July 8, 2010

Back to the Stone Corral

DIRT DINNER. Part Three.

I feel like Wyatt Earp on a wander back through old stomping grounds.

Been there. Done that. At this corral, anyway. The Stone Corral.

But for those of you lacking eiditic memory, a quick review.

In 2001, Brian Talley converted a 27-acre plot of grazing land into a vineyard planted with Pinot Noir. Two other winemakers, from Kynsi and Stephen Ross, shared the development costs in exchange for long-term access to the grapes grown. The 5 blocks of the resulting Stone Corral vineyard were each divided into thirds, each to be shared by the three participants.

And at our farewell dinner, we drank all three side by side.

The Talley and the Kynsi wines were quite similar (not surprisingly). The Talley perhaps had a slightly defter touch wood-wise. You felt like you had better access to the fruit. But the Kynsi was energetic and slightly more complex with hints of sandalwood and cola. It's tough to know with any precision where the varietal profile stops and the specific vineyard starts, but both of these wines seemed to provide great transparency to the Dirt of the Stone Corral.

The Stephen Ross entry was an altogether different wine. It was bigger and concentrated. The dense cherry fruit mixed with plum and dark fruits, heaps of dry extract and too much mocha on the finish.

As with the New Zealand wines, the exercise was not about subjective judgements, but -- very subjectively -- I can't help but think the hyper-extraced wine makes a poorer window to the vineyard.

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