Tilting At Windmills
In January 2014, Billo, our Assistant Winemaker Mark Hoffmeister, and I were finalizing blends for the upcoming bottling of our 2012 vintage. I was barrel sampling Grenache.
Usually when I barrel sample Grenache, I’m thinking of how it will marry with our Syrah. Sometimes, if the quality is high, I’m thinking of bottling it as a varietal wine under our primus inter pares label. I’m never thinking of Cabernet. Well, at least not until that day.
As I tasted a barrel sample of XL Vineyard Grenache, I was thinking this would be great with Cabernet Sauvignon. I told Billo. He agreed. We dropped what we were doing and spent the next two hours trying various blends. We settled on a beautiful blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Syrah. The grapes came from XL, Upland, Kiona, and Monette’s vineyards. The wine received 95 points from Jeb Dunnuck of Wine Advocate and sold out within 3 months of its release. It was a good reminder to always be open to change; to always be open to opportunities you didn’t foresee.
We made the wine again in 2014 and 2015 with similar results. The wine has become one of our favorites.
Priorat is a wine region in northeastern Spain. It is one of our favorite wine regions. This region makes wines with blends similar to the one we created. In fact, as we were putting the blend together, we were thinking we should pay homage to Priorat in some way. So, we called the wine Tilting at Windmills – a reference to Don Quixote. The label is one of our favorites – it’s covered with 16th century Spanish conquistador helmets. And yes, we know that La Mancha is not in Priorat.