Tasting various 2010 Tercero wines

On berserker day i purchased a six pack of Larrys wines to try, to date ive tried the syrah, grenache and the blend

These wines are very unusual, i mean that in a good way. They are not typical Rhone style cali wines and they in no way resemble a big bomber like Saxum or Alban. They have a very cerebal laid back nature to them, its sort of like going to a Carole King concert whereas Saxum is your Led Zep concert. The wines are mellower than you expect from these varietals in California and they almost had a burgundian feel to them, the syrah did not have the typical savoury bacon nature at all, instead it was very polished. These would be great wines for non wine drinkers, again i mean that respectively that are well made complex but still easy to drink.

Overall i hope Larry puts me on the list and i get to buy these again, these are not wines for a big ribeye, they are wines for when your relaxed have a plate of nice cheese and just want a wine to really enjoy and drink instead of being assaulted with big flavours like a Paso.

Sounds like some fine juice! I wonder if the additional age has polished the wines to s mellower state, or if your impressions speak to his overall style?

BTW, I am pumped about the new Aberration Cuvee.

Thanks for the post Alan. I have been saying this for years. IMHO Larry’s whites and reds are some of the most food friendly wines in the market place today. You are so right about the “non wine drinkers” comment. I can’t tell you how many times we have opened up one of Larry’s wines for friends that don’t like “whites” or “red’s” and they have been shocked at how good they are.
The greatest thing about Larry’s wines in IMHO is that they round out and gain a ton of complexity as they get some age in the bottle.


I dont know, this is my first experience hopefully others will chime in

I think it is the overall style, I was at his tasting room about a week ago, so I was trying new release wines. Even those fit your description related to being polished and very drinkable. We went through the whole lineup and I felt that way about all of them.


Thanks for your notes and the kind words. I think my methodologies of winemaking have a lot to do with the results of the final products of my reds (yep, sounds so ‘logical’ but I don’t always see that in other wines:

I do not rack my barrels at all during aging - just top and SO2 - and this keeps the wine ‘tighter’ and more ‘vibrant’ to me, allowing me to release them later without having them be ‘tired’

I only use older French oak barrels for my reds - the youngest barrel I have ever used is 3 years old, or usually twice used - and because of that, the aromatics of the wine tends to stand out, and not be ‘masked’, by oak components.

All of my 2010 reds saw 34 months in these older barrels - yep, a long time for sure, but I think the wines benefited from them.

I try not to over-macerate my ferments. During fermentation, I’m usually punching down no more than 3 times per day during the peak of the process, but usually only twice.

Starting with my 13’s, nearly all of my reds are 100% whole cluster, foot stomped by me, and NOT made in a ‘carbonic’ way. I want those stems to add structure to the wines and to add another layer of ‘aromatic complexity’, which I feel that they do.

I do hope that gives you a little more background - and note that I make about 15 wines altogether, including some that have a lot more structure than others. My 2010 White Hawk Syrah, for instance, or my 2010 Petite Sirah, would give you a totally different ‘structural’ feel but they both still contain soaring aromatics.



Reply email coming, but yep, the new aberration is a cool wine indeed :slight_smile:



It was such a blast hanging out with you and your wife when you were in not long ago. It was a pleasure pouring some of my newer releases for you, and as you saw, I like to release wines when they are certainly ‘drinkable’ but still with plenty of upside potential.



Thanks for the kind comments. One of the toughest things as a still relatively ‘new’ producer is to try to explain to folks that, even though the wines are drinking well now, they will continue to improve for quite some time.

Without a track record to most consumers, the wines are ‘rated’ or ‘viewed’ on where they are now, and I find that some folks look for lots of tannin or lots of structure as THE indicator that wines will age well . . .and I just don’t think it is that simple.


I whole heartedly agree with this. As you mentioned, you don’t have a long track record, but I have not had a Tercero wine where I wished I had waited longer to open. Both older vintages and newer drink well, though with perhaps different aspects standing out.

Can’t wait to stop by the tasting room on Thursday!!

Yes, it was awesome Larry! I look forward to a regular supply of your wines. [drinkers.gif]


Appreciate your reply, i have to admit though it was way over my head technically. You make some good wine though so i dont really care.

The best thing about your wine is that it does bring a contrast, to go back to the music i listen to a wide range from solo classical violin at the CSO to full on Mortorhead, obviously these are different worlds but all have their place and its the same with wine.


Ask away for me to clarify anything - it is my goal that anyone who wants to can understand the process - you just have to ask me to clarify specific points :slight_smile:


Larry, do you prefer cooler ferments?

Submerged cap? Gentle pumpovers?


Lets start with Carbonic


First off, I’m awaiting your email response :slight_smile:

Second, when it comes to whites and my rose, I prefer it cooler. My dry Gewurztraminer and Rose are both fermented in stainless steel and I try to keep those ferments down below 55 degrees of possible.

On the reds, I like to see ferments get up in the 80 degree range at peak and not much higher.

I only do punch downs on my reds since all ate fermented in 1 1/2 ton boxes - usually one ton of 100% whole cluster in each.

No submerged caps . . .


I am not a fan of straight carbonic ferments for my wines because I prefer more structure and more spice and more 'aromatic complexity ’ I feel I get with 100% whole cluster but aggressive foot stomping up front.


Simpler !!

