Congrats to Bill and his team. Bill has been a tremendous ambassador for the Sierra foothills and a great person all around. Always a must stop when visiting the area.
I’d love to get vineyard data on this wine: clones, vine age, training system etc.
Ben, I obviously can’t tell you what you tasted. The bottles were what they were. I can, as someone who’s known Bill Easton for a very long time, tell you that he’s no fan of intentional oxidation, nor a massive fan of natural wines that aren’t meticulously clean, and he’d be extremely unlikely to release a deliberately oxidized wine unless he’d listened to too many consecutive hours of the Grateful Dead the during the filling of the barrels and got into some sort of fugue state. Which would indeed be possible.
Did you mostly taste syrah and Rhône-style blends, aside from the barbera you mentioned? Is it possible you’re more accustomed to tasting reductive syrah, which is hardly uncommon, especially in California? Personally, I’d lean towards the “bottles opened too long” explanation, but there are multiple possibilities, and that’s among them.
Honestly it sounds like I just need to return and give the wines another shot. Like I said in a previous post, the wines didn’t taste like they had been open too long, they tasted like they were excessively oxidized in barrel or bottle. I’m talking stale bread up the wazoo. I have never had a bottle of wine that has tasted that way because it’s been open too long and the bottles were nearly full when we arrived. I tried mentioning it to the person pouring us when the first wine showed this way and she just gave me the tasting room spiel of “intentionally aged”. So then when several other bottles had the same problem I didn’t want to embarrass her or my group by belabouring the subject.
I don’t want to go on and on about this so instead I will report back if I find myself back in the foothills and able to taste there again.
You tasted what you tasted - and that is a bummer for sure. But based on your previous posts, I trust you know what oxidation is. The bummer is that no one at the tasting room realized this.
As someone else who regularly pours ‘older’ vintages as current vintages in my tasting room (2014s on some wines), I’m very careful to make sure that if these wines are poured on Day 2 or 3 that they are tasted and smelled diligently.
As far as Bill and this recognition of 2 100 pointers goes, it is very well deserved. He’s been at it for a long time and just a wonderful guy.
I completely agree with you Larry, on all counts.
Sierra Foothills would surely have more triple digit scores by now if James Suckling had a ‘Gold Country Villa’…
Day 2 and 3. Got respect for that and even more to make sure they are sound on those days!!!
It sure might help.
I listened to Levi Dalton’s interview of Bill Easton on the drive in to the office today and thought it was worth recommending. One interesting snippet was Easton describing how in some vineyards they work with ‘own rooted’ vines which are not resistant to phylloxera, and thus they have quite the set of quarantine procedures to keep the louse at bay.
One link to find it on google was below, but presumably a search for IDTT and Easton should surface the episode easily on one’s podcast engine of choice.
Congrats to a Sacramento success story.
Yes, that’s pretty common with owners of own-rooted vines – no vehicles from off the property, for instance.
That was a great interview, thank you for sharing.
Some stupid good deals on case buys:
Their case sales are generally pretty good. I don’t think I’ve ever had an issue picking 12 bottles from the list given.
But I’m always shocked there isn’t more chatter about DTR/Easton here.
He operates in a relatively unheralded area, which unfortunately has spotty quality as a region. His wines are exemplary, though, and I always direct people there. I have often asked him why he does it so well, and so many others there can’t seem to get it. He graciously smiles and shrugs. The only “wine club” to which I belong.