Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Naked Vine One-Hitter -- One More Story from 1000 Stories

The Sweet Partner in Crime was traveling right before Thanksgiving. She was scheduled to fly back to our house in the woods late afternoon of the holiday, so we weren’t going to be whipping up our usual nontraditional Turkey Day feed.

Instead, to celebrate the SPinC’s return, I tried my hand at dry-aging steaks at home. As her flight headed for home, into the sous vide bath went these ribeyes. They turned out wonderfully – full of incredibly rich flavors – but I was glad that we had a spare fridge to “age” the steaks in. The process is not without a distinct odor. Had these steaks alongside some roasted brussel sprouts and mushrooms, which just makes for a good meal.

Anyway, the day before, I got a visit from the wine fairy, courtesy of the good folks at Colangelo after the publication of my 1000 Stories wine piece – 1000 Stories 2016 “Batch Blue” Carignan.

As you remember, 1000 Stories does some of the barrel aging of their wines in old bourbon barrels, which imparts some smoke and vanilla to the wine profile. They’re known for your typical California varietals like Zinfandel and Cabernet, as well as blends.

But Carignan? That I didn’t see coming.

Carignan is an interesting choice for a single varietal wine, largely because it’s rarely used for such a purpose outside of the Languedoc region of France and particular regions of Spain. The most common use for Carignan is as a blending grape. Here in the U.S., Carignan is grown largely in the Central Coast regions of California. The most prevalent use for the varietal domestically is – no kidding – jug wine. As such, I was curious to see what this wine, designed by 1000 Stories’ winemaker Bob Blue and his son, had to share.

So, let’s get the immediate out of the way first – this bottle is most assuredly not plonky jug juice. The grapes are sourced from a couple of plots in Mendocino County, which boasts a cooler climate than the Central Coast, so my expectation was for less in-your-face fruit and a little more subtlety and balance. My expectations were correct.

While pretty straightforward, I thought it was a much “rounder” experience than the other 1000 Stories wines I’d tried. The nose struck a decent balance of vanilla and cherry, with a little bit of a smoky note – all of which were echoed on the body, along with some blackberries and dark chocolate. There’s a toasty undertone to it all, but the smoky flavors were much more subdued than in their other wines. The finish was softly fruity, smoky, and altogether pleasant. Even though the SPinC is still shying away from bigger wines, she was able to enjoy this one.

Since the timing of this bottle was so fortuitous, we cracked it with our dry-aged dinner. To be honest, it worked well. I thought this wine was nicely balanced alongside the deep flavors of the steak. There was enough tannin in the mix to keep it interesting, and the fruit held up against the range of flavors.

I certainly enjoyed this wine as much as the other 1000 Stories offerings – and in certain contexts, would probably be my top choice amidst their selections. Like the other wines in this particular portfolio, you’ll find it from $18-20.

P.S. Happy Birthday, Sis!

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