|Tyler Thomas' namesake Fluevog shoes|
- really. He was even wearing them
when we met.
|Barrels full of delicious, delicious wine|
We first tasted through barrels of Chardonnays, some crisp and clean, some with rounder and smokier notes. These will eventually be blended into the one Chardonnay that Donelan releases. Then we tasted all manners of of Syrah, some which will be bottled singly, and some which will be used for blending, as well as a Grenache. The reds were really outstanding, but really punch-in-the-mouth too. Lots of everything - tannins, acid, flavours - all energetic and sparky.
|I believe that's Obsidian in beaker A, right|
Cuvee Christine is a blend of Syrah grapes from four vineyards throughout Sonoma. Tyler Thomas said to me that he wanted to express the spirit of Sonoma through this wine, replicating the feeling of being there through producing a quintessential Sonoma Syrah. I thought that he succeeded; the wine was easy to sit and hang out with. It was like a summer afternoon on a verandah. There was plenty of Syrah flavour, like black berries, herbs, and spices, along with a smooth, voluptuous body. A real drinking wine, on its own or with food.
The Obsidian is not a summer afternoon, 'howdy neighbour' kind of wine. It's deep and brooding instead. Obsidian reminded me of a huge leather club chair in a book-lined wood-panelled study. Big, burly, dark, the whiff of a recently smoked pipe... Something to really settle down into and chew for a while. I freakin' loved it. I was thinking about it the next day. The Obsidian Syrah is a single-vineyard wine, from a vineyard of the same name. This vineyard is in Knight's Valley, which is the warmest of Sonoma's AVAs, and Syrah loves warm weather. It was really great to find that the alcohol on this wine was balanced and not too high - sometimes the wine from warm California areas ends up tasting hot, burning with high alcohol. Obsidian isn't hot or wild; it has manners, it probably went to prep school or something. It's Gertrude Stein. It would be great with a massive peppercorn steak and an English bulldog sneaking scraps under the table.
You can read more about Donelan's wines at their website, here. They've got many others that I didn't try and/or haven't written about, and plenty more detail about places, methods, and wine character. Thanks so much to Tyler Thomas for spending time with us and letting us taste so many of his excellent wines. I really hope that I get to drink them again sometime (soon)!