2016 Tenacity Winemaker’s Old Vine Red Blend
A recent buzz phrase in the industry is “the wine is made in the vineyard.”
And I am happy that it’s become a buzz phrase because I think it admits a wonderful truth: That wine is made from a place, in a particular vintage, and tastes unique because of these things, and has been this way for centuries.
Of course, the phrase also begs a question – If wine is truly made in the vineyard, what the heck are winemakers doing to earn their big bucks?
One way to reconcile these thoughts is with a metaphor that a winemaker recently related to me – that the best chefs know how to choose the best ingredients. And with the best ingredients, simply made food becomes extraordinary. Clearly there is an amazing craft in being one of the world’s top winemakers. And part of that acumen is being able to determine the vineyard sites that will create the most flavorful wine.
In that way, Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz have it easy. This wine is called Old Vine Red because some of the vineyards in McLaren Vale date back to 1838. Older vines produce very little fruit, but the fruit they do produce is extraordinarily flavorful. Some of the best grape material you can get goes into this wine.
But I don’t want to sell their skill as winemakers short. You may have heard of Michael and Richard before: They are the partners of Two Hands Winery, one of the most award-winning wineries in the world. One of the reasons they are so highly acclaimed? They know how to take great raw material and expertly mix it. Yes, this is a blend, and I think it’s the ultimate in showcasing how simple yet flavorful ingredients, deftly blended, can create stunning wine:
The glass opens with huge aromas of fruit – blackberries, ripe Bing cherries, and oodles of cassis. The palate is almost like liquid umami mixed with fruit notes. Its brambly, compote-like character is accented by savory underbrush, raspberry, and plum. The finish is smooth, continuing with fruit, and so harmonious it shows the skill of the winemaker.
Wine is definitely made in the vineyard, but having two the best winemakers on your team sure doesn’t hurt. Happy New Year and enjoy this delicious old vine red blend. Cheers.