This year, I’m getting into the revivalist spirit, choosing wines that fell out of favor somewhere in the 20th century but are now being brought back thanks to a handful of dedicated producers.
Hardy Wallace gave himself one year to sell through his first significant release of wines from Dirty and Rowdy Family Winery in late August, 2012. It would be work, hand selling, lots of travel. If they could sell out in a year, it would be a sign that maybe this small California winery could have a future.
Combining the pleasantly mineral and grippy character of Carignane with rounder notes from five other grape varieties, this inexpensive offering from Bonny Doon is rather easy-going, despite the contrarian attitude implied in the name (which also refers to Contra Costa County, where most of the grapes come from). That contradictory character may be found in the fact that it is, in fact, so lovely and elegant and pleasant to drink, despite having fairly moderate alcohol (13.5%) and none of the overbearing fruit that so many Californian wines (certainly in that price range) would have you believe is balanced. At $14, there’s a lot of great stuff in there. A great deal—and just a really pleasant wine to drink. Recommended. RC
This particular Pleiades (XX has also been released) is a symphonic, multilayered blend that keeps changing at every sip, with spices jumping over red fruit, richness competing with acid, eucalyptus rolling in over earthy, gamey notes. It’s unlike anything else, for sure, an unidentifiable drinking object that defies definition and expands the possibilities of what wine can be. Highly recommended. RC
Set in the south of France, Languedoc does not have the name-recognition of Bordeaux or Burgundy. And what reputation it does have is as a producer of inexpensive, rustic reds. So I went expecting a fairly industrial landscape of mass-produced tannic titans.