I tasted this wine at a release party over the weekend and typically I’d let a bottle like this sit around for a while before getting around to it but this time I wanted to get a jump on showing it because there are only 150 cases. Now 6 barrels may sound like a lot of wine but trust me this girl knows her way around Carignane *checks to see what spelling she uses on the bottle* oops Carignan–and if I told you the other projects she is in charge of I’d probably lose my media invites. This is–of course–the personal label of my friend and winemaker Amy Butler, who has proven herself the Queen of Carignan in Paso Robles but hasn’t made one from up north for several years. That situation comes to a head with this Forchini VYD Dry Creek Valley 2016 which is literally one of the most perfect examples of the variety–up with Petite Sirah as one of my NorCal favorites–I have seen in some time. I’ve had her 14 and 15 *Paso Robles* at events and local bars recently and if you follow my stories you’ve seen them. But THIS thing!
Staining ruby with an abrupt edge. THE most amazeballs wet charcoal sagebrush eucalyptus 80% Cacao green tea buttered peach and sharp grimy rubber glove in the nose. Clean and bright but at the same time roiled in all the curves and cut that make a dark red wine exemplary. Soft yeast and a butterfly’s wing of alcohol grind the stony charisma of this grape into your soul, setting you up for taste-buddal-orgasms.
Clean, brilliant and awe-inspiring over the tongue, black cherry on heroin and THE most direct and stalwart focus of structure and briar and harshness and edge and black tar and rose hips and rain on steel roofing and curry-comb and did I mention ridiculous black cherry–EVERYTHING you expect from a Carignan: NOT an edgy weird haphazard compilation of the grape’s idiosyncrasies, but a true-to-life homage to the Italian heritage of Sonoma vineyards and the absolutely STUNNING wines they can make.
This is the best Carignane you’ve had this decade. And BTW they can be tasted at Paso Underground.
2016 RANCHERO CELLARS Carignan Dry Creek Valley Sonoma 14.3