What is a carbonic ferment

There have been lots of threads on this, but here’s a pretty simple explanation lifted from wineanorak.com:

The wine world is full of terms that people use without quite understanding just what they mean by them. Carbonic maceration is one such term, and in this short piece I’m going to attempt to get to grips with it, without becoming too technical and boring. It’s a method that’s employed to make lighter red wines with fruitier aromas, and it’s strongly associated with the Beaujolais wine region.

As with many topics in wine, the truth isn’t entirely black and white. It’s complicated. Pure carbonic maceration is quite rare, and there are a number of variations on the theme. But the simple version is thus:

Carbonic maceration is the process that occurs when intact bunches of red grapes are fermented in a sealed vessel that has first been filled with carbon dioxide. In the absence of oxygen, these intact berries begin an intracellular fermentation process, during which some alcohol is produced, along with a range of other compounds that can affect wine flavour.

Once the level of alcohol reaches 2%, which is after about a week at typical fermentation temperatures of 35 °C, the berries begin to die. They then either release their juice, or more typically are pressed before this happens. Then follows a normal fermentation (carried out by yeasts), resulting in a relatively pale coloured red wine with low tannin levels and enhanced fruity aromatics.

So let’s add some complexity to this story. First, we need to distinguish between aerobic and anaerobic respiration. The first is what happens in the presence of oxygen. Cells need energy, and to get this they break down sugar using oxygen to produce carbon dioxide, sugar and water. In the absence of oxygen, anaerobic respiration can also take place in some cells: yeasts do this preferentially even when oxygen is present, and the result is that sugar is broken down to alcohol and carbon dioxide. The cells in grapes can carry out anaerobic respiration, but they are less able to cope with the resulting alcohol than yeasts are, and if they do this for too long they die.

Carbonic maceration taking place at a winery in Spain

When whole bunches of grapes are placed in an atmosphere of carbon dioxide, they take it up and use it in anaerobic fermentation. In this process they break down sugars, but also malic acid, which is one of the main acids present in grapes. This malate degradation is the most significant step taking place during anaerobic fermentation, and it’s broken down sequentially to pyruvate, acetaldehyde and then ethanol. Typically, at a fermentation temperature of 35 °C, half of the malic acid is degraded in this way.

There is therefore a fall in acidity levels that can be quite significant, with titratable acidity (TA) declining by as much as 3.5 g/litre and pH increasing by up to 0.6 units. But bear in mind that there would be some loss of acidity during the malolactic fermentation that usually occurs after alcoholic fermentation in red wines. This is where bacteria break down malic acid to lactic acid.

During this process, polyphenols (such as tannins and anthocyanins) migrate from the skin to the pulp (the inside of the grapes), turning their flesh pink. Various compounds that are important for flavour (or which are flavour precursors) are produced. For example, extra amino acids are liberated from grape solids, which increases the nutrient status of the juice, and opens up the potential for these amino acids to act as flavour precursors. The ethanol produced can esterify some grape components, and one ester produced this way, ethyl cinnamate, gives strawberry and raspberry aromas. Another compound that increases is benzaldehyde, which adds cherry/kirsch aromas.

The berries eventually die when alcohol reaches a level of 1.5–2.5%.

Beaujolais is traditionally associated with carbonic maceration, but the traditional method used here (known as maceration traditionelle) is not a strict carbonic maceration. Here, the entire clusters are transported in 50 litre bins and dumped in wooden cuvees, or cement or steel tanks. Some of the berries on the bottom are crushed by the weight of those above them, they start fermenting, and the tank fills up with carbon dioxide. These intact berries begin internal fermentation and then when they die they release their juice, which still has quite a bit of sugar in it, keeping the fermentation process going. The higher pH that results from the intracellular degradation of malic acid means that malolactic fermentation can begin more easily after alcoholic fermentation finishes.

Even a stricter maceration carbonique, where the tank is filled with carbon dioxide before the clusters are added, will have a component of normal yeast-fulfilled alcoholic fermentation because some of the grapes will end up being crushed. The more yeast activity, the less of the distinctive carbonic maceration aroma the finished wine will have. Which can be a good thing.

There’s another variation on this theme that needs mentioning, and that is when whole bunches are used in a fermentation. In some cases, whole bunches are used, and then these are mashed up to release juice so that fermentation can start. In other cases, winemakers might seed the fermenting tank with a layer of whole bunches, and then add destemmed and crushed grapes on top. While much of the fermentation will be carried out by yeasts, the intact berries of the whole bunches will be in an anaerobic environment, and so some intracellular fermentation will take place. Even at pressing, there will still be some intact berries, and these will have pink flesh. One advantage is that in whole bunch fermentations sugar is more slowly released from the berries, keeping fermentation ticking along. Higher levels of glycerol are produced in these situations, which helps with the texture of the wine.

There are some risks associated with carbonic maceration. The first is that the rise in pH (and fall in acidity) can make the wine a more hopsitable environment for rogue microbes such as Brettanomyces. The second is that if oxygen isn’t excluded, volatile acidity can become a problem because of the growth of Acetobacter. But if these risks are controlled it can be a really useful technique for making lighter, approachable, fruitier wines, either as stand alone wines or as useful blending components.

The explanation is ‘geeky’ for sure but hopefully understandable . . .


The Outlier is not to be missed if you like gewurztraminer. Sooo refreshing.