Where There’s Smoke
We’ve been truly fortunate, this year, to be the recipient of some very nice press. First, in March, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Esther Mobley wrote a lovely article on Edmunds St. John, which focussed a great deal of very positive attention on us, and coaxed a lot of curious folks to give our wines a try.
Then, in July, in their annual rosé exploration, the New York Times wrote up their take on the best American rosé wines, and found our 2017 Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir Rosé to be the very best of the lot!
Now, we’re headed into harvest #34, and hoping our good luck holds; it’s been an odd season, featuring a very cool/cold Spring, and an unusually warm Summer, marked by wildfires all over the state. The smoke from those fires (and the memory of the fires last Fall) hangs ominously over California, as ripeness approaches.
In the meantime, we’ve got a bunch of really tasty wines to offer at the moment, including:
2017 Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir Rosé (as mentioned! #1 in the NY Times!) This is pale in hue, and has a fresh, energetic nose, electrifying, savory flavors, light-to-medium body, and great length on the palate. Really a pleasure to drink with a broad range of dishes. Joyous stuff.
$22 per bottle
2016 Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir Grown in decomposed granite soils at Barsotti Ranch, in the upper reaches of the Apple Hill district in Placerville. It’s a light ruby-red color. Exuberantly perfumed (raspberry/mulberry, and savory spice), light-to-medium weight, Fine and firm- structured, with a distinct mineral undercurrent, elegant tannins, and surprising length. More joy!
$22 per bottle
2016 El Jaléo Grown at Shake Ridge Ranch, east of Sutter Creek, in Amador County. 34% Grenache, 26% Tempranillo, 23% Mourvedre, 17% Graciano. What began as an homage to Rioja, has taken on a life of its own. In the old days the best wines from Rioja seemed to sing harmony to their cousins to the east, in France; there were some (I remember certain vintages of Marques de Riscal) that might almost be mistaken, in their maturity, for very good Bordeaux. And some, (and here I’m recalling older vintages of Federico Paternina) seemed almost Burgundian, at a comparable maturity: differences attributable, perhaps, to site, and to house style.
The ’16 El Jaléo must be said to be precocious; at only two years of age, and just over one in bottle, it’s thrillingly enjoyable already, though I believe the structure is there for a considerable ride in the bottle to what I suspect will be a glorious peak in another 7 or 8 years. As numerous people have pointed out already, it tastes like an Edmunds St John wine, and I’m quite happy that it does.
$29 per bottle
2017 El Jaléo Again, of course, from Shake Ridge Ranch. 32% Mourvedre, 28% Grenache, 26% Graciano, 14% Tempranillo. After discovering, and learning so much, in the process of assembling the previous vintage’s bottling, I decided to alter the composition in 2017, and the difference, as a result, is quite dramatic. The wine is considerably higher-toned aromatically, and finer and, really, almost breath-taking on the palate. Partly, it’s the different proportions, partly the vintage. Don’t miss this one; it’s going to be a great beauty!
$32 per bottle ($66 per magnum)
2014 Barsotti Ranch Syrah First Syrah we’ve bottled that all comes from vines in granite. It was picked on the early side, in September of ’14, when the flavor in the fruit had come into focus, and what stood out to me was a very distinct note of iron that stopped me in my tracks! In the fermenter, and early in barrel the wine showed all the classic Syrah traits: olives, ham, smoke, and so on, and this iron. Once bottled, the iron took over, and seemed to demand that I back away and just give this baby some room to breathe. For over three years I’ve been keeping my distance; then, a bottle opened a few weeks ago showed a glimpse back into familiar territory, and a subsequent bottle confirmed it. It’s still a youngster, for certain, but it’s on the ascent! It’s not Durell, it’s not Wylie-Fenaughty. It’s not Bassetti. And it’s going to stand up right next to any of them, and be every bit as impressive, take my word for it.
$35 per bottle
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