Drinkable upon release (Apr. 2018), but ideally hold. 10-15 years ageability
2016 “Thanks, Semillon"
$24.00 per bottle / $259.20 per case
$20.40 per bottle / $230.40 per case (Members)
The grapes for this wine come from an extraordinary vineyard found in a hiding-in-plain-sight location, on the valley floor, just outside the township of Yountville, not far at all from a number of storied, multiply-étoiled Michelin restaurants. Here one finds 60ish year-old, organically, dry-farmed, head-trained Semillon vines. The alluvial soils here are deep, so even without supplemental irrigation, they make big vines, as big as a good-sized bear, the kind you meet in your dreams. The vineyard is owned by Andrew Hoxsey, who owns a fair bit of real estate in the neighborhood. Andrew is an utter mensch, quixotically maintaining this old block, knowing full well that if it were planted to Cabernet he could likely be achieving a 10x greater return on his investment. But he keeps the Semillon because somehow it’s just worth keeping. Old-timers in the area tell me that the grapes seldom if ever achieve more than 21 Brix (maybe 12.5% potential alcohol), and that’s just fine with me. (This wine weighs in at just above 11%.) The acidity tends to be low, the pH elevated. All the old-fangled problems that modern grape growers want absolutely nothing to do with. Why did I even sign up for this oddball? I have the certainty that this is a wine, that while utterly delicious right now, will be a wine that will repay very, very long ageing, as in 15-20 year ageing, when I expect it will evince the honeyed charms of Very Old Semillon. For now, you get a typical waxy nose and the discreet suggestion of figs, citrus and lanolin. What is really most remarkable about the wine is its lush, slightly oily texture, great depth and persistence of flavor. (Somehow it reminds me a bit of the Provençal variety, Clairette, also a quiet super-star.)
My recommendation is to not open this bottle any time soon, or if you absolutely must, call the winery and try to order a replacement bottle, hide it at the very bottom of your cellar and try it again in about fifteen years.
Food Pairing Notes
Aïoli monstre—as much homemade garlicky aïoli as you can get your hands on, with large amounts of chilled seafood for dipping. Pasta Primavera with asparagus, green peas, spring onion, green garlic & a light cream sauce. Prosciutto wrapped asparagus. Bellwether Farms Crescenza.
April 2018 DEWN Release