Organolepticians # 93
Back in May of this year, I wrote of our new wine project, the Iberian-inspired blend from grapes grown at Shake Ridge Ranch, in the high, sunny hills east of Sutter Creek, in Amador County, Sierra foothills. It’s a project that has inspired me; the grapes Ann Kraemer grows at Shake Ridge are exceptional, and the wine has, seemingly, conjured itself into something even more compelling than I could have imagined, almost as if it were just waiting for someone to hit the “Start” switch.
In the writeup from May, I mentioned that the wine, which bears the name El Jaléo, and also bears the image of that painting by John Singer Sargent on its label, would be available September first, this year. I do have a tendency to get carried away by my own excitement over things that move me; despite showing the wine enthusiastically to everyone I thought might be intrigued by it, over the course of the late Spring, and early Summer, when September came around, and I was more concerned with the heat wave that seemed to have swallowed most of California, right at the outset of harvest 2017, I never got around to making a formal announcement of the release to the very people most eagerly awaiting that announcement. So, sheepishly, I hereby proclaim, along with the fact that promotion is apparently not something at which I excel, that El Jaléo is, in fact available! It’s priced at the same amount as the wine it replaced (Rocks And Gravel), $29.00 per bottle, and we’re eager to share it with you!
El Jaléo is 34% Grenache, 26% Tempranillo, 23% Mourvedre, and 17% Graciano. All grapes were de-stemmed, and fermented in open-top bins, punched down twice daily, pressed at dryness into 225l French oak barrels that had previously held 15 vintages of wine, that we acquired 5 years before, from a Pinot Noir producer. The wines were moved back out of wood, into stainless, after 5 months, and bottled a couple of months after that.
I’m not aware of any other producers in CA using this combination of grapes, and producing a wine from them in this way, but I suppose I could almost say that about any of the wines we’ve made over the last 33 vintages. So the aromatic and flavor profiles are likely to seem unfamiliar, I believe, though they do evoke, for me, memories from early in my time in the wine business, tasting wines from Rioja, and being keenly aware of how different they were from anything else I’d encountered up to that point. I think it’s likely, too, that it might occur to a lot of tasters that it tastes very much like a wine from Edmunds St John, and I would feel just fine about that.
2016 Heart Of Gold 22.00
2016 Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir 22.00
2015 Rocks And Gravel 29.00
2016 El Jaléo 29.00
2013 North Canyon Road Syrah 33.00