Monday, December 19, 2016

One Wine Worth 1000 Stories

There seems to be one story in particular that stands behind 1000 Stories Wines.  It’s the story of America's heritage, what the company’s website calls "a heritage woven with one thousand stories, unique traditions, and a pioneering spirit."  The buffalo is the iconic imagery here, and Zinfandel is what’s in the bottle. Talk about heritage. Talk about pioneers.

The small batch Zinfandels are aged partially in charred bourbon barrels, which seems to be the new way of making the old way new. As far as heritage goes, pioneering winemaker Bob Blue says when he started out in the business he found it expedient and more cost-effective to buy old bourbon barrels instead of new oak containers.  Some of the barrels used to age this wine formerly housed bourbon for more than a dozen years.

The grapes in Batch 11, the 2014 blend I was given to sample, come from Mendocino, Dry Creek Valley, Lodi, Contra Costa and Colusa counties. It’s mainly Zinfandel, with some Mendocino Petite Sirah rounding it out. The wine stands at 15.5% abv and sells for under 20 bucks.

The 1000 Stories Zinfandel is very dark looking and smelling. And tasting, too. Plum and blackberry flavors get a savory working over from the bourbon barrels, but not as much as I had feared. Or hoped. I don't know which way to lean on this kind of oak influence. On the one hand, too much oak is bad. On the other, too much bourbon oak might be just enough. The savory streak plays through on the palate with a hint of that bourbon-laced oak pushing it along. There’s vanilla, pepper and leathery cherry as well.


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