The personal attention to a “house wine” has paid off with something distinctively delicious: Introducing our 4th Plus-de-Vie
A little secret of our industry, to which you may not be hip:
Some restaurants, wine retailers, and flakier online wine clubs often shop for “shiners” (unlabeled bottles) at a “tank farm,” the industry nickname for huge producers of plonk with a custom labeling side biz. These high-profit outputs of dubious quality end up as “Mary’s Fish House Chardonnay” or “John’s Wine Emporium Private Cuvée” or some bullshit wine club selection (not ours!) with a dazzling 95 point rating from some paid-off critic who sells used cars as a day job. Theoretically, all three might be the exact same wine. Yes, this happens.
Our fourth vintage of our TWS-exclusive, Domaine des Plus-de-Vie, happened more authentically, and far less conveniently.
We first connected with the actual grower of some of the oldest vines in California; a head-pruned, dry-farmed, un-grafted vineyard surviving in the suburb-adjacent sands of Oakley in East Contra Costa County.
We continued to maintain a good relationship with Adam Webb of Cochon by buying some of HIS wines so he’d be okay with helping us make THIS. (Check that: We’d buy his wine without the side project; Adam’s a thoughtful winemaker and a good friend!)
We paid the grower and the host winery for their respective contributions at harvest time. This, certainly, was not convenient!
We discussed an anticipated wine style with Adam, sharing gut feelings about the needs of Mourvèdre and Carignan, two of the more “idiosyncratic” Rhone varieties. The picking time, fermentation, barrel choices, and early-bottling scenario were all considered factors.
We visited the wine - pre-bottling - to see if the co-fermented 60% Carignan / 40% Mourvèdre would benefit by tiny additions of a third Rhone variety. Adam and I tried a 5% Grenache amendment; delicious, but the spirit of the original was altered. Then, 5% Bennett Valley Syrah: Lovely, but where did our ‘Southwest France’ concept run off to?! Trial III, 5% Russian River Syrah: Great again, but not convincing us to veer from the original. Happy to have tried alternatives, we decided to leave “well enough” alone. THIS was the wine we wanted to bring you.
We called upon family member and brilliant graphic designer Jason Cryer to update his original label design, keeping the “Old France” look but adjusting per the new vintage, etc.
We (Adam and I) personally trucked down all 107 cases of the freshly-bottled wine from Napa last week, and we’ll officially debut it on July 4th Weekend.
Here, we believe, the attributes of Carignan and Mourvèdre are emphasized via scents and flavors of fresh berries and chocolate and dark, wet, freshly-tilled earth. Just as vitally, the sometimes unwieldy tendencies of those two grapes were kept in check. The wine is “significant” for its truth to type and happy carelessness, an easy feel of lip-smacking juiciness. The true (undeclared) alcohol content doesn’t surpass 13.5, about 2% LESS than current-day Chateauneuf-du-Pape. This is thoughtful and downright delicious wine you can drink right away with anything off the grill, particularly grilled sausages.
And it’s not from a tank farm.