I have 2 good friends–Mike Dawson and Christopher Sawyer (among many MANY silent ones, I am sure) who vocally share my enthusiasm for this wine. In today’s social media economy of FB idealism and IG perfection, far too many are hesitant to come out in support of a readily-available, low-priced bottle from a brand who has–in all honesty–committed a fair number of supermarket crimes, no matter how solid and quality-driven the contents. Between #winebro’s non-stop images of impossible–and usually unopened– bottles; #influencer’s giddy, rose-gold enthusiasm nestled in the steamy vineyard for mediocre producers bit by the flatbrim & cleavage heroin of marketing; somm’s bubblegum-winesnob constant FOMO; wine-writer’s ridiculously adjectivised and flowery pseudo-educational stories of overcome tribulation and sustainable focus; ALL have created a dialogue in the wine world inciting TERROR in those might otherwise consider plugging a wine such as this. But–as you realize if you have followed me for more than 5 minutes–I am not bound by those psychological restraints (to wit: Korbel Natural). Over a recent warm afternoon with a couple bottles of chilled reds, Mr. Dawson brought up this wine, and I immediately went home to open one. With all that said, this is NOT going to be the most glowing review.
I named this Wine of the Year in 2017, stricken by its glowing texture, amazing fruit, STUPID value, and painstaking production. And of course I have several. If you are part of the vast majority who feel I am a bit long-winded, here’s the short version: You need to drink these. There, now you can click away. Nice deep purple with a bit of sediment glazing the neck. Rather dull and ripe in the nose, nice boysenberry fruit tinged with melon and vague earthiness. Almost completely missing are the road-side vegetal and tomato-vine *green-ness* so vivid on release–and a large part of this wine’s charm.
In the mouth, the fresh strawberry and wildflower floral have been replaced with solid, calm, rich berry–somewhat devoid of personality. It tastes like an inexpensive, mass-produced, slightly aged red blend of ‘North Coast’ or ‘Central Coast’ origin, built and blended for vague crowd-pleasing of perhaps Syrah or Merlot from heavily-yielded vineyards. IT’S GOOD. It’s quite good. And probably agreeable to more palates this way. But it is NOT the same wine pulled straight off the shelf at age 1 or 2 for $8.99 and rushed home to drink. Most of the things we love about this wine have aged out–sadly–and here-in lies an important lesson for which the wine is blameless. It’s MY fault. Don’t be like me.
2015 J. LOHR ‘Wildflower’ Gamay Arroyo Seco Monterey Co. 12.5