Blast from Past: TNs from Talley and Limerick Lane

You know when you are in a wine rut and seemingly every bottle you open just feels wrong – alternately thin and meh or blowsy and overdone. Well I decided to go back to basics late last week and opened some wines from California producers that first got me into wine more than two decades ago. I’m really glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed these wines – they were like slipping on well-made, well-tailored comfortable clothes that don’t require too much thinking. They just fit and feel great when you put them on – like a favorite cashmere sweater or comfy broken-in loafers.

What struck me about both these wines were their exquisite mouthfeel and easy balance. I tend to focus on a wine’s nose and flavor (for obvious reasons), but I need to look for and recognize more subtle markers in wine as well. That may sound obvious, but having these wines just reminded me to do it. For me, the wines marry the best of what I like in Old World wines that I favor (elegance, restraint) with those of the New World (an open-ness and exuberance).

Talley, Pinot Noir, Rosemary’s Vineyard, San Luis Obispo County, 2009
This is their top site/bottling. Dark fruit profile – tending to boysenberry, subtle nose of sandalwood and flowers, glossy mouthfeel and lithe weight, no element peeks out, super showcase for great fruit. Persistent and understated finish. Some might ask for some umami/savory notes but that’s not what this wine is about. Nothing trendy or overthought/overwrought in the winemaking. Really delicious stuff that reminds me why I have always loved Talley but too often ignore to my detriment.

Limerick Lane, Zinfandel, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, 2013
This is a Zinfandel for people who say they don’t like Zinfandel. Cool, compact and dark cherry and raspberry fruit. Great brightness and freshness on palate. Love that there’s no brown sugar or vanilla oak notes. Interesting progression in tasting the wine – moves from a chewy quality to an almost chalky like finish (reminds me of a Sancerre pinot a bit). It’s succulent and refreshing and ends with the pleasing bitterness of a Produttori barbaresco. It’s not tiring – unlike many Zins you actually want another full glass! This wine comes from blend of estate sites, reminding me that Zin used to be about blends and not SVDs necessarily. I think this wine benefits from that. I still remember fondly those Collins Vineyard zins from LL in early 90s. Glad to see Limerick alive and kicking.