusiast


96 Points  Tasting Panel Magazine
95 Points  Wine Enthusiast


95 Points  SOMM Journal (Publisher's Pick)
94 Points  Wine Enthusiast (Cellar Selection)


94 Points  SOMM Journal
93 Points  Wine Enthusiast


93 Points  Wine Enthusiast



5 stars
We had such an incredible experience! Mike is so knowledgeable and we loved hearing the story behind each wine. The grounds are gorgeous and it made for the perfect day wine tasting. Highly recommend!!

Stephanie Waugh visited on 2024-05-12
5 stars
Michael, is the most knowledgeable winemaker we know. And, naturally, the wine is consistently outstanding. Thank you so much!!

Roberta Rials visited on 2024-05-10
5 stars
Always a highlight of our trip to visit Chateau Margene and a real treat to spend time with Michael pouring and sharing his wit and wisdom in the wine world!

JEFFREY BROWN visited on 2024-04-20
5 stars
Clearly the finest Cabernet in all of Paso Robles area. Their others wines were amazing as well especially the unoaked Chardonnay. The service is amazing with a very knowledgeable staff. It’s a family run winery just a great experience.

Paul Gardner visited on 2024-04-13
5 stars
ALWAYS a pleasure to be with the Mooney Family and ENJOY the INCREDIBLE WINES…..and take home to host family and friends!

Greg Hardcastle visited on 2024-04-13
5 stars
As always we enjoyed our visit to Chateau Margene. The knowledge and passion that Michael and John have for their wine and commitment to excellence in providing an exceptional member experience is second to none.

Jon Collison visited on 2024-04-12
5 stars
We learned more than we have ever learned during a tasting experience. It was awesome. The wines are always phenomenal, but the family feel and experience at Chateau Margene is the real reason we keep coming back.

Erin Stowell visited on 2024-04-06


5 stars
We love everything about Chateau Margene. This is a family owned winery that is gracious to its members and passionate about the wines they make. And it shows in the quality of all their wines -- they make the best Cabs as well as all other varieties on their roster. We have been members for some time and will continue to be for all the reasons mentioned above. This is a must stop on any wine trips to the Paso area.

David McAuliffe visited on 2024-03-23


5 stars
Chateau Margene is our favorite winery in Paso Robles, you get that one on one experience with Michael or John, never rushed, and you're able to enjoy some of the best wines in the region.

Marcela Fejes visited on 2024-03-16


5 stars
My wife & I really had a great time at the Winery with John. He is very knowledgeable about all the wine & the vineyard. Your wines are fantastic & the winery is stunning. Looking forward to our next visit. Sincerely, The Mikels

David S Mikel visited on 2024-03-02


Absolutely one of our favorite tasting experiences in California. Delicious and excellent wine, served by proprietors who treated us like family while educating us about their process and operation. Incredible hospitality...so enjoyable. We will be back and will recommend you to everyone we know! THANK YOU!!!   

Cece Riviere

We had a wonderful experience with Michael as our host. Beautiful property, fantastic wine! A personal wine tasting with the proprietor/winemaker is by far the best way to spend an afternoon in SLO.  

Pamela Urbaniec

Let me say, without a doubt the best wine, best experience tasting in Paso Robles, and in fact California.   Colleen Clarke

The visit was great. Mike is a great host, the wine is spectacular and the grounds are beautiful.   

Jason Pickard

Experienced a very personal informative information on their winery operations. Truly a family operation focusing on producing great wines at value price point. 

John Tully

We thoroughly enjoyed having Jon take us on a wonderful wine journey with our tasting, It was enjoyable as well as delicious!! Thoroughly enjoyed their 3 dogs stopping by to say hello. It was a very homey and family feeling,   

Marcia Benjamin