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Sean Thackrey Pleiades X Old Vine Red Blend

Other Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
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    Winemaker Notes

    The object of Pleiades Old Vines is to be delicious, delight the jaded, and go well with anything red wine goes well with. This tenth edition, bottled in June 2001, includes Syrah, Barbera, Petite Sirah, Carignane, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, and Merlot, to name but a few. Earthy and fragrant when first released, it will become far more subtle and complex with a bit of age. It will throw a natural sediment, and should never served directly from a bottle stored upside-down.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Sean Thackrey

    Sean Thackrey

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    Sean Thackrey, Napa Valley, California
    Sean Thackrey is one of the most influential people in the Bay Area Food & Wine community, and has been for nearly three decades. Along with luminaries like Alice Waters and Kermit Lynch, Sean Thackrey is deeply linked to the shaping of food & wine as we know it, and to this day represents many of the best and most ground-breaking practices in our industry.

    Since 1980, Sean has been producing wines that are extraordinary not only for great quality and complexity, but also because Sean utilizes unique wine-making techniques, often drawing from historic, sometimes ancient, wine-making practices from all over the world. The results are consistent, as evidenced by Sean’s continued support and enthusiasm from his peers and devoted customers.

    Sean sources grapes from many locations throughout California, and makes all his wines by hand–”touching every grape”–at his small Bolinas winery. Self-taught, and fully reliant on his intuition and senses, Sean is the antithesis of corporate wine-making. The proof is in the bottle.

    Napa Valley

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    One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960's, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

    The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

    Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those is the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

    Other Red Blends

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    With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

    LAU301861750_0_0 Item# 43